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Letters to the Editor for November 26, 2020

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 17:10

November 23, 2020

Dear Editor,

Thanksgiving this year will certainly be different from all others. As a psychotherapist and parenting expert, I speak to adults and children weekly and many are struggling to make sense of this holiday. Grandma is in Florida, a brother or a sister is ill, traveling is dangerous because of the Covid spikes. One mom told me she ordered a huge turkey weeks ago only to find that all her guests were canceling. Now there is a huge turkey in the refrigerator and only the family of two parents and three children are going to eat it. They wonder if they should celebrate this holiday altogether? (After all it feels like just another day in Pandemic World like all the days since March.)

It’s true that we are all exhausted and tired of the pandemic. “I thought it would be over by now!” one dad told me angrily. We are exhausted from the constant fear and safety precautions: “Avoid that person. He is not wearing a mask,” “Walk six feet away from that group,” “Wash your hands: You touched that counter.” Spouses are fighting with each other, parents are fighting with their children and often it has to do with the underlying fear and anger that we all feel. “Enough already,” everybody wants to scream. And everyone feels sad and mad that Thanksgiving can’t be the way it usually is.

I think it is very important to celebrate the holiday this year, to maintain a semblance of normality for the family and give the family some pleasure. You can make it a “New Normal Thanksgiving,” according to your own needs and desires. It doesn’t have to be the “hallmark picture” of the holiday (a standard that is rarely met, anyway). Infuse the holiday with your own personal thoughts and values.

Children need a loving family most of all, not a million relatives and friends at the table. Make this holiday a celebration of your family. Families can plan a meal together (it doesn’t have to be fancy), prepare it together, and everyone can have a role. (Even a 4-year-old can set the table.) Plan some activities that give the family pleasure such as a game night or watching movies together. Most important, focus on gratitude for what the family has. You can go around the table and each family member can talk about what he or she is grateful for. Focus on the love and caring you have for each other and your gratefulness about getting through these hard times together.

And there is another very important reason for Thanksgiving this year. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a vaccine coming!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!



East Hampton
November 22, 2020

Dear Reader,

Thinking of autumn and Thanksgiving, this year we can be especially grateful for the medical science that empowers us to protect ourselves and our loved ones in the midst of danger. And let’s take strength from this beautiful place we call home, let’s be comforted and nurtured by the moving waters that surround us, and let’s be inspired by our splendid skies which will light us through to a new, better year.



Mr. Bragman is an East Hampton Town councilman. Ed.


Scoops of Love
East Hampton
November 23, 2020

Dear David,

In the year we will be elated to say goodbye to, I’d like to say thank you. My gratitude goes to the Divine I look to for solace in hard times, be it physical, emotional, local, or global. I am grateful for our democracy still intact; long may she wave.

To my sons, who are the best part of everything I hoped to be when I was young and longed to be emboldened by, and for their sense of humor. My grandchildren I offer gigantic scoops of love for bringing out the kid in me with their unconditional love.

Thanks, Mom, for soldiering on in your 90th year, never complaining, only modeling how to be available and sensible and doing it with grace, in lipstick. My sisters, for remembering when and reminding me I’m never alone.

To all the amazing tireless nurses and doctors, health care workers, toiling their tails off for all of us. My B.F.F. nurse friend, who doesn’t ask for kudos, only that we wear our masks.

My Goddess Squad, for being kick-ass and relentless, fighting for safety for women and children, clean water, justice, equality, reform, tolerance, and peace, while bravely being the change we need, now. My “life teachers,” who speak and heal with love and wisdom. All the awesome service people in delis, cafes, grocery stores, drugstores, bookstores, gas stations, and sundry, who smile with their eyes and ask, “How are you doing?” Without them, where would we be? Tips galore to you all. A hot cup of coffee and nourishing food makes this crazy year somehow seem normal in a tiny way.

To the writers who keep pounding the keys and delivering a lifeline to our community and the world. Stories of humor, truth, sadness, and joy are a needed connection while sheltering at home. Music — while I’m writing, washing dishes, cooking, or taking the time to feel how much I miss my son, mom, sisters, and friends, the music soothes me. It might be Inda or Nancy, or my friend The Gail Storm, singing the blues, Billie H., Nina, Joni, and Joan are close by on vinyl, with Miles, who deeply inspires me.

Mirrors, I am grateful for, to see what others might not - insecurities, imperfections, and those stubborn grays that persist, thankfully disappeared by a hair magician named Bertha, “Gracias, mi hermosa amiga.”

The other mirror, my partner on this life journey thus far, for reflecting back who I truly am, and what I can never be — silent and complacent — when there’s pain in the world. My grandmothers, the yin and yang of each, who still speak to me from heaven with their fierce love and guidance; mile buiochas and grazie mille.

Thank you,



November 19, 2020

Dear David,

After living here full time for 22 years, I retired in 2018. With retirement lending itself to “free time,” I looked for ways to give back to the community, and after additional “free time” in 2020, I got involved.

Many of us enjoy the wonderful beaches, the shopping in East Hampton and Amagansett, and the many restaurants. As I said above, many of us enjoy the treasures of East Hampton, but I did not truly understand that there are many “un-Hamptonites” that do not have the same opportunity.

In August of 2020 I began volunteering at the East Hampton Food Pantry. I started to drive food packages to our neighbors (south of the highway, East Hampton Village, Amagansett, Springs, Northwest Woods) on weekly Wednesday deliveries. I was disheartened/ignorant that many of our neighbors needed this assistance. No matter where I delivered (south of the highway, the village, Amagansett, Springs, Northwest Woods), we have neighbors who need weekly food deliveries to help sustain their weekly nutrition. This should be unacceptable to all of us.

The East Hampton Food Pantry needs all of our help — physical work, farm and food contributions, and also monetary contributions. Please support the East Hampton Food Pantry at It is the right thing to do.



November 18, 2020

Dear Mr. Rattray, 

Seniors at this time of Thanksgiving almost always thank Michelle Posillico and the East Hampton Town senior center kitchen staff for their never-ending work in preparing frozen dinners for us. They have our gratitude and now let’s thank them for their continuing support. 

Let’s hope the desperately needed senior [citizens] center opens again. 




Outmoded Idea
East Hampton
November 22, 2020

Dear Mr. Rattray,

As we approach the most joyous season of the year — and there is much for which we should give thanks — our feckless government leaders seem bent on destroying whatever sense of joy we might derive from the upcoming Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah holidays.

While they are quick to preach that we should follow the science, it seems they think nothing of taking actions that fly in the face of what the science tells us to do! One prime case in point is the governor’s continued warning that he is ready at a moment’s notice to again shut down the economy. Ostensibly, he does this to protect us from what appears to be a spike in Covid infection rates. What he chooses to overlook is that while diagnosed cases may be up, unlike the spring, fatality rates have fallen to roughly 5 percent of those who are diagnosed.

The World Health Organization, as well as a majority of all responsible health authorities, say that lockdowns do little if anything to control, let alone remedy, the spread of Covid-19. So why do our elected officials like Governor Cuomo cling to the outmoded idea that we should all shelter at home and in so doing allow small-to-medium businesses to fail en masse and with them our economy?

We must resist such irresponsible efforts at all costs — and we must enjoy our Thanksgiving with friends and family!




The Green Box
Jasper, Ga.
November 17, 2020

To the Editor,

In the “Shipwreck Rose” column by Bess Rattray in the Nov. 5 edition of The Star, reference is made to Schwenk’s Iced Tea or “Bonac Tonic.” The tea was never produced in gallons, only half-gallons and pints. Also, it was never produced in Southampton or Calverton. For those who remember it fondly here is a brief history to the best of my recollection.

The original formula was conceived in 1973 at my home on Stephen Hand’s Path with Ned Reeves, who owned Templar Tea in New Jersey. To my knowledge Schwenk’s Dairy was the first in New York to sell tea in a Pure Pak gabled carton, then referred to as “the green box.”

It was produced at our plant in East Hampton until 1982, when the plant closed. For the next 20 years it skipped around from different plants in Brooklyn, East Northport, Hartford, Conn., and Florence, N.J. The name changed to Hampton Dairy when Terrace Dairy obtained the rights to produce it. Schwenk was dropped due to a legal dispute about whether Terrace had the right to sell under that name, even though I was a major shareholder in Terrace Dairy. The name was changed to avoid litigation.

In 2003 Terrace Dairy was sold to Dean Foods, and in 2005 I left East Hampton to live in Georgia. I do not know anything after that about where it is produced and if the formula was kept the same or changed.

The facilities in Brooklyn, Hartford, and East Northport are all now closed and have been for some time. It was a great product unique in taste, and I regret allowing myself to lose control of a product that my brother and I created and produced.



Abbott and Costello
November 21, 2020

Dear David,

In case any of you miss seeing your favorite Abbott and Costello movie, you can tune in by contacting Optimum with your problem. The company hasn’t the slightest idea as to “Who’s on First?” or “What’s on Second?”

My latest encounter, certainly not my first, was on Nov. 3, when my primary telephone line went dead. Using my fax line, I called Optimum. The operator couldn’t fix the problem and was able to send a technician to my house five hours later. So far, so good.

The technician, who seemingly couldn’t wait to get out of our house fast enough, claimed that it wasn’t his problem, but one of the main office, and that I needed to call them and start over again.

The following five and a half hours were spent talking to various service people trying to fix the problem, being cut off four times and having to start over each time, while listening to their obnoxious spiel. The problem was finally fixed, only to lose the line again two hours later. After another call and long wait, both numbers worked. Time to go to sleep with no phone worries. Wrong again.

Woke up this morning to find that both telephone lines no longer had a dial tone, both my wife’s and my cellphones were out, and my computer no longer connected. Being close to 90 years of age and my wife 80, this is not a good thing. My last resort was to drive to the Wainscott police headquarters. They had me talk to an officer, who was nice enough to call Optimum, and two hours later, my primary line was restored.

Then came the ultimate insult; I received an email from Optimum charging me $80 for that disastrous service call. That is outrageous. My final thought is for Optimum to make sure they have a cardiologist on staff for all us who bear the stress of dealing with them.



A Hard Look
East Hampton
November 20, 2020

Dear David:

The Town of East Hampton has begun the state-mandated police reform procedure, a valuable opportunity for members of the public to participate in the process of reviewing and improving the functions of our community police departments.

The “police reform and reinvention” process calls for a hard look at areas such as community engagement by our departments, department culture and accountability, and law enforcement strategies to reduce racial disparities and build trust.

This collaborative effort is meant to allow members of our community to weigh in on how they envision our police can best serve us, and how successful that service is at present.

A committee of citizens and professionals representing a cross-section of our community will review public comments and assess these areas, and prepare a report to be adopted by our town board and submitted to New York State by April, which will contain plans for improvements if needed.

The nationwide focus on issues of social justice, prompted by some unfortunate and troubling examples of misconduct, provides us with a welcome opportunity to engage in assessment and reflection locally. While we have found that the East Hampton Town Police Department, led by Chief Michael Sarlo, has, to date, been very successful in community policing and positive engagement as our officers serve the residents of our town, there is always room for improvement.

We are making every effort to engage the public in this effort. Public comments, either signed or anonymous, in English or Spanish may be sent to [email protected], or addressed to me and dropped off in the drop box outside of East Hampton Town Hall.

I look forward to taking this opportunity to engage with the community around this important topic. The town will keep all informed about the work of our police reform committee through my reports at town board meetings as well as postings on our town website,, and on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds.




Town of East Hampton
Water Quality


November 23, 2020

Dear Editor,

Last week the East Hampton Town Board unanimously stood in support of protecting and restoring Montauk’s water quality.

Ongoing scientific analysis performed by our organization, Concerned Citizens of Montauk, has highlighted the issues and potential solutions and we are encouraged that the town has listened and is responding.

1. New pumpout boat for Lake Montauk. In 2018, C.C.O.M., in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, undertook a two-year analysis looking at the various sources of bacteria pollution in Lake Montauk, a problem initially identified by C.C.O.M.’s weekly bacteria sampling of the lake. Preliminary results from that study have identified a major source of bacteria pollution as humans, likely attributed to vessel waste. A new pumpout boat with increased servicing of the boating community in Lake Montauk can help address this problem.

2. Stormwater remediation projects at West and South Lake. These two problem spots have been identified by C.C.O.M.’s weekly bacteria sampling of Lake Montauk. We have years of data to show elevated and harmful bacteria levels at these locations. The town has listened and through their community preservation fund, the water quality technical advisory committee is funding the design of stormwater remediation projects — permeable pavements and vegetated swales — to capture and treat runoff before it enters the lake.

3. Wastewater Treatment for Downtown Montauk. Numerous properties in the downtown area have antiquated low-to-nonfunctioning septic systems that pollute groundwater and surface waters, like Fort Pond. And C.C.O.M.’s partnership with the Gobler lab to monitor the harmful algal blooms in Fort Pond show that these blooms are exacerbated by the nutrient-rich runoff entering the pond. Dogs sickened after swimming and canceled swimming competitions should not be the norm in Montauk. A map and technology plan will put us back on track.

The town is to be commended. Science is driving change.



Concerned Citizens of Montauk


Town Employees
November 23, 2020

Dear David,

Think of the irony: The town board, controlled by the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee, has negotiated in such bad faith that the town’s employee union was left with no alternative to declare an impasse and seek fact-finding at the New York Public Employees Relations Board. Yet the same town board hypocritically includes a salary longevity hike of $2,700 for Supervisor Van Scoyoc, $2,600 for Councilwoman Overby, and $2,300 for Councilwoman Burke-Gonzalez.

To keep everything in perspective, these are the facts:

The current salary of a town board member, which is considered a part-time, 30-hours-a-week job, is $72,351, plus additional fringe benefits of $40,022, for a total salary of $112,373 per year.

The town supervisor’s current salary is $120,460, plus additional fringe benefits of $40,464, for total compensation of $160,924 per year.

The town employees’ contract expired in 2019. Roughly 50 percent of town employees have salaries that are considered very low income ($44,350 or less) based on U.S. Housing and Urban Development guidelines. Town government has an unmanageable employee retention problem. Many town employees no longer can afford to live in East Hampton. Town employees are the backbone of town government and at the core of every service delivered by the town.

To her credit, Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez told her fellow board members that she would decline the $2,300 she is slated to receive and ask the town budget officer to put the money back into the general fund.

Councilwoman Burke-Gonzalez further stated, “I just feel that there are so many folks in the community that are struggling with unemployment and underemployment. Folks here are struggling. Our economy has been hammered. With all of that said, I’m just not comfortable and don’t want to accept the longevity pay next year.”

This is not a national Democratic or Republican thing but rather a local issue. Like many local issues, all too often in a small-town, political affiliation has little to do with national politics or global issues. Regardless of your political leanings, one-party rule devolves into decisions made because of favoritism, special interest, and based on personalities. One thing is clear: Abusing our town employees is never acceptable.

Please join us and demand the East Hampton Town Board stop abusing our town employees, settle the town employees contract immediately, and give our town employees the living wage they deserve!

The East Hampton Republican Committee is the local party dedicated to working families, a living wage, environmental conservation, equality, diversity, and economic development for all. We believe in bipartisan solutions regardless of financial status or political party affiliation. Access to the government should not be based on what you can afford or how much you donate to a national or local political party. Town government should be fair, equitable, open, and transparent to all.

Come and check us out at our next monthly meeting. We will not judge, nor will we demand that you follow a national, state, or N.Y.C. political doctrine. Let us work together for a better East Hampton for all.



East Hampton Town

Republican Committee


How Inappropriate
November 22, 2020

Dear David,

I opened this week’s Star to the looming photo of the Orsted barge off the shore of Beach Lane taken by Durell Godfrey. The photo captured its massive size and how inappropriate its acceptance by Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc to be in East Hampton’s waters.

The comments from some Wainscott residents at Thursday’s town board meeting were “It’s ominous.” “The town has not done its due diligence in permitting this,” “It needs appropriate investigation.”

These comments say much about the town supervisor, Peter Van Scoyoc’s, ability to deal with Orsted strategically. Mr. Van Scoyoc loves to control the narrative at board meetings, however he really says very little of value. The supervisor is really hurting this town by his not making legal demands of Orsted before they feel they can just move into town waters with this enormous barge and do as they please.

I believe that the town has zoning powers within 1,500 feet of the shoreline. The state allows Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk Counties) to deal with local authorities, namely, the town board and town trustees. The Orsted ability to take borings in our waters should be in the forefront of this town’s authority to protect our tidal waters, ponds, streams, and shoreline. Environmental review and zoning jurisdiction should be paramount in East Hampton.

Supervisor Van Scoyoc has replied that “the town has been engaged in this project for more than four years.” All the more reason for him to be protecting and regulating Orsted’s authority. But he is not! Peter sees dancing dollar signs, but we must remember that he, at first, was willing to take less money from Orsted.

Can you imagine if Supervisor Van Scoyoc were really a competent negotiator for this town considering the significant worth of the Orsted corporative business what this town could really be getting in dollars? Can you imagine if he gave authority to the Natural Resources Department to deal with Orsted? It really makes you wonder what the supervisor is really doing for East Hampton.




Obvious to All
North Haven
November 23, 2020

Dear David:

What we are putting up with continues to damage our ability to salvage our democracy and our health. Must we tolerate any more of it? Too much additional damage can be inflicted by January 20, 2021.

D.J.T., a truly self-serving incompetent character with few scruples, lied his way into office and failed to protect and serve the nation’s population honestly and fairly. The recent election results are his clear defeat, obvious to all eyes except his — and his blind supporters.

• He started off as a sore loser.

• His rage led to numerous acts of political sabotage.

• He now behaves like a compulsive gambler on a losing streak, staying at the table, making a fool of himself, while bankrupt in every sense.

Less committed sycophants are abandoning him and his absurd claims. Most amazing are the many “loyal” sycophants, still scrambling to board their sinking equivalent to his Noah’s ark.

Only his bizarre political creditors remain to encourage his (and their own) endless losses. Perhaps they, like the “house” in a mafia gambling casino, stand to profit from the continued losses of this proven rube?



Special Sharpie
November 22, 2020


Don’t forget to request your Georgia mail-in ballots for the Jan. 5 run-off races. Contact Nancy Pelosi, commissioner. In addition, for a $5 donation the liberal Democrats will send a special Sharpie pen to an ignorant, Republican voter in Georgia.


P.S. Al Sharpton for attorney general.


Back to the Swamp
November 23, 2020

Dear David, 

According to the politician Mr. Gates, Joe Biden has never been right in 40 years. Now president-elect is picking his so-called cabinet. We will be right back to the swamp, all his old-friend cronies. He is right now causing plenty of dissent among the Democratic, progressive party.

His plan to undo everything, even if it was good for the country, that President Trump did — gone, history. He shows his hatred right there. He also shows that there is no plan to bring the country together by ignoring the progressives in his cabinet.

There is something I can’t wrap my head around: If Donald Trump was winning the vote in a particular state by 600,000 votes the counting was shut down for about one hour or a little more, the machine turned back on, and Donald Trump is losing by hundreds of thousands. How could this happen? 

Please note I’m not going out burning, looting, and beating on people because of this election news. I’m also not spitting, curs-ing, and protesting, or treating my opponents with such disrespect.

In God and country,



There for Trump
East Hampton
November 23, 2020


In the world of the Covid-19 pandemic (185,000 new daily cases) and claims of electoral fraud, the modus operendi is not what is said but who said it. Truth and fact are no longer valued. Only the voice has weight.

There is a concept called partiality in the world of political sophistry. Partial truth is used to credit or discredit an idea to one’s favor. It requires an uncurious, quasi-brain-dead audience. For example, if there is some electoral impropriety or incompetence it is sufficient proof that an entire election is rigged. Or discovering the same improprieties is proof that the election wasn’t rigged because it was carefully conducted. Partiality is only about who it’s partial to. Sophistry? Yet, when taken to our current level, it is not the claim of electoral fraud that resonates but the voice that claims it.

This week Lindsey Graham, the senator from South Carolina, told the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger that he should be throwing out certain ballots. Raffensperger told him to screw off and used a few unpublishable words. Graham’s brazen attempt to manipulate the electoral process was criminal, yet he had no qualms about doing it. Graham would never have done anything like this three years ago. Today he seems entranced, under some messianic spell, oblivious to the rules of how our system works and believing that anything he did was okay, partially brain dead, a.k.a. The Manchurian Candidate.

There was also a postelection rally of Trump supporters in D.C. The election’s over: What were they rallying about? U.S. president is a temporary job. What drives them into the street as if the world had come to an end? They weren’t there for the country or the Republican Party. They were there for Trump. Why? Covid deaths 260,000.

What separates religion and politics is that politics has to be reality-based or it’s straight-up fascism and religion is anything people will swallow. What Trump provides for his base and his acolytes is clearly more religious than reality-based. The fervor and passion don’t come from what he does but how he makes them feel.

“Neither God, nor country” is this deranged psychosis, some cross between Svengali, Jim Jones, and Adolf Hitler. Christian fascism when believing in God no longer suffices.

The hook to Trump for evangelicals is clearly messianic. They see him like Jesus instead of Hannibal Lecter. They are willing to betray every belief that they have cultivated over their lifetimes in order to support him. Killing for Jesus, Christianity’s most deranged backflip, seems completely normal.

So, the election has nothing to do with support for Trump in a democracy context. Winning or losing didn’t matter. Six million more people supporting Biden doesn’t matter. Only Trump matters and he is irreplaceable in their hearts and minds. See “cult” for a broader definition.

Our new normal is Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Guatemala. The new normal lowers the bar and makes it almost invisible. It’s Rudy G., raving on the podium, hair dye streaming down his face, wanting to raise his right arm in salute. Heil, Trump.


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