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Letters to the Editor for December 3, 2020

Wed, 12/02/2020 - 12:59

Lion Bob
Sag Harbor
November 27, 2020

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Thank you and The Star for the kind words about Bob Schaeffer. Lion Bob sponsored my membership in the East Hampton Lions Club. I will miss Bob’s friendship. The Lions will miss him as a member and leader in the club, and the community that benefited from Bob’s years of selfless service and camaraderie will miss him, too.

Lion Bob, I remain yours in lionism. Thank you for your friendship and your service.

Yours very truly,



Meals on Wheels
East Hampton
November 27, 2020

To the Editor,

The holidays, a time for celebration, can be difficult for our Meals on Wheels homebound clients — a situation exacerbated this year by the lack of visitors due to the pandemic. That is why we are especially grateful to two community groups that provide holiday meals for our clients.

On Thanksgiving Day, the First Presbyterian Church of East Hampton prepared turkey dinners with all the trimmings for our many clients. On Christmas Day, our friends at American Legion Post 419 in Amagansett will also prepare a complete holiday meal. Our dedicated volunteers pick up and deliver the meals.

Remarkably, our meal preparations and deliveries have continued uninterrupted since the pandemic began. We have not had to cancel any meal deliveries because of health concerns.

We are grateful to these folks and to all of you who are supporting us this year during difficult times. On behalf of the Meals on Wheels family, our very best wishes to you and to all the members of our community for a good holiday season and an even better new year.

Very truly yours,



Damn You, Stuart’s
East Hampton
November 28, 2020

To the Editor,

 We have been living in East Hampton full time for the last eight months.

When we arrived in early March I knew that while others were far less fortunate I didn’t know how we would get through Covid.

I wanted to shop local. I’ve always been a huge fan and customer of Stuart’s Seafood. We began steadily ordering fresh seafood, pantry items, and produce from Stuart’s.

Little by little we discovered Charlotte’s amazing seafood salad (best I’ve ever tasted), homemade pesto, seafood chowders, and so many other delicious delicacies.

As a pescatarian chef, Thanksgiving always posed a problem. This Thanksgiving, notwithstanding our large family for reasons related to Covid, we were down to the two of us, my husband and I.

Admittedly, we were sad not to have our yearly family Thanksgiving gathering. When Charlotte mentioned Stuart’s was offering Thanksgiving meals I felt relieved. Stuart’s was there for us all year, kind, accommodating, and delicious.

Unfortunately, my husband thought it was one of the best Thanksgiving meals he’s ever had. Damn you, Stuart’s!



All Too Real
November 30, 2020

Dear Editor,

Recently a parent approached me for help because his 11-year-old son had stopped sleeping at night, was prone to panic attacks, and had excessive worries about his health. His parents kept checking his temperature and were convinced nothing was wrong with him, but even his favorite activities didn’t excite him. This was very unusual behavior for their usually energetic child.

After meeting with the child I became aware that recently someone in his class had been diagnosed with Covid-19, and the school was shutting down for two weeks. The other child and his parents subsequently became very ill.

Knowing someone who came down with Covid-19 made the virus all too real for him. If it was someone out there in the world it was scary enough. He also was shocked that a young child could get sick. He thought that only old people got the virus. He felt vulnerable and worried that he too would become ill and possibly die. Every physiological symptom he felt convinced him that he was dying. His anxieties were happening on an unconscious level and manifesting in physical symptoms. He didn’t make these connections. Neither did his parents.

Pinpointing this connection made him feel safer. He understood that his imagined symptoms were just connected to his fears about his friend. He wasn’t sick at all. This helped him to relax, he began to sleep, and slowly came back to himself.

While parents cannot be mind readers, it’s important to realize that even though it’s been hanging around for a while, like the adults, children are frightened. My message is that it’s very important to maintain an open dialogue with your children and encourage them to talk about their anxieties. Then find ways to reassure them.

You can do this by asking your child open-ended questions every day, for instance, “How are you feeling today? Is anything worrying you?” Ask pointed questions too, for instance, “How do you feel about your school closing?” or, “Are you feeling upset about the pandemic?” Convey that it is okay to have fear even if the family is trying to be strong and upbeat.

Reassure him by explaining, “It’s natural that when somebody else we know gets sick, we worry about getting sick ourselves, and even feel symptoms. Adults worry too.” Educate him that while some kids are getting sick, they usually have flu-like symptoms and get over the illness quickly. Give him a sense of empowerment by reminding him about all the safety precautions you are taking: wearing masks, staying socially distant, and washing your hands and emphasize that if he follows these steps he probably will not get sick. Avoid having the news blaring all day long with images of people in hospital beds and charts of the rising Covid-19 numbers. Have your children engage in relaxing activities before bedtime such as massages, listening to music, meditation, or hot baths. Make sure to spend time with your children reading or playing games and give them tons of affection.

The most important thing that children need to hear is that as their parents you are working hard to protect the family, every day.



Small Business
East Hampton
November 25, 2020

To the Editor,

A little consideration would go a long way toward helping small business survive in East Hampton Village.

On Monday, Nov. 2, I was forced to close my business, Black Sheep Knitworks, for the day. The neighboring building, housing Park Place Liquors, was replacing their roof and using the alley in front of my shop — a public sidewalk — as the place to throw all their debris. Although the workers cleared a path, the nail in my shoe and the customers who covered their heads to avoid falling debris can tell you that there was not adequate safety.

The income I lost was a drop in the bucket to the liquor store but means survival to me. The businesses in the building getting a new roof were open and not impacted at all.

I suppose I could have pushed the public sidewalk issue, but, as the shingles were already half-removed, I wouldn’t want to see the work stopped and perhaps more damage sustained by the building owners. I believe that is the right thing to do at that point. The right thing for them to do would be to replace my lost income. That suggestion went nowhere. Big surprise.

This work could have easily been scheduled for a Tuesday or Wednesday when I am closed.

As the owner of Crossroads Music and, now, Black Sheep Knitworks, I have always strived to run my business in a “do unto others” fashion. My customers are important to me; I love what I do, and continue to do right as long as I can by them and my neighbors as long as I am able.

Clearly, my small business doesn’t matter to them, but it matters a lot to me and my customers. Please be considerate of others and consider your impact in the future.



Reveg Requirements
November 30, 2020

Dear Editor:

My husband and I lived in Montauk for 30-plus years and recently sold our house. Upon preparing our house for sale we were told our certificate of occupany had expired after three years and in order to get a new one we had to revegetate. We needed an updated C.O. to sell.

Maybe we were just ignorant but this was all news to us. Revegetation required planting 140 three-to-five-gallon native plants in a designated area. We were also informed that had my property not been cleared of leaves and had we not mulched, nothing would have had to be planted. Crazy, huh?

None of this makes sense to me. Shouldn’t there be some process that we are informed of regarding these laws? Five years ago we did build a new unattached garage and did clear some debris, but not 140 plants’ worth. We met with Larry Penny, and he suggested the planting of six to eight shads to cover the reveg requirements. We did that and thought we were in compliance. Obviously not.

The new revegetation was required in areas we did not clear, but we did rake the leaves or planted grass. Anyway, to be able to get on with the sale of our house, we hired a landscaper, $8,000, and another new survey for $2,600, along with $200 for checking the property before reveg and another $200 for a new C.O., we were able to sell our house, and did! This was a total exercise in ridiculousness!

It’s so sad what beautiful Montauk has become. With the overcrowding and overpricing of everything, we’re so glad we moved. We found a little piece of heaven, rural in nature and not overrun with traffic and entitled people and meaningless laws that only make sense to the government and not the people.

Thank you,



The Right Whale
East Hampton
November 30, 2020

Dear David,

“One of any number of invented wind turbine maladies promoted by the fossil fuel industry, Koch Brothers, Murdock media, etc.,” this is what the world-renowned climate scientist Michael E. Mann replied when informed about the claim by the opponents of the South Fork Wind Farm that there is a connection between offshore wind farms and the dwindling population of the Northern Atlantic right whale.

Experts agree that the number-one threat to marine mammals is ocean acidification and the warming of ocean water temperatures caused by the continuation of the burning of fossil fuels. The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, and so many others dedicated to the preservation of wildlife have issued position statements in support of offshore wind that is well-sited and where protocols are in place to protect marine life during construction, and, in particular, local chapters of these environmental organizations that support the South Fork Wind Farm.

Sadly, the North Atlantic right whale is one of many species that are far along the path to extinction, and even worse it is joined by many other species of mammals in the world’s oceans and across every continent whose survival is threatened by the impacts of unabated climate change.

The right whale is experiencing a devastating loss of its primary food source due to ocean acidification and this, combined with warming oceans, is driving them into shipping lanes, where they are being struck by propellers of massive container ships and into areas where they are becoming entangled in industrial fishing gear. It is a painful, tragic death.

To save the whales and every other species on the planet we must support the transition to renewable energy and work collectively to achieve it.




Climate Reality Project

Peconic Region Chapter


A Sinister Ploy
East Hampton
November 30, 2030

To the Editor,

We know that right whales are in danger of extinction.  The factors contributing to their dwindling numbers include vessel strikes, fishing gear entanglements, and lack of food. Climate change is redistributing the crustaceans called copepods that right whales eat.

Right whales are spending more time in Canada. Quite a few, though not all, vessel collisions have happened in the St. Lawrence Estuary. But the right whale population has also seen low reproductive rates and declining health status in recent years that can’t be explained by vessel impacts. New research points to another possible culprit: climate change.

The Gulf of Maine is warming more rapidly than nearly any other ocean ecosystem on the planet. Ocean scientists think the reasons include changes in the path of the Gulf Stream and the way its warm waters are interacting with other currents in the North Atlantic. The Gulf of Maine is on the migration route of right whales and includes “critical habitat” areas.

“Deep waters are warming and we think that is having an impact on the life cycle, and the distribution of the critters that right whales eat,” says one expert. Those critters — flea-like animals known as copepods, specifically the species Calanus finmarchicus — are a critical food supply for the endangered whales. Read more about this in the Cornell Chronicle: “Climate change, sparse policies endanger right whale population” by Blaine Friedlander, Nov. 3, 2017.

Noise pollution can mask whales’ important underwater communication calls and reduce foraging success, which affects species’ health and reproductive abilities. Ocean noise can also divert the whales from their typical migration paths into areas unsuitable for feeding or into the path of passing ships.

Thus, it is heartening that some offshore wind projects are adopting restrictions, beyond those required by law, on vessel speed and limits on loud turbine construction from pile driving and geophysical survey activities. The limitations take in to account the times when North Atlantic right whales are unlikely to be in the area.

Local NIMBY groups in East Hampton fighting offshore wind projects, such as the South Fork Wind Farm, are using the plight of right whales in a sinister ploy to derail these offshore wind energy projects, which would only worsen ocean warming and the lack of critical food supply for right whales. Yet these same groups cannot even tell the difference between a right whale and a humpback whale! See their ubiquitous road-side and online posters depicting a humpback whale instead of a right whale!



Vow to Support
November 30, 2020

Dear Editor:

I am writing to inform your readers that I am running for Bridgehampton fire commissioner. On Tuesday, registered voters living in the Bridgehampton Fire District, which serves the residents of Wainscott, Sagaponack, Bridgehampton, and parts of Water Mill, can cast their ballots between 6 and 9 p.m. at the Bridgehampton Firehouse, 64 School Street, Bridgehampton.

I have been a member of the Bridgehampton Fire Department’s ambulance company as an E.M.T. since 2015. I have served as company secretary, second assistant captain, and am now first assistant captain. I have also completed my training as an incident safety officer and in firefighter exterior scene support operations.

In addition, I have 23 years of experience on various municipal boards, including the Hampton Library, where I was a trustee for 15 years, serving as president, secretary, and treasurer over my tenure. I was a member of the Bridgehampton School Board for nine years, holding the office of both president and vice president. For 15 years I have been on the Bridgehampton School District’s external audit committee and have chaired that for the past 10 years.

I have served on budget, policy, and facilities committees for both the library and school districts, and have a thorough knowledge of the processes needed to provide responsible and transparent fiscal leadership owed to community members.

I have been a resident of Bridgehampton since 1992, and have been a devoted and involved member of my community. If elected, I vow to support both the dedicated department volunteers and the broader community as well. I will work hard to ensure appropriate facility and future expansion needs. I will also be the first woman to hold the position, and I believe I will be an excellent addition to the board of commissioners.

If you are registered locally and live in the fire district, please come out and vote. Be assured that all Covid-19 precautions will be in place during the voting process.

I hope you will consider supporting me on Tuesday.




For Better Access
November 30, 2020

To the Editor,

Bridgehampton! Sagaponack! Wainscott! Water Mill! We’re not done voting yet! The Bridgehampton Fire District elections are scheduled for Tuesday, between 6 and 9 p.m., at the Bridgehampton Fire Department. Yes, many of you are actually in the Bridgehampton Fire District.

This has been a year of firsts for us all as we have tried to navigate life with a pandemic. Another first this year is Elizabeth Whelan Kotz’s bid to be elected to the Bridgehampton Board of Fire Commissioners. She is the first woman ever to run for a seat on the board. I encourage everyone who is eligible to vote in the Bridgehampton Fire District to come out and exercise your right to participate in the democratic process on Tuesday. I also encourage you to vote for Elizabeth Whelan Kotz.

Unfortunately, the Bridgehampton Fire Commissioners have refused to allow absentee voting. Seems a pandemic that’s killed over 260,000 people in the U.S. isn’t enough of a reason. This is one of the reasons I encourage you to vote for Elizabeth. It’s time the fire district made voting easier for everyone in the district, rather than making voters choose between their sense of safety and their desire to vote; and the only way that change will happen is by electing new commissioners. If you are out of town on Tuesday, the current fire district board won’t allow you to vote, but they are happy to keep receiving your property tax dollars to spend as they see fit.

The board has recognized they have to provide a way to vote in person for people who are afraid of getting, or spreading Covid-19, so during the three-hour-election window you can drive to the Bridgehampton Fire Department and get a ballot through the window of your car.

The board has pretty much complete freedom to decide how to spend almost $4 million of your property tax dollars each year. Yet there is no one on the board who has any recent medical experience. That would change if you voted Elizabeth to the board. She is a current E.M.T., and a longtime volunteer with the Bridgehampton Volunteer Ambulance. When you have a medical emergency at 2 a.m., she’s one of the volunteers who gets you to the hospital. The increasing demands on volunteer medical services mean we all need someone with current medical experience and knowledge in the fire district. Those decisions on how to spend our tax dollars for medical support to the people in the district need a medical voice, so vote for Elizabeth.

Want to see the board’s meeting minutes? Good luck. They are not posted online, they are only posted inside the fire department building — a building closed to public access since the pandemic. Vote for better access to what your elected officials are doing with your money and your safety. Vote for Elizabeth.

Funny thing about voting in Bridgehampton. I get notes and letters in the mail for every election except the fire district. School board — got those in the mail. School budget — got those. Library — get those too. Town, county, state, federal elections — get a lot of those in the mail. Nothing from the Bridgehampton Fire District, just a couple lines in the legal notice section of the newspapers. Let’s vote to change that: Vote for Elizabeth. Vote for a board that will give us the information to decide if they are being good stewards of our public trust. Vote for Elizabeth. Vote to make the Bridgehampton Fire District board better for all of us.

Democracy is hard work. It takes time and effort. You cannot expect change and improvement without putting in the effort. That’s especially true with elections. Historically, fire district elections across the state have very low turnout, almost none outside the members of the fire department. Let’s change that this year. Come out and vote on Tuesday , between 6 and 9 p.m. at the Bridgehampton Fire Department. Make your vote heard. Choose the type of board you want representing you. Vote for Elizabeth Whelan Kotz.




School Tax Disaster
November 30, 2020

Dear Editor,

As we approach year’s end in a few weeks, we all will be receiving our 2021 property tax bills. Springs, as we know, is the most heavily taxed hamlet in the town.

The most significant reason for the tax fiasco in Springs is a lack of foresight, incompetence, and failed zoning by past town boards. Starting in late 1970, zoning became a political football among politicians. As with most issues that become politicized, good sound judgment becomes secondary to political patronage and special interest. Incompetence ruled the day, and Springs was zoned into an unsustainable school tax base. Impacted by various court decisions elsewhere in New York State, Springs has become a school tax disaster. Depressed property values robbed our children of an educational environment enjoyed by other local districts and adversely impacted our teaching and teaching support staff.

Several years ago, I brought up the issue of creating a separate ZIP code for Springs. The logic was simple: The median income of the community is determined by ZIP code. In the 11937 ZIP code, the combined median income of the hamlets of East Hampton and Springs is used to determine school aid. It is safe to say that the median income average of Springs is lower than the average benefiting the East Hampton School District. Conversely, the East Hampton median income average is detrimental and lowers school aid to Springs.

I am not an expert on school aid by any means, but then again, I, like you, pay Springs taxes and have seen nothing done by the 100 percent controlled by East Hampton Town Democratic Party Town Board other than lip service with zero action, nothing, nada, zippo. This is unacceptable and a flip-off to every resident of Springs, especially those with school-age children and our senior citizens.



East Hampton Town

Republican Committee


When Will We Hear?
November 16, 2020

Dear David,

The Biden-Harris duo claims they want peace and unity amongst Americans. When will the Biden-Harris team speak up about the violence from Trump rallies? Antifa and B.L.M. ran to the MAGA million rally, one thing in mind to beat up the Trump peaceful protestors, this being totally ignored by the mainstream media. When will we hear that this is unacceptable from the newly elected president and V.P.?

I’m watching on TV this group beating up on who ever they can, that’s there for President Donald Trump. This is statements of, “My way or else.”

There are people who write history lessons every week in your paper and claim living in France is absolutely wonderful: My question to you, why are you here? The nerve of you to knock Justice Amy C. Barrett, she knows the law better than anyone in the Supreme Court. Justice Barrett is well aware that Congress makes law, not the Supreme Court. Tell this to the justices that think they can make law.

­I particularly don’t like to be told, suck it up. Whoopi, did you and Joy Behar suck it up yet from the 2016 election? Did your buddy Hillary Clinton suck it up yet? I don’t think so, as Hillary is still to this day claiming she won and demanding if Joe Biden looses under no circumstances is he to concede.

In God and country,



Systemic Poverty
East Hampton
November 27, 2020


It’s Thanksgiving, and the lines of people at our food pantries stretch for miles? Do we simply not get it or do we not give a crap?

The questions around poverty require that we break down the problem into its various components and try to find a systemic alternative to what exists. America’s poverty is systemic. Institutionalized. It requires enormous efforts, sacrifices, and luck to break the stranglehold that poverty has on large parts of the population. Under Roosevelt and Johnson we even had a war on poverty. Unfortunately, like most of our wars since World War II, we were stalemated.

Race and culture deprivation are the most obvious tools to enhance poverty. We never quite got over slavery (the perfect storm for economic development). So, we have identified people of color and set up laws and systems that limit their ability for economic development. Latinos received the same treatment but the proximity of their cultures provided a small edge in dealing with the problem. When we tried the minuscule step of Affirmative Action, white people went batshit as if 350 years of Affirmative Oppression never existed.

The rationale for white poverty was essentially the same, except we replaced color with class. Class-based rules like schools, social services, and infrastructure guaranteed that moving out of this poor depressed class was painfully difficult. People see your clothes and hear you speak and you are judged, classified, and passed over.

The essential component is the distribution of wealth, how we minimalize people and take a larger portion of the pie. The systemic formula is simple: Paying the lowest wages possible at the bottom segregates populations by wealth and affordability of housing. Poor communities pay less taxes in dollars (but higher percentages of income) and receive commensurate services. Poor schools, poor hospitals, minimal health care, crumbling infrastructure, more violence, and more crime. Lots more police and lots worse treatment. No savings.

Few banks, libraries, bookstores, vegetable markets, but lots of dollar stores and check-cashing windows, etc., etc. Living day to day there are grotesque choices that have to be made. Food or medicine, rent or electric bills, et al.

We are the wealthiest country in the world. But we screw many of our people. We abuse and batter them out of greed. Avarice could replace America in our name. So we pretend to solve the problem by donating to causes, doing service on holidays, having our churches preach endlessly about giving and loving. At the end of the day we always go home to our comfort and sleep like babes.

There is fault. Clearly fault. Unquestioned fault. Complicit in a process that systemically abuses and suppresses people and benefits from this system.

Political dysfunction is a required application. The potential damage of such a large portion of the population with strong common interests joining together to demand their piece of the pie. Our pie. So we pit them against each other, tell them that their condition is a function of other poor people’s behavior and they buy the absurd bullshit because they want to feel better than someone else.

Ego gratification works wonders when the real options of money and well-being are denied systemically, and when it doesn’t we do Jim Crow and make sure that their ability to vote and interest in voting is distorted and twisted and ultimately taken away in the name of voter fraud and gerrymandering lowlifes.

We struggle as a nation with poverty because we are shamed and embarrassed by our behavior. Yet the obvious solution of a living wage and personnel dignity is beyond our collective capacity, beyond our broken spirits and our fake Christian piety.

The rich will never allow themselves to be taxed higher. Corporations will die before they kick in their fair share. The political system will always remain a money-generating machine for its bosses. Yet, there’s a chance that they can be convinced that investing in the poor will get them a better return than buying real estate or bonds. Imagine all the expensive things we can sell to people once they are no longer too poor to pay for them. Imagine being able to make those products here and not have to share the profits with the Chinese or the Indians and face the uncertainty of political upheaval and dysfunction.

So, we go back to the minimum wage, and we applaud our greed and our market acumen. So much wealth to be had. So much risk to avoid. Because someday Americans will figure this all out and they will turn on our corporate leaders and our rich fat cats and there will be nobody around to save their butts from the beating they so deserve.


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