December 21, 2020
At this holiday season, when so many people’s lives are adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, I realize how fortunate we are at East Hampton Meals on Wheels. Truly, we are twice blessed.
We are blessed with an East Hampton community whose generosity, year after year, enables us to fulfill our mission by providing healthy and nourishing meals to those who are housebound. Words alone cannot begin to express our appreciation to them. Thank you.
And we are further blessed, in an intensely human and compassionate way, by the more than four dozen volunteers who pack and deliver meals to the homebound: five days a week, 52 weeks a year — a number approaching the almost staggering figure of 18,000 meals this year.
Our volunteers are incredibly kind, big-hearted, devoted. They not only deliver meals, they get to know the recipients and check on their well-being: “Are you okay? How’s your week going? Anything we can do for you?” In many cases, our volunteers are one of the few contacts our recipients have with the “outside” world.
So, at this season of love and caring, I want to share a special thank-you to our many volunteers. They are the heart and soul of Meals on Wheels, and we are forever grateful.
December 19, 2020
A big thank-you to the local community for their overwhelming interest and participation in our Concerned Citizens of Montauk Dec. 16 webinar, “Montauk’s Coastal Resiliency and the Future of Our Beaches.” For those who were unable to join, the webinar was recorded and is viewable on our website’s webinars page: preservemontauk.org/events/
This C.C.O.M. educational forum addressed the issues of coastal resiliency in Montauk and some of the potential solutions as outlined in the East Hampton Town video addressing the Montauk Coastal Assessment and Resiliency Plan. We encourage you to take a look and also participate in the CARP survey so that your voice can be heard in shaping Montauk’s coastal future. We also look forward to your participation in future C.C.O.M. webinars.
Thank you again and wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season.
Concerned Citizens of Montauk
December 20, 2020
To the Editor,
Now that the holidays are here and we are all looking forward to the new year there is one activity that has kept me going through this past year and actually for a few decades. It’s The Star’s crossword puzzle by Sheridan Sansegundo. (The last letter I think I wrote to The Star was when they seriously considered dropping the puzzle from the paper.) I’m always in a race to solve the puzzle by the next Thursday’s edition “by any means necessary,” if you know what I mean. And then there’s always Sheridan’s San Miguel de Allende-style hints that get me thinking about just how much, or in my case how little, high school Spanish I thought I knew.
What I’m not looking forward to in 2021 are all those “letter” writers to The Star that take up two or three columns with regurgitated news from their favorite cable TV show, radio, and/or newspaper. They seem to think that they are actually news reporters and use The Star for their personal news outlet. All I can say about this is what Truman said, “That’s not writing, it’s just typing.”
On My Lawn
December 16, 2020
To the Editor,
It was a typical morning at home, just two days before Thanksgiving. I got dressed for a work Zoom call and headed into the kitchen to feed my new kitten and looked outside the window and saw this large buck lying down on my lawn. Being from the city most of my life, I wasn’t familiar with deer as much, so what I thought was that he must be sleeping. I looked from my glass front doors and noticed his eye was wide open and not moving. I didn’t know what to do. I stepped outside to see if he was breathing. I didn’t see a rise or fall of his body. I thought he must have died of old age or got hit by a car but I didn’t notice any blood. I said a prayer and hoped he went peacefully.
My home is spacious with big windows, so wherever I moved his eye seemed to follow me. It was haunting. I began to look up ways to have a deer removed. In the meantime, a delivery woman passed by and said that the buck had a hole in its body, so it was shot. All I could think about was this poor animal, shot and died in front of my entranceway.
I was terrified. Was someone going around neighborhoods shooting animals? How can this be safe for families? I called the police, who gave me the number to the Department of Environmental Conservation. The D.E.C. was very responsive and extremely kind. The officer took about an hour to arrive at my house and he opened an investigation.
His belief was that the buck was shot at a hunting ground and it ran and died on my property. He said they will go where they feel safe to die.
I am an animal lover, and I do not support hunting. I support animal rights. Having an animal shot and die on my property was devastating. I can imagine it suffered a painful death because the shot, mostly likely with a bow, was poorly aimed.
It’s horrifying to think that a child could have found this poor dead animal, or worse, when the buck was fleeing in pain, knowing it was dying, it could have run into and killed anyone in its path.
Actions have consequences. A hunter enjoys killing. Do they think of those who find it cruel? I cried all day. My elderly mother cried, too.
I wondered why this innocent, beautiful creature died in front of my doorstep. Why of all the neighborhoods and homes, did he choose my home — maybe to have a voice for him? Hunting, no matter how you look at it, is a violent form of recreation. I am disappointed that East Hampton allows such a cold-blooded and dangerous sport. Perhaps instead of hunting there are other humane ways to control the population or let nature take its course. What is it going to take to stop this cruelty, a child being killed by a fleeing deer? According to PETA: There are more deer injured by bows than kills. This is a tragedy waiting to happen.
December 21, 2020
Thank you for the consistent coverage of the South Fork Wind project. I’m glad to see the progress with permitting and to know the process is working — rigorous environmental review by the responsible agencies and inclusion of stakeholder input from the onset.
Marine construction in all forms has the potential to impact the environment. Water quality, habitat and living resources can be adversely affected. Specific to South Fork Wind, damages incurred during turbine installation and jet-plowing the 60-mile submarine cable are largely temporary and biologically inconsequential.
As for the cable landing, unlike the Block Island project, which employed the shallower jet-plowing that allowed the cable to become exposed, horizontal directional drilling is the methodology that will be used here. Horizontal drilling is capable of threading the cable deep into the sea floor and well below the influences of the high-energy surf zone. There is zero chance the cable will be exposed, and opponents of the project should stop conflating the two for the purpose of inciting unwarranted community alarm.
East Hampton should be commended for its due diligence with project review and for negotiating a substantive mitigation package. Beyond the obvious benefits from transitioning to renewable energy, there’s a golden opportunity to deliver meaningful actions for improving environmental health. Think big and act bold.
December 16, 2020
I read with great interest your editorial titled “Wainscott Village: A Terrible Idea.” Everyone, not only Wainscott residents, should be outraged at the prospect of Wainscott’s becoming a separate village. If this comes to pass, the 3,503 residents of Northwest Harbor (where I live) and other areas of the town will lose their right to park at Beach Lane beach for free and would have to pay a huge fee each year to park there. For many, especially those living on a fixed income, the cost of parking would be prohibitive. And that’s the best-case scenario.
The “new” Wainscott village would have the power to restrict parking to its residents only, leaving the rest of us with no option but to fight the traffic to Amagansett and drive to already-overcrowded beaches. I imagine Amagansett residents won’t be happy with Wainscott incorporation either. It must be especially galling to Wainscott residents who’ve been gerrymandered out of their village — and to the many young families with children who’ve recently purchased homes believing they’d have free parking at the beaches closest to them.
The small group of Beach Lane property owners driving this effort (Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott) is the same people who’ve been fighting the Wind farm underground cable landing at Beach Lane. The group’s original name was “Save Beach Lane.” This begs the question: Save it for whom? Clearly not for residents of Northwest and other areas of town, or gerrymandered Wainscott residents, who’ve been enjoying this beach for years.
The Moneyed Few
December 21, 2020
I agree with you that the incorporation of Wainscott is a terrible idea.
The incorporation is promoted by the moneyed few who want a gated community and an exclusive privatized beach. Only those who are within the new incorporated community will have unfettered access to Wainscott beaches. This not only excludes surfers and fishermen but also all residents of Northwest Woods and other areas, who for years have used Wainscott beaches.
Those of us in Northwest Woods will be forced to use the beaches in Amagansett.
Say no to incorporation. Wainscott beaches are not for sale.
JEREMIAH T. MULLIGAN
Very Fast Clock
December 20, 2020
I write this in my private capacity, and not as a representative of the town or the town planning board, which I chair.
The Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, or C.P.W., is planning to submit to the town supervisor its petition to incorporate the hamlet of Wainscott into a village by the end of December. Despite its previous mistakes in mapmaking, C.P.W. appears to be moving quickly to submit its petition and its new, exclusionary boundary, in order to start running the very fast clock toward incorporation as required by the New York State Village Law. Perhaps the reason for C.P.W.’s haste can be explained by your article “$29 Mil Deal Ready for Close-up” (Dec. 17).
On its website, C.P.W. claims that, if incorporated, “Wainscott would be able to. . . . Significantly influence the decision on whether Orsted (a.k.a. Deepwater) can land its high-power electric cables in Wainscott. . . .” This influence will be hampered if the town grants the easement and lease discussed in your article. Certainly, an easement and lease will be seen by Orsted as granting to it rights which a village cannot simply undo.
It is inconceivable that Orsted will sail away from Beach Lane merely because a newly incorporated village of Wainscott demands that it not land its cable there. If the village is to “significantly influence” Orsted’s decision, it must be prepared to litigate. Yet, C.P.W.’s consultant, in the discussion of “Legal Expenses” (Incorporation Financial Model, at page 20), identifies only “expert guidance on policies and ordinances, to represent the village during a liability claim, and to draft contracts.” C.P.W.’s consultant does not make any mention of the legal expenses required to litigate against a multinational corporation like Orsted, which is certain to include years of discovery and motion practice, as well as a lengthy trial and probably years more of appeal.
It is no scare tactic to say that, regardless of whether Wainscott residents support or oppose or have no opinion about the Beach Lane cable landing, or how the litigation finally concludes, village taxpayers will be required to bear enormous legal fees to attempt to satisfy the desires of those who oppose the cable.
Worse yet, once the village undertakes litigation against Orsted, dissolution of the village will not avoid the expense of its folly. General Municipal Law Section 790 requires that when a village dissolves, all of its debts, including lawyers’ bills, “shall be a charge upon the taxable property within the limits of the dissolved entity.” That burden, which could go on for years, won’t enhance property values in Wainscott any.
Neither C.P.W.’s presentations to the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee, nor its website, nor its glossy brochures, demonstrate any legally valid, long-term interest that will be served by incorporating Wainscott. Despite vacuous promises on C.P.W.’s website that a village will “exercise greater control over our zoning and provide more responsive services to our community” (nearly all of which it proposes to subcontract to neighboring towns and villages), it seems clear to me that C.P.W.’s only real goal is to attempt to prevent an electrical cable from landing at Beach Lane, and make everyone within five square miles of Beach Lane pay for that attempt.
Very truly yours,
Way Too Early
December 15, 2020
To the Editor:
I am a resident of the Town of East Hampton and my home is in the Wainscott School District. It appears from the latest map that we are part of the proposed village of Wainscott. After reading your account of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, I am both worried and confused. I am worried because the proponents of the incorporation of Wainscott have not revealed who they are, who is paying for the consultants, and who is deciding the boundaries of the proposed village. I am very worried because the estimate of the additional taxes I would be responsible for seems grossly underestimated and, as a retiree, this is of great concern to me.
I am confused because I don’t know how the vote on this proposal will be organized and most important who will be allowed to vote. The article mentioned that this vote could happen as early as February, which is way too early in my opinion, considering that the unnamed members of the Committee for the Preservation of Wainscott just changed the borders in a most arbitrary fashion.
Our town, our state, and our country are coping with a pandemic, and I believe that people need more time to decide on this proposal, which could have a long-term financial impact. I urge the town supervisor to postpone this vote at least until the pandemic is better under control.
December 11, 2020
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Lee Zeldin has joined an exclusive club by being one of only two Republican representatives from New York State to sign the Texas petition before the Supreme Court to overturn the presidential election. Does he think that fraud was responsible for his re-election?
Indeed in Trouble
December 20, 2020
Your editorial in last week’s Star was spot-on except for one statement. I do believe that every congressman, including Lee Zeldin, who signed that amicus brief to the Supreme Court, did something that borders on treason. How far will they go in the future? They definitely, I believe, violated their oaths of office.
The latest news as of yesterday is that Michael Flynn, who was pardoned by Donald Trump (for lying to Vice President Mike Pence and others and who pleaded guilty) now believes and discussed in the Oval Office that Donald Trump could declare martial law and have the election over again. Are they all mentally ill?
Donald Trump still seems to think he won the 2020 election, although over 60 federal and state cases, with both Republican and Democratic judges, all over the country were dismissed because of no evidence of fraud. Two Supreme Court cases were dismissed despite three of the judges on the Supreme Court having been appointed by Donald Trump. Many Republican and Democratic officials in states have followed the rule of law despite the attempts by Donald Trump and 126 congressmen, including our own Lee Zeldin. Did they really believe the Supreme Court would overthrow an election decided by the American voters because of the balance of the court?
I think that some members of the Republican Party are politically and morally bankrupt. And if they are listening to the likes of pardoned Michael Flynn, the United States is indeed in trouble. Meanwhile Donald Trump and those members seem to have deserted the pandemic, our national security, and the American people, many of whom are starving, homeless, and need our help. Fifteen million children in our country do not have enough food.
According to news reports, there have been for months cyber attacks by Russia on America. Donald Trump has once again defended Russia and stated it might be China, ignoring the reports of our own government agents. On Feb. 26 Donald Trump stated at a press conference there “is only 15 cases of corona virus in the United States and within 15 days the virus would go to zero.” On March 18 Donald Trump declared himself a wartime president because of the Covid-19 virus with thousands of cases in the United States. As I write this letter there are almost 18 million cases of Covid-19 virus and 317,469 deaths in the United States, and the wartime president, according to reports, hasn’t attended a Covid-19 virus meeting for five months. I always thought if a commander or soldier during war deserted his post, he was arrested and thrown in the brig.
Donald Trump lost the election, I believe, because he is the worst president this country has ever seen. He wants to be a dictator like Russia’s Putin, and American voters saw the truth. The election wasn’t against the down-ballot candidates because Lee Zeldin, Mitch McConnell, and other Republican senators and congressmen and women all won. There was no Republican bloodbath, as predicted by some politicians. In fact, the Republicans gained seats in Congress.
I do have two questions though: I cannot help but wonder if Donald Trump will get to build his Trump Tower in Russia? What information does Putin have on Trump?
Revenge and Pillage
December 18, 2020
“Jobs, opportunity, and wealth” — this is the promise of Chad Padgett, recently appointed by Trump as the Bureau of Land Management’s Alaska state director, when he announced the bureau’s notice of sale for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Federal Register notice was published on Dec. 7, setting up the lease sale to be conducted on Jan. 6, via video live-stream, Just 14 days before President-elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration.
What’s the big hurry? Is this a good price to pay for energy? Short-term profits in exchange for the permanent loss of environmentally priceless assets?
Priceless doesn’t mean worthless. Economic issues should be only one of many impact facts under consideration. If we, as a collective society, have not yet understood the entirety of the precious values of certain lands, that lack of understanding should be no excuse for squandering and otherwise destroying them for immediate economic reward. Flora, fauna, and the thoughtful preservation of our nation’s significant lands must be considered.
We already see serious efforts to shift from fossil fuel dependence, so why this rush by the Department of the Interior, led by secretary and former oil lobbyist David Bernhardt, to offer developers the opportunity to bid on parcels that dot the 1.6-million-acre swath inside of the refuge situated on Alaska’s North Slope?
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was officially opened to drilling in 2017, after the Senate managed to slip legislation sponsored by Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski into that year’s poisonous tax-reform bill. On Monday, Interior Secretary Bernhardt commended Trump for taking this latest step toward delivering on the 2017 executive order. This final push to sell off land in the refuge, before President Donald Trump leaves office in January, is part of that executive order supposedly seeking “energy independence” that was hidden within the tax reform bill early on in Trump’s single-term presidency.
These sudden stealth attacks upon our environmental treasures must not go unnoticed, and should not be allowed.
The few days before Trump leaves office are perhaps the most hazardous we face, and will likely be the most destructive of his administration. While needless deaths continue to peak from a pandemic that this president has all but mocked and ignored, people struggle to survive economically, often falling sick and dying, but this deposed president is acting out a personal and vindictive tantrum.
Still claiming the voting results are false, he is rapidly destroying everything he can that represents progressive values. No good purpose is evident, just revenge — just a hasty last effort to cement some imagined radical right-wing legacy before he must leave.
Republicans daring to be the least bit equivocal are specifically singled out for Trump’s acts of revenge and punishment.
Alaska came close to upsetting the historic Republican advantage since 1964, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy was equivocal about Trump’s claim to re-election. Apparently Alaska is now the target of immediate revenge and pillage.
Now that the notice was published in the Federal Register, the lease-sale is set for Jan. 6. Time is of the essence to protect this refuge from exploitation. This aggressive timeline indicates that Interior is queuing up potential sales just 14 days before Inauguration Day, when President-elect Joe Biden is to be sworn in.
It’s shameless and destructive greed.
December 13, 2020
To the Editor:
Ever notice dead people always vote for Democrats?
December 20, 2020
In response to Eva Moore (Dec. 10), my letter has strong meaning in reference to the Biden-Harris team calling to stop the violence. President-elect Biden, in my eyes, as certain states were on fire, [with] violence and looting for weeks at a time, did not go on television to demand it to stop, made no demands to the violators to put an end to this violence. As far as Harris goes, her record in California stands for true meaning: Defund the police.
F.Y.I., I don’t know where you get your news, but I watched in awe as Hillary Clinton sat in a chair and stated, “Under no circumstance should Joe Biden concede should he lose.” With my own eyes and ears I saw this clip.
If you read my letter carefully you would understood my mention was directed to Whoopi Goldberg, as on her show, in her nasty manner, she announced, “Suck it up; you lost.” I questioned if her staff, mainly Joy Behar, sucked it up. I also mentioned Ms. Clinton because she still hollers she won. Perhaps you need to find other news stations, papers that don’t just satisfy the liberals. I take the time to read and watch different areas of the news.
In God and country,
Instead of Tokens
December 21, 2020
Context, every issue needs some context. When we look at the recent election the context is clear, obvious, and painful: 37 percent of the electorate chose not to vote for either Trump or Biden. Trump’s pathetic 29 percent and Biden’s paltry 34 percent are statements that reflect the ineptitude of our democracy and the total failure of our two-party system.
When one looks to entitle the lunacy around the current electoral political situation, “the audacity of white supremacy” pops out. But it translates as the “hypocrisy of white trash,” otherwise we are obliged by vernacular appropriateness to use terms like scumbags, assholes, reprobates, all of which are inappropriate for a family newspaper and don’t win over many enemies.
Hypocrisy is the biblical term of killing for Jesus, how we rationalize grotesque behavior and normalize it, the elevation of the “I” over the “we,” how Donald Trump is more important then the United States’ democracy, how we, the true believers, are privy to knowledge that no one else has and by this knowledge we are permitted to carry out the bidding of our most exalted leader. Believing that being selected to receive this knowledge that we are more special and, in effect, “chosen,” the descent from white supremacy to fascist hypocrisy.
The pathetic truth is that if the election were really rigged why didn’t all 126 Republican true believers resign from Congress? How could they, or any of the senators who supported their cause, continue in government knowing that the system which elected them was rigged? Doesn’t their participation in the fraud validate the belief that it wasn’t fraudulent? True believers are not Sunday churchgoers. True believers bleed for Donald Trump and would never accept hypocrisy as a justification for their remaining in this corrupt government. True believers turn into fascist hypocrites when the heat turns them into marshmallows.
Sadly, pathetically, the Republican Party has come out of the closet under Trump’s leadership. It was once the party that believed the Second Amendment was only about militias. (Nixon called people who wanted guns “sickos.”) They used to love Planned Parenthood. (Betty Ford called it America’s saving grace). They once majorly supported abortion rights and believed that unsafe abortions were a sacrilege. Religion was to be tolerated and church and state separated. Civil rights and the E.R.A. were important. So, on all these issues we see the fraudulence and hypocrisy of politicians who don’t believe in anything except making themselves richer.
The primary fault line in our white privilege system is that all white people are not taken care of. In fact, large swaths of the white population reap few of the benefits of privilege. Instead of tokens to ride the subway, they are given scapegoats and ideological enemies plus patriotism, Jesus, and MAGA hats.
The disdain for the American people is evidenced by the $900 billion stimulus bill. Almost $600 billion was already allocated and unspent. Yet they didn’t want to give out any of it and were shamed into passing the bill.
For Trump to go quietly risks losing the majority of his base. Once the noise and bravado have dissipated there is little real benefit that they have acquired. Even in the worst pandemic we ever experienced, their support came from Pelosi and the Dems. All that remains is a sense of special inside knowledge that 67 percent of the country rejects as false — and miles-long lines at food banks.
Hypocrisy to the third degree. Betray the country, the electoral system, and your supporters. An audacious statement.