March 5, 2020
Our East Hampton Golden Pear is pure gold to all of us morning coffee gang. A “hi,” a hug, a sharing of the latest: It has a vibe which could not be designed — it just blossoms.
So thank you, Pear. You truly make my day every day!
March 5, 2020
As many times as I or my work have been written about, none have been accurate, until I read Jennifer Landes’s piece in today’s Star. She is a wonderful writer. Thank you.
March 3, 2020
Thanks for the gentle subscription reminder. I was sure the renewal wasn’t due yet, but in any case it’s the best newspaper around, and I would hate to miss a copy. All of your writers, your production staff, opinions, are greatly appreciated. Photos are terrific. We miss John Spear’s lovely black-and-white pix but he’d no doubt approve of the great job the Rattray family (and his capable daughter Min) are doing there on Main Street, in the old “stand-by office and printing plant” with the plate-glass window on the world!
Helen, David, Jack’s weekly words, and your editorials are reassuring. I love Larry Penny and am so glad he’s carrying on in the path of Ray Latham and Paul Stoutenburgh, and his opinions on everything that affect us deeply are gems! Anyway, thanks again, and I’ll get to paying up for another year!
Democracy at Work
March 6, 2020
I write in response to Jerry Larsen’s letter to the editor in last week’s Star.
Unlike what Jerry Larsen would have you believe, he is not the first to have discussed possible changes to our East Hampton Village Code. Many of the ideas he claims to have conceived have been discussed in various forms in the past, but did not become codified for various reasons. In many cases, a consensus could not be reached because of some differences among board members as well as concerned residents at the time. After all, that is democracy at work.
Remember, that this village is 80 to 85 percent residential and the village board must respond to the residents’ needs as well as the business community requests. It’s not always easy to come to a consensus between two differing viewpoints. A good example of that was the village board meeting on March 5. During the public comments at the meeting, it became obvious that not all businesses are in favor of the street fairs in the village, particularly considering the time of year and when street closings are involved. Your board is actively working to foster a solution that is acceptable to both sides.
Anyone who has bothered to contact the board with concerns becomes keenly aware of how hard we try to accommodate when possible. It is not village government’s responsibility to organize or actively direct these large community events. The board simply grants the permit for the event based on community input and then, where possible, we provide the appropriate support in the form of policing and Department of Public Works staffing and equipment. Jerry Larsen’s notion that East Hampton Village is the “village of no” is completely false. This village hosts six large community events every year, beginning with the Polar Bear Plunge (350 people in attendance), the Spring Fair, the Artists and Writers softball game, the August Street Fair, The Fall Street Fair, and the Christmas Parade and Street Fair. That is as much or more than other communities on the East End host. Sorry Jerry Larsen, but your disinformation campaign is not working.
Jerry Larsen consistently tries to demean the hard work of this village board by trying to find every little thing he perceives that is wrong with the village. I prefer to concentrate on all the things that are good with our community. For example, the preservation of our historic sites, the recently begun initiative to protect our surface waters, the refurbishing of Herrick Park, the research into a new parking system for the future as well as a sewer system, and the recently talked about traffic advisory committee. All of this will help bolster the success of our commercial core businesses.
Jerry Larsen claims we are following his lead. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I remind you that his lead as village police chief led to his receiving many reprimands and severe punishment (he forfeited 30 days’ pay) for mismanagement of the East Hampton Village Police Department.
His lack of self-awareness in order to reflect on his numerous shortcomings as a leader eventually led to his being fired in 2016 by a unanimous decision of the village board. (He does collect retirement from New York State because he had vested in the retirement system.) He has sought retribution in the form of frivolous lawsuits and constant Freedom of Information Act requests (18 so far) from the village since his termination.
Additionally, he has made outrageous claims of misconduct by everyone else with no proof whatsoever. Is that the character of a leader? I think not.
Jerry Larsen wants to fundamentally change this village overnight by allowing loud amplified music at our quaint old inns and downtown businesses. That’s how the problems with “night clubs” in Montauk began. Once that happens here, we will never get back the beautiful, quiet village that currently draws an overwhelming majority of tourists to our community.
In contrast, Barbara Borsack, I, and Ray Harden support gradual, incremental change after a thorough vetting for all the residents to review. Then, and only then, will we move forward with reasonable changes that contribute to our wonderful way of life for both residents and business owners alike.
East Hampton Village mayor
March 6, 2020
People who know me will tell you I’m not a person who likes to speak ill of others, but there comes a time in life when not speaking up against untruths and allowing anyone to be bullied with false accusations can no longer be tolerated. For me, that time arrived last week with Jerry Larsen’s outrageous letter to The Star, full of so many inaccuracies as to be worthy of a true work of fiction. I would like to clarify a few points.
First, for a very long time village law has not allowed “fast food” establishments, and for a very long time has worked well at eliminating any proliferation of the fast-food chains in the village. Dylan’s Candy Store, which is not a restaurant and does not have seating, met the definition of fast food when it wanted to sell ice cream. They applied to the village to be allowed to serve ice cream and their application was granted by the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals. They’ve been serving ice cream ever since.
The village board had already made a decision to take garbage cans off the beaches, which we did last summer. They will not be back on the beaches this summer in our continuing effort to keep our beaches clean. That decision was made in conjunction with the East Hampton Town Trustees, who have jurisdiction over the beaches.
The inns in the village are all in pre-existing, non-conforming locations, which means that they were already in operation prior to zoning. Because they are in residential neighborhoods their expansion is strictly regulated because the village is committed to protecting the residents in the neighborhoods surrounding them, restricting the noise and traffic that would accompany many of the expansions of such use. The present village board is open to some changes in the restrictions on their use, and is open to granting permission for some amenities that will not disturb the peace and quiet of the residential neighborhoods surrounding them. But our residents and the peaceful enjoyment of their homes are always our first priority.
The village board has previously purchased hybrid vehicles for their fleet. However, when it was suggested years ago that the police department could use hybrids, the department quickly nixed the idea because the technology was not yet at a place where they were appropriate for police work. Now the technology has improved, and we are able to purchase them for the police department. I believe the village should be on a plan to phase out fossil fuels, and replacing vehicles with electric is a priority.
I have no desire to address all of Mr. Larsen’s sad campaign accusations, but the facts are the facts, and the public has the right to know that he has never been one to be bothered by facts.
I prefer to deal in facts such as these:
Jerry Larsen was a problem employee from the moment he took office as chief of the East Hampton Village Police Department.
Chief Larson was required to attend sensitivity training due to racially charged comments he made at a public event (from the microphone), which resulted in police officers from neighboring departments calling for his resignation.
Chief Larsen spent more time in executive sessions with the village board than any other employee, in attempts by the board to counsel him that inappropriate behavior by a department head would not be tolerated.
Chief Larsen was disciplined for numerous instances of poor judgment, which included mishandling of his police budget, and the inappropriate personal use of his village-issued cellphone and vehicle.
Chief Larsen was asked to divest himself of his interest in his security business, which was becoming a conflict of interest with his work. He promptly transferred his interest to his wife, and continued to run it anyway.
Jerry Larsen’s continuous breach of sound ethical practices in his conduct as chief of police finally resulted in the village board informing him that his contract would not be renewed. However, in consideration of his many years as an employee, he would be allowed to retire and was presented with the traditional proclamation. Jerry Larsen’s response was to file a frivolous lawsuit against the village as an act of revenge. This lawsuit was summarily dismissed by the court. It’s unfortunate that his attempts to exact revenge have cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Despite all this, in his quest to gain more power in the village, he decided to run for the position of mayor. Since he lives in the town, not the village, and has for his entire adult life, he needed to establish residency so he rented a small apartment on Newtown Lane where he could pretend to live. Then he began attending village board meetings and formed an election platform from all the issues that were being addressed by the board at the time (Herrick Park, downtown revitalization, sewage treatment, parking, etc.). Who is following whose lead?
Now, he is in the process of trying to exact his final revenge against the only two members of the board (who voted to let him go) who are still active, by spreading lies and rumors as well as trying to take credit for everything the board is acting on.
I trust that the village residents know that the only type of leading Jerry Larsen is doing is to foster his own personal interests because he has proven that time and time again. The village deserved a better chief of police, which we now have. (Statistics clearly show incredible increases in patrols and enforcement since our present chief took command.) And the village deserves a mayor with more integrity, who actually lives in the village, and pays village taxes like every other property owner.
East Hampton Village trustee
March 7, 2020
I commend town Supervisor Van Scoyoc, Jeff Bragman, and the other board members, and The Star for moving forward with repurposing our airport property to be a totally positive enterprise for the community. At the same time, I again say that the primary problem of the airport is not one of noise pollution, as awful as that is, but one of deleterious climate impact.
As the world climate crisis accelerates, humans must respond intelligently. As we determine a path to energy sustainability (including a welcome offshore wind farm), leaving our largest and least necessary regional carbon polluter out of the equation is absurd, yes? Of course high-speed electric rail would prove eminently intelligent as well.
March 9, 2020
To the Editor,
Closing East Hampton Airport is not a solution but rather a political maneuver to transfer a serious problem from one small geographic area to a far larger location within the Town of East Hampton. In a recent telephone survey conducted by the citizen group Montauk United, over 50 Long Island aviation professionals agreed that in the case of an East Hampton Airport closure, the most likely alternate destination for both rotary and fixed-wing aircraft will be Montauk Airport. A companion survey of pilots, executives, and owners of the commercial helicopters now servicing East Hampton Airport stated, while clearly preferring E.H. Airport, if not permitted access, the Montauk airfield would be the most viable alternative. The described and planned routes would affect hundreds of Montauk homes, dozens of motels, hotels, restaurants, and businesses.
The above information is not a guess, supposition, or forecast of the results that an East Hampton Airport closure would bring. They are clearly stated intentions, plans, procedures, and facts that will surely do massive harm to the entire economic and social fabric of the Montauk community, and a far greater negative impact to the entire Town of East Hampton than any situation that currently exists.
The hamlet of Montauk is an authentic taxpaying, voting, legal entity of the Town of East Hampton, its citizens just as vital, just as significant, and just as important as any other geographic area within the town’s physical borders. The people of Montauk have both the legal and moral right, and are entitled to the same degree of town board support, attention, and protection from aircraft noise, pollution, and danger as other co-East Hampton Town residents. While an expedient, effective solution to this serious, heartbreaking airport problem is necessary, and wished for by all, it cannot be at the sacrifice and expense of Montauk and its people.
March 6, 2020
Your editorial is common sense. The local airport threat has been looming over our heads and homes for decades, with low altitude flights denying us the enjoyment of our homes and exposing us to danger. The “Wiley Post” wannabes’ interpretation of the so-called voluntary noise abatement guidelines is we can do whatever we want, because there is no enforcement or penalties.
Our town board tried to mitigate this with limits, but the arrogant jackasses sued, and the efforts were overruled. A study to determine economic impact. First of all, not a penny that comes in goes into the general fund to offset our ever-rising taxes. So the hand wringers will hand out chits so every business will have an “it came from the airport” reporting system.
The town board’s oath of office guarantees our safety and quality of life. The only thing we residents get is disruption, air pollution, noise, and danger. You can bet your bippy that the lawsuits will be forthcoming by the special interest groups.
This vast acreage should be put to use that benefits all the town residents. Turn it into green energy, lower our utility bills, and improve quality of life for us. God forbid that these self-absorbed people should have to use Gabreski, a larger and safer facility? Close it as soon as possible and the residents should lend support to the town board by alerting them to use common sense. And do their duty for us!
March 8, 2020
The Star’s March 5 editorial stated what many have long believed: It’s time to close KHTO, East Hampton Airport. The town can certainly survive very well without a toxic facility at the edge of the village. If a few wealthy homeowners flee because they can’t commute by air, good riddance. Other folk, mindful of the inestimable value of a healthy environment, the well-being of their family, and the future of their children, will happily replace them.
Just one action by East Hampton Town — closing the airport — would end the annual dispersal, from around 30,000 private flights, of minimum 38-million pounds of toxic carbon emissions over Long Island residents. When thousands of families are so badly impacted by low-altitude, noxious aviation outputs, catering to private air travelers for whom convenience ranks higher than the well-being of our planet and the future of our children, should not be a service supported by the town. Polluting helicopter, seaplane, and private jet flights are a scourge on our overburdened environment. Options are available for less environmentally-harmful public transportation to and from New York City or tristate area. Many have, for decades, commuted on trains, buses, and ferries and survived the experience.
Actions that will protect the quality of our drinking water, soil, and air begin at the local level. Kudos to the Town of East Hampton for setting goals to lessen its carbon footprint and continuing to put in motion methods to do that.
As the town considers next steps to lessen not only carbon emissions but also the many dangers to those on the ground from increasing numbers of flights to KHTO, I hope Star readers will support safer, cleaner, alternative uses of the town property that will, for the first time in decades, provide income to benefit all the people of East Hampton, not, as now, exclusively those with aviation interests.
March 5, 2020
Suffolk Department of Health is in the process of testing private wells north of the industrial area and the East Hampton Landfill on Springs-Fireplace Road. To date, private wells have been tested at over 200 properties, and initial results indicate a total of 11 contaminants in drinking water. Some of these contaminants are above drinking water standards, while others are far below. Regardless of their drinking water standard, none of these contaminants should be coming out from the faucets in our homes. This is a major concern for all residents who receive their drinking water from private wells. All residents not on public water should have their well water tested regularly.
The information offered below comes from the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Forty-two percent of the private residential wells tested have at least one of the following five volatile organic compounds. V.O.C.s are considered harmful to human health.
• Chloroform, which results from industry activities and is a probable human carcinogen.
• MTBE, which is mixed with gasoline. Its spills or leaks from storage containers can seep into deeper soil layers and pollute groundwater. According to studies it poses an imminent threat to public health.
• Toluene, whose exposure can affect the nervous system (brain and nerves) and has the potential to impact immune, kidney, liver, and reproductive effects.
• Tetrachloroethene, a manufactured chemical used for dry cleaning and metal degreasing that the E.P.A. considers likely to be carcinogenic to humans.
• Cis-1,2-dichloroethene, which at low doses has effects on the blood, such as decreased numbers of red blood cells, and on the liver.
In addition to the five V.O.C.s mentioned above, residential private wells also found three substances to be above drinking water standards: manganese, nitrates, and iron. Manganese has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier and the placenta during pregnancy, enabling it to reach a developing fetus. Studies in children have suggested that extremely high levels of manganese exposure may produce undesirable effects on brain development, including changes in behavior and decreases in the ability to learn and remember.
Furthermore, there were detections of herbicide metabolites, semi-volatile organic compounds, and pharmaceutical medication in drinking water, CGA-67125 metolachlor metabolite, trichlorfon, bisphenol A, phenytoin (dilantin), DEET, and carbamazepine.
The groundwater at the East Hampton Landfill is tested four times per year. Over several decades test results consistently found four volatile organic compounds above state standards. These V.O.C.s have been linked to cancer: benzene, tetrachloroethene, cis-1,2-dichloroethene, and vinyl chloride.
Also, groundwater test results at the landfill have detected manganese at over 40 times state standards at one of its test wells. Manganese at this high of a level is not naturally occurring; it results from mulching and composting operations. If Department of Environmental Conservation mulching and composting “safe practices” were followed at the landfill it would greatly reduce manganese in groundwater.
Knowing this, no parent can feel safe offering their child a drink of water from the faucet. The industrial corridor and the jobs and services it offers to our community are important. And, so is public health. Why can’t we have both!
March 7, 2020
Dear Mr. Rattray,
We perform litter cleanup along a portion of Springs-Fireplace Road as part of the county’s Adopt-A-Road program. We share that responsibility with town employees and the local business community. In our opinion, over the last several years the litter problem is getting worse. In our conversations with the county, they have confirmed a steady increase in litter along their roads.
The great majority of what we pick up is what is thrown out of cars: containers of what people eat, drink, and smoke, and now vapes. Most of our younger generation don’t remember the anti-litter campaigns launched in the ’60s that changed the habits of our generation. Unfortunately, the bad habit of treating everything outside your vehicle as your personal garbage dump is gaining on our roadways.
Our current anti-littering ordinances are difficult to enforce, and we wonder how many, if any, tickets for littering were issued by the town police last year.
We need to increase the litter awareness programs of the town, county, and state. We should start with our new drivers education, high schools, and civic associations. We need anti-litter programs in the stores that sell the products that end up on our roads. We need to educate and encourage another generation to take responsibility for their trash and to take care of our common areas.
March 9, 2020
At a recent jam-packed meeting concerning the “Springs corridor,” I was shocked and dismayed at the misinformation people had about the upcoming bus depot of the East Hampton School District buses on the grounds that were previously the location of the now closed scab waste center on Springs-Fireplace Road. When that land was originally up for grabs, the Riverhead Building Supply company wanted it, which would have meant huge trucks in and out all day long on that road during all seasons, maybe even more frequent ins and outs of their huge trucks during our most congested time in the summer.
Instead, the school district was able to secure the site for its buses, also the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) will provide instruction there for vocational education. One also must remember that there would be no school buses going in or out in the heavily traveled summertime, and it will not be used by Springs buses, which have their own depot.
Imagine being a kid from Montauk wanting training in car mechanics to earn your living some day and having to get up and be on a bus to Riverhead where the classes are now held. We are talking about getting on a bus at some ungodly hour to get to Riverhead. Wow! BOCES will hold these classes now at the bus depot site. Bravo! Those kids must be so relieved.
Recycling and Litter
March 3, 2020
After attending the March 3 town board meeting I sit at my computer trying to explain the revenge tendencies of the majority of this group. Revenge is a special type of aggression and it is designed to hurt and it is best distinguished by an emotional and behavioral intensity. The power base of this board’s majority of five Democrats gives one a complete understanding of how power operates to attack residents of this community that don’t always agree with them. Shades of President Trump.
At the Feb. 4, 2020, meeting Councilwoman Sylvia Overby gave her liaison report that the duties of the Recycling and Litter Committee, of which I had been secretary for four years, was being rolled over to the Energy Sustainability Committee. I called the secretary to move my membership to that committee so I could continue my work in dealing with recycling and litter issues for this town. To my chagrin, I received a call from Councilwoman Overby telling me that the Energy and Sustainability Committee was closed by a town board decision as there were too many members with various opinions already on the committee.
In checking minutes and resolutions, I discovered there were none, either disbanding the Recycling and Litter Committee nor any closing the membership of the Energy and Sustainability Committee by this town board. In addition, there was a resolution on Feb. 4 appointing two new members — Brad Brooks and Biddle Duke — to the Energy Sustainability Committee.
I addressed this at the Feb. 25 meeting, when Sylvia was on one of her many monthly vacation trips to Florida, and so I had to reappear at the March 3 town board meeting in order to address this exclusion from the committee and get a direct explanation. Sylvia Overby, Peter Van Scoyoc, and David Lys just replied that I couldn’t be on the committee. Peter stated that if I could get someone on the committee to sponsor me I would be considered being placed on the committee.
Special thanks to Councilman Jeff Bragman, who spoke up in supporting me and then offered to sponsor me for the committee. He received flack by these three town board members. But to no avail! My expertise was rejected, as was Councilman Bragman’s voice. It is a sad day for East Hampton to have a town board who seems to function by bullying and playing power politics instead of thinking about the good things committees can achieve.
March 10, 2020
To the Editor:
Not enough of our public land is already devoted to the maiming and slaughter of innocent wildlife? The East Hampton Town Board wants to add another 28 acres of their “fiefdom” exclusively for bow hunting! It is apparent that certain members continue to cater to their own personal pet projects and/or those of special interests, instead of focusing on that which matters to the community as a whole. What a shameless, sorry lot of delusional, self-serving Neanderthals! Studies have shown that bow hunting cripples approximately 50 percent of struck animals. They then bleed to death or die from infection or disease.
The Oxford Dictionary defines sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or a team competes against another or others for entertainment.” In hunting, the stalked, entrapped animal is surely not an equal, nor a competitor, not a willing participant, and most certainly not there for “entertainment.” Thus, hunting is really not a sport, and as we already know, those who participate are clearly not sportsmen (hiding in blinds, outfitted in camouflage, stalking with high-powered rifles, really?).
In the 21st century, this blood lust and violence have little to do with necessity or tradition but everything to do with ego and a lack of compassion for other living creatures — with self-determined ignorance, gobsmacking indifference, and a staggering lack of appreciation for the unique beauty and the right of every one of these innocent, sentient beings to his/her own life!
“There’s no such thing as an ethical hunter! Forget hunters’ feeble rationalizations and trust your gut feelings: Making Sport of Killing Is Not Healthy Human Behavior.”
“Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is, and do something about it — whether the victim is human or animal — we cannot expect things to be much better in this world. We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity.” — Rachel Carson
Public hearing on Thursday, March 19, 2020, at 6:30 p.m.: Please plan to attend and speak out against this gruesome and most hideous form of hunting.
March 3, 2020
To the Editor:
The town board is ready to expand deer hunting once again. It is considering the addition of three sites totaling 28 acres for bow hunting in Montauk.
Although the sites are relatively small, it is heartbreaking to think of any animal being killed. On these sites, moreover, the suffering will often be especially intense. When stuck by hunters’ arrows, many deer are wounded and die slow, agonizing deaths. Complications include peritonitis, an infection in the abdominal cavity that produces excruciating pain.
Given its history, the board is likely to vote for the new hunting additions. But I hold out hope that the board will consider the animals suffering and reject the proposal.
East Hampton Group for Wildlife
March 8, 2020
It is gratifying that the East Hampton Town Board voted 4 to 1 to permit Orsted/Eversource to proceed with geo- technical archaeology samplings and surveying along the Beach Lane corridor in Wainscott, the preferred landing site for the South Fork Wind Farm submarine cable. It is also the preferred landing site of Win With Wind. The work is to be completed by April 30, 2020.
The results of these tests will provide essential information regarding soil content, groundwater, archaeological findings, and the viability of Wainscott as a landing site. Moreover, these findings are important to the rigorous permitting process currently under review before New York State’s Public Service Commission.
The town board last addressed the surveying issue with the passage of a similar resolution in 2018. The vote then was 3 to 2 in favor, but the applicant paused and allowed the permit to expire in deference to opposition from Wainscott residents who urged that the landing site (the point where the submarine cable from the wind turbines 35 miles east of Montauk comes ashore) be Hither Hills instead — a location east of Amagansett.
It simply makes sense that the installation of the transmission cable be through Wainscott. The route to the substation from Wainscott Beach to the Cove Hollow Road substation is approximately four miles; it is nearly 12 miles from Hither Hills to the substation. The proposed construction period if the landing site is Wainscott is one winter. If it is Hither Hills, construction would take more than two winter seasons. This alternative route would cause considerable disruption to commerce in Amagansett village and East Hampton Village.
Thanks to the town board’s action, one of the impediments to this valuable clean energy project may now be resolved. A rapidly changing global climate and its serious local impacts (more shellfisheries collapse, more tick-borne diseases, rising water levels, more violent and dangerous weather events) can no longer be denied and ignored.
Win With Wind
March 4, 2020
Recent writers to The Star have claimed that the South Fork Wind Farm is not needed due to the prospect of larger, less-expensive wind farms proposed to the west of us, and even that we shouldn’t do it because the parts will come from foreign sources and we haven’t figured out how to recycle them 30 years hence. On the latter point, since cellphones, computers, cars, everything be buy at Walmart and Amazon are also foreign made, and disposal of same is a universal problem, it is inexplicable that these voices single out this wind farm as the one thing we should not do. One might well question their real motives.
The great football coach Vince Lombardi used to open the first practice of each season with the basics. To paraphrase, “Gentlemen, this is a football. The object of the game is to carry it across the opponent’s goal line. That’s called offense. We also must prevent the opponent from carrying it the opposite way. That’s called defense.”
Our discussions about climate change and what we should do about it should also be grounded in the basics.
Climate change basic 1: The consensus of science is all humans on the planet have 10 more years to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by 45 percent if we hope to avoid cataclysmic disruptions to human civilization like sea level rise, abandonment of low-lying cities around the globe, acidification of the oceans, increasing famine and movement of populations in search of food, etc. We humans emitted more carbon into the atmosphere in 2019 than ever before. So we have not yet even begun to address that goal.
Climate change basic 2: Accomplishing C.C.B. 1 will require a broad mixture of reduction of energy usage through changes in human behavior that conserve power, and source conversion to solar power, wind power, battery storage, grid upgrades, hydrogen power, etc. We’ll call that offense.
Climate change basic 3: Since it took over 100 years to build the fossil-fuel infrastructure on which we now rely, the task of scrapping that and building non-carbon energy sources adequate to replace 45 percent of that infrastructure in 10 years is clearly impossible, especially in a country where the president and the Senate refuse to even acknowledge the problem, and Nimbly forces organize everywhere to delay/stop local efforts to move the ball. That means that while we are trying to accomplish C.C.B. 2, we will be dealing with increasing catastrophes like the fires in Australia, California, the Arctic, and the Amazon, increasing intensity of hurricanes that destroy infrastructure, waves of climate refugees, agricultural disasters like the droughts and floods in the western United States, and the tornadoes that just tore through Nashville. We’ll call that defense.
Climate change basic 4: With limited resources, it’s fundamental that as we are forced to spend increasing funds on defense, there will be less money to spend on offense. For example, the money now being spent to raise bulkheads around East Hampton, cut down trees infested with insects moving north, replace devastated beaches that are the lifeblood of our tourist industry, build aquaculture facilities to help our fisheries survive a dying ocean, etc., is more money than the incremental cost of power that the wind farm would add to our electric bills. (About $1.50/month, which I would view as a trivial down payment on development of the domestic skilled work force and infrastructure that we need to implement this option on the heavily populated and energy-hungry Eastern Seaboard of the United States.)
To return to the football analogy, the petty objections to the wind farm are like a football team squandering the pre-season quibbling about the color of the jerseys instead of learning to block and tackle. Historians and maybe anthropologists will debate whether we were so greedy and self-centered that we did not care about the devastation we were visiting on our children or too stupid to understand what we were doing.
In a recently leaked document from the foremost bastion of the status quo, J.P. Morgan, we read, “We cannot rule out catastrophic outcomes where human life as we know it is threatened. Something will have to change at some point if the human race is to survive.”
The environment already has us on our heels on defense. If we hope to have any resources left for building an offense, the greedy and the stupid will have to shut up, do something useful, or get the hell out of the way.
New York City
March 8, 2020
To the Editor:
Here on Long Island our major renewable energy resource is offshore wind, but we can’t discount the value of solar farms in our area. Solar power is already up and running in Brookhaven and Riverhead, but more are needed.
Right now, state bureaucracy is such that land-based wind and solar farm projects languish in limbo for years, leaving potential jobs and local investment on the table. (Offshore wind works on its own timetable.) Yet we urgently need renewable energy facilities built to scale to meet the state’s goals of a carbon-neutral electric grid by 2040.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wants to minimize hurdles and speed the process of opening these facilities. The idea is not to dismiss local zoning and local representation, but to ease the cumbersome Article X siting process without locking out communities or compromising environmental standards.
Local officials should not be averse to a speeded-up siting procedure. Their voices will be heard.
I call upon Assemblyman Thiele to support the governor in his efforts to speed the advent of clean energy in New York.
Opened Our Eyes
March 3, 2020
To the Editor,
It really hurt, after consecutively reading The Star since 1969 (or was it ’68), I actually came into the Star office and told a woman seated in the open office that it was not a happy moment for me. Old ties do not unravel easily nor should they. Except when they do.
What happened that opened our eyes — residents from away, though we’re out east most weekends and all through the summer, tend to get a handle on what’s happening locally from their local newspaper — was at a citizens’ meeting, discussing the windmill project.
At a certain point, when suggestions were called for, I (naively, it turns out) recommended writing an article or letters to The Star. People just gaped and looked at me in disbelief. Didn’t we know that The Star has an editorial viewpoint beyond the editorial page? ’Nuf said. Sins of omission, commission, etc., abound.
And so, we now miss nothing in not subscribing to questionably proffered “news.”
Bait and Switch
March 6, 2020
To The Star:
In life, the body achieves what the mind believes. A lie doesn’t become truth. Wrong doesn’t become right, evil doesn’t become good just because it’s excepted by a majority, and, yes, a narrow mind is always accompanied by a big mouth.
As for me, I don’t mind being on the outside looking in because it’s a great way to see things for what they are. Life is about balance. Be kind, but don’t let people abuse you. Trust but do not be deceived. Be content, but never stop improving yourself. There is one difference between dreams and achievements, and that is called hard work.
Today the Democrats are not after the tangible things in your life, they are after your mind, attitude, heart, faith, and your peace. If the words don’t add up it’s usually because the truth was not included in the equation. Democrats choose politics over leadership. Hope and change have become bait and switch. If ignorance is bliss how come there are not more happy Democrats.
Never regret a day in your life. Good days give you happiness. Bad days give you experience. People learn, people change, and people move on. If you do not go after what you want you will never have it. Always remember, if you never ask the question the answer will always be “no.” As Americans, we fall, we break, we fail. But then again we rise, we heal, we overcome. Peace is seeing the sunrise or sunset and knowing who to thank.
Zeal for Untruth
March 3, 2020
To The Star:
Lee Zeldin tells a fanciful tale. He claims to support health-care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and efforts to lower prescription drug prices, but his actual votes say otherwise. Zeldin voted to terminate the Affordable Care Act, and with it, the program that required health-care coverage to be available (without penalty) for people with pre-existing conditions. And in his one opportunity to vote on prescription drug reform, Zeldin voted “no” in December. Zeldin even claims credit for programs he voted against, ignoring the final roll call in the official House records.
Several times during his tenure, Lee Zeldin voted to repeal the A.C.A., most recently in May 2017. Even today he supports Supreme Court overturning of the A.C.A. without replacement. This would nullify the federal requirement to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Zeldin and Trump offer proposed “replacements” that would cover people with pre-existing conditions, but without any consumer protection. Expect individuals with pre-existing conditions to be penalized in pricing and availability of coverage.
In December 2019, Lee Zeldin voted against HR-3, the House bill to make prescription drugs more affordable. It’s amazing that in light of this vote, Zeldin claims to support price reform. The only effective way to control the cost of prescription drugs is by permitting Medicare to negotiate drug prices directly with the manufacturers. Locking the largest consumer out of any price negotiation has led to inflated pharmaceutical industry profits.
Zeldin’s refusal to allow Medicare to exercise its pricing power should surprise no one, because much of his campaign contributions come from drug makers and their affiliates. The proof is in Zeldin’s campaign finance reports filed quarterly with the federal election commission. Given Zeldin’s benefactors, it’s no wonder he would never support true prescription price reforms.
Zeldin’s zeal for untruth is also manifest when he takes credit for funding medical research at Stony Brook. Zeldin’s recent February newsletter claims he secured $3 million of new N.I.H. grants to Stony Brook for medical research. What Zeldin does not tell you is that when the actual budget came to a vote on July 25, 2019, he voted against it. Zeldin did not vote for increased N.I.H. appropriations or increased funding for Stony Brook. The House roll call votes do not lie.
Zeldin’s biggest deception of all is that he is has listened to his constituents, especially on their health-care needs. Zeldin’s last public town hall was in April 2017, before his vote to repeal the A.C.A. He ignored constituent pleas to preserve the A.C.A. and voted for termination. Zeldin has not held an open town hall since. True town halls must be open to all constituents who want to attend without prescreening of questions or questioners (to exclude critics). I know this from firsthand experience.
I have held five open town halls since last September, and I will hold at least five more before the end of June. I take questions from Democrats, Republicans, whoever attends and wants to ask a question. As a rule, I take each and every question asked of me and I give truthful, fact-based answers. There is no pre-screening and no spin. Why not join us this Sunday at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett at 4 p.m. and see for yourself?
Long Island deserves a representative who will listen when residents speak out about health care. Health care is a basic right and not a privilege. I would like to see the A.C.A. improved by creating a public option to compete with private insurance, and thereby bring down insurance costs. True price reforms only come from permitting Medicare to negotiate drug prices directly. This November, we have a chance to give New York Congressional District One a representative who will fight for us in Washington and tell us the truth here at home.
Candidate for Congress
March 9, 2020
Senator Sanders has dangled before students (and the rest of us) his plan for tuition relief for students at public colleges and other schools.
According to Mr. Sanders, he has offered a plan that will cost $2.2 trillion to make public colleges, universities, and trade schools tuition-free and to cancel all student debt over the next decade. He claims that his plan would be fully paid for by a “modest” tax on Wall Street speculation that would raise an estimated $2.4 trillion over 10 years.
Let’s put the rubber to the road. According to public sources, there are more than 14.56 million students just in public colleges and universities alone. Let’s assume the average tuition is a modest $10,000/year (out-of-state tuition at four-year state universities runs $40,000 or so). Using the most simplistic math, that translates into $1.5 trillion over 10 years (14.56 million x $10,000 x 10). Forgiving the existing student debt will cost an additional $1.6 trillion, according to public estimates of the scope of that outstanding debt. For those students who have multiyear loans covering their full college term, the lender will have to be bought out somehow at an unknown cost.
Now to the non-college schools Mr. Sanders’s plan would cover: The latest public data I found (from 2016) indicates that there are approximately 16 million trade school attendees and 1 million attendees of for-profit colleges. Let’s say that the annual tuition cost for this cohort is also $10,000 a year (note that the cost to attend the Culinary Institute of America is in excess of $30K a year). This modest assumption adds another $1.6 trillion to the Sanders price tag. This puts the total price tag on his tuition plan at well over $4.7 trillion, and that’s if my modest tuition estimates approximate reality and everything else works out perfectly.
So, Senator Sanders’s “Wall Street speculation tax” won’t cover everything Sanders has promised U.S. students. Paying the deficit will be up to us taxpayers, something he has yet to disclose. And there is no consideration whatsoever as to the effect on the capital markets any such “tax” would have. But I guess the “socialist” part of the Sanders presidency has little regard for capital markets.
Nor does it take into account the impact of a government-run education system on student curriculums, etc. Remember, after Scott Walker assumed the governorship in Wisconsin, he cut $400 million from the state universities’ budget and imposed curriculum restrictions (as did Texas), eliminating curriculums he disfavored. It also assumes the Sanders plan will compensate the affected schools for the lost tuition at existing levels. If he thinks that those tuition levels are “immorally high,” any reduction in compensation levels will have a deleterious effect on the education those schools will be able to deliver.
Mr. Sanders has run on promises to America’s youth policies that not only can he not pay for, but also without showing how such policies would be enacted during a Sanders presidency (given a Senate that is unlikely to embrace any of his policies), and without addressing the unintended consequences of a government-run public collegiate education system. As with the rest of us, he owes his young followers an explanation of how he will fulfill the promises he has made.
Now I am all for efforts to minimize the costs of college educations and efforts to provide means for students (and parents) to lessen the costs of student loans. (I, for one, find it unconscionable that federal student-loan lenders are sucking massive profits from student lending and insulating themselves from the renegotiation of those loans.) That being said, I find it equally unconscionable for Mr. Sanders to spray “magic dust” over our students in a crass attempt to obtain their votes.
Caveat emptor, kids!
March 9, 2020
During an impromptu press conference at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, President Trump maintained that anyone who wants to get tested for coronavirus can (not true). Said he preferred the cruise ship off the coast of San Francisco stay offshore because “I don’t need the numbers to double because of one ship,” asked about the ratings he got on a Fox News town hall the night before (I’ve been told the ratings were record-breaking), and repeatedly talked about how shocked he was to find out that the flu kills people.
Trump’s incompetence is on display nearly every time he speaks, but watching an entire press conference (or reading a transcript) lays bare the full extent of his rambling incoherence, breathtaking ignorance, and vicious pettiness. November can’t come soon enough.
March 8, 2020
To Star Readers:
Two weeks ago, my brother-in-law, who lives in a small town an hour north of Paris, told me he was concerned about the spread of Corona in Milan, Italy. Last week he told us that there were 100 cases within 20 miles of him and that in the neighboring village where our cousins live there were 40 cases.
Our cousin’s village is now quarantined. Schools, theaters, shops shut down. Getting to work and figuring out how to survive the next few weeks with the kids out of school and offices shut down is complicated. Trying to figure out who is contaminated and who is at risk is really scary. The French government seems to be on top of the situation, at least the population has confidence that they will deal with it.
Last night we learned that the World Health Organization has been distributing test kits all over the world for the last months. We refused to accept the kits and are struggling to get them together. Our leaders seem not to understand the gravity of the problem. It’s a *&%$ epidemic in the making, and Trump is saying that 43,000 people died from the flu last year so it’s not a big deal. Really, 43,000 flu deaths in the 21st century is insane.
Health scares are about process and confidence. If the Centers for Disease Control and our infectious disease pros were functioning as they always did they would have immediately jumped into action, worked with the professionals in other countries, and tried to anticipate what could happen here. But, we are now MAGA stupid, and don’t need anyone else like the W.H.O. to deal with a worldwide epidemic. Even though China makes most of our drugs.
Confidence usually doesn’t emanate from ignorant con men. Every word the president says erodes our confidence in the process. When people aren’t tested, properly quarantined, let in through customs without questioning where they have been, it’s a problem. Will test kits be withheld from sanctuary cities? Will we finally produce a test kit that isn’t flawed?
France is moving from phase two to phase three. What phase are we in? Do we have any phases? Do we know what a phase is?
March 8, 2020
I don’t know what’s the next bit of medical misinformation that our coronavirus “Genius-in-Chief” Trump might spread, but I wouldn’t be shocked (though I would be appalled) if he paraphrased one of his old brags and claimed, “I could infect someone with the coronavirus on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters.”
March 9, 2020
The February numbers for reported crime in New York City are out, and the radical Democratic Party pro-criminal, anti-victim agenda is an absolute disaster. This past Thursday, the New York Police Department clearly blamed the radical Democrats’ state’s bail reform has caused a spike in crime. To be specific, the New York Police Department identified 482 criminals arrested since Jan. 1, 2020, that were released under the disastrous no-bail laws were responsible for committing another 846 crimes after their release, including 299 major felonies, including one murder.
In the first two months of 2020, New York City’s major crimes have increased by 2,695 from 13,648 to 16,343, which equates to almost a 20-percent spike in crime.
Additional fallout from the reckless Criminal Justice Reform Act has New York City prosecutors declining to prosecute 803 crimes in January and February, including 11 percent of all non-bail-eligible felony arrests compared to 6.7 percent for the same period last year.
Extremists and radicals have taken over the Democratic Party nationally and here in New York State. They are pushing anti- American, anti-victim, and anti-middle-class ideologies both on the national level and here at home in New York State. Democratic candidates are either too scared to challenge the radicals from within or openly support these disastrous policies. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden remains mum while Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders tweets support. Democratic congressional candidates Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming, Perry Gershon, and Nancy Goroff all support the New York State bail reform, which empowers dangerous felons, has trampled the rights of victims, and made our community less safe.
The local East Hampton Town Democratic Committee remains silent, unable to stand up for the victims of these heinous crimes or oppose their national, New York State, and New York City leaders.
I regularly have the opportunity to work on a bipartisan level with many good decent Democrats that find these extreme political ideologies as disgusting as everyone else. The Democratic Party has abandoned them, and you! The Democratic Party no longer is the party of empowerment and equality, but rather the party of division, radical ideology, and extremism.
If you believe in supporting law-abiding citizens, the victims of crime, and addressing the real issues that plague our community, then let’s work together.
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 New York City political doctrine. Let us work together for a better East Hampton for all.
East Hampton Town Republican Committee