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Letters to the Editor for March 19, 2020

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 12:47

A Civic Space
East Hampton
March 16, 2020

Dear David,

Guild Hall was founded as a civic space in 1931 and its mission has always been to connect community. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, that mission remains the same.

Though we have closed our facility, we have shifted that connection to virtual only. We are using our social media accounts to share new and banked video content from Guild Hall (performances, talks, gallery tours, and concerts) as well as news from other organizations such as the Met Opera’s offering of free nightly opera streams.

Joe Brondo, who manages all our digital communications, is working with individual staff members remotely to create messages of inspiration. Our first virtual tour of the Annual Artist Members Exhibition took place yesterday on social media with our curatorial assistant, Casey Dalene. We’ve also offered local agencies the option to use our communication platforms to share official information as it develops.

Guild Hall employs 56 full and part-time staff. In addition, we use the services of over 50 local vendors year-round, from hotels and supermarkets to freelance writers and photographers to contractors and landscapers.

For now, the museum and theater are closed, our earned revenue is interrupted, and we are canceling programs and refunding ticket buyers. We are very lucky to have an incredible community of patrons, and some are donating back their ticket fees and renewing their memberships. Our development team is researching emergency funding and receiving contributions from patrons who have loyally supported us for years. Like so many local businesses and nonprofits, we have a lot of people relying on us for their livelihoods, and for many lifelong members, we are their trusted source of cultural enrichment and social engagement.

Fundamental to Guild Hall’s founding remains the belief that the arts nourish the roots of our society, connect us, and provide an antidote to troubled times. Guild Hall is no stranger to challenges, and with the love of our community, we’ve served three generations.

We opened our doors during the Great Depression in 1931 and have operated continuously through economic ups and downs, the hurricane of 1938, World War II, and times of profound loss. However, a pandemic is not something we’ve experienced in these 89 years. Our leadership team will do all we can to continue to serve residents and contribute to the vitality of our region. Thank you to the Rattrays and The East Hampton Star for being with us from the beginning.

Sincerely,

MARTY COHEN
Chairman

ANDREA GROVER
Executive Director

JEANNINE DYNER
Deputy Director

 

Safe Space
Sagaponack
March 16, 2020

Dear Editor,

The most gorgeous day with a gray and amber-white sky, hominid taking 501 steps, one leg in front of the other, sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the great dunes of Sagaponack.

Ammophila breviligula rolls up and rolls down, rioting along the ridges with remnants of Christmas trees poking out of the sand. Birds and bugs and bunnies and deer and seals, at home near and in this safe space.

The mighty great dunes of Sagaponack: the last area where the dunes are closer to that amber gray sky than the houses. Thank you, farmer.

JEREMY GROSVENOR

 

Impacted Greatly
Springs
March 16, 2020

Dear David,

East Hampton town residents and visitors have been generous over the many years since the East Hampton Food Pantry has been in existence. Our client’s operation reports show a significant increase beginning in January 2020, of a 13 percent rise and not leveling off. Now to add to our dilemma, the current crisis of this coronavirus has impacted us greatly and our supplies are at its lowest ever.

The severity certainly will impact our efforts to feed the hungry, especially the senior citizens and children. All our volunteers work extremely hard to necessitate the needs of those who are in need of food and for them to say, “Sorry, nothing left” is frightening. We have been barely able to supply the demand so that everyone gets substance. We need your readers’ help desperately to support our conviction for the town of East Hampton residents in need.

Please go to Easthamptonfoodpantry.org and please do what you can. You can call 631-324-2300 and donate canned and glass goods, dry foods, sanitizers, paper products, and water. If you can’t make a drop off, leave a message, and I will come to you. Thanking you all for the love you give.

Most sincerely,

RUSS CALEMMO

 

Good Advice
East Hampton
March 16, 2020

To the Editor,

School closings, sports-event cancellations, food hoarding. We live in a new coronavirus-induced world. Yet some personal health facts remain unchanged.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers good advice for preventing community spread and personal infection: apply social distancing, sanitize surfaces, wash your hands, don’t touch your face. But there’s more.

Does anyone wonder why uncounted numbers of infected people develop no symptoms and only 20 percent of symptomatic people require hospitalization? It’s because they have an effective immune system able to fight off the virus. But the C.D.C. does not talk about that, perhaps for fear of offending powerful animal food industries.

Fortunately, good advice on boosting our immune system is readily available on the internet from trusted sources like WebMD and Healthline. And the advice is always the same: Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits and leafy greens. Refrain from dairy, other fatty animal products, and sugar-laden foods. Maintain daily exercise of 30 to 60 minutes. Minimize your stress level and get adequate sleep.

Did I mention that this advice works great for all other nasty bugs as well?

Sincerely,

EDWIN HORATH

 

Stay In
Wainscott
March 15, 2020

Dear David:

It is not even Memorial Day, and we already have been invaded by the Range Rover, Beemer, Benz, kamikaze pilots!

All of a sudden the stores look as if they were looted during a riot. Not even one shopping cart outside King Kullen on Thursday, and a man with two carts loaded with six huge packs of toilet paper, his wife with two carts of groceries, loading their giant S.U.V. bearing Jersey plates. Stop & Shop, whose poultry case didn’t even contain a feather. Shelves depleted of all sorts of staples.

Do we need rules signs posted stating that “Stop” signs mean, “Stop?” No crossing double yellow lines to pass on the left. No passing on the right in bike lanes. No passing left of the lines on curves. No tailgating, because in 30 miles you can drive off the edge of the Earth like Christopher Columbus.

Those numbers on speed signs are big enough to see. Don’t allow middle-finger salutes, except if the driver has Dupuytrens syndrome. Do we need big signs that local residents do not have to stay home after Wednesday so the “citidiots” can get their marketing done as if they want martial law imposed for their convenience?

Their 212, 203, 201 area codes should include a “things I learned in kindergarten” handbook to remind them that manners show class not money. Do you have to speak so loudly in restaurants so we do not have to hear your conversations as if you were in Yankee Stadium? I was always under the impression that the most commonly used four letter words don’t start with “f.” You are not that important to anyone but yourselves, so try to control your being obnoxious, or stay in your room.

Yours truly.

ARTHUR J. FRENCH

 

Restriction
Amagansett
March 12, 2020

Dear David,

I write this on Friday, the day after President Trump’s Oval Office talk to the nation. I am still wondering what his talk accomplished. He announced a restriction on flights from a large chunk of Europe - but not Britain. As much as I love England (and lived there for almost 25 years), they sadly are also afflicted with the Coronavirus. Also, British Airways, together with American Airways, has over 25 daily flights to the U.S. from London. These are in addition to those of Virgin, United, and Delta. Many passengers from the continent fly to London and catch flights to the U.S. So what was the point of his restriction?

GERALD PANE

 

An Inspiration
East Hampton
March 16, 2020

To the Editor:

When asked at a press conference last Friday if he takes responsibility for the lack of coronavirus test kits, the president said, “No, I don’t take any responsibility for it at all.”

Enough. Since January it was clear this emerging virus was going to be a problem. Trump could have used the past three months to involve every federal agency in preparing for and dealing with the impending crisis. Instead, we got finger pointing and tweets ranging from “we have it totally under control” (Jan. 22) to “the coronavirus is very much under control.” (Feb. 24) Not.

The president’s disdain for experts has led him to ignore them at every turn. He has repeatedly insisted that a coronavirus vaccine is weeks or months away, only to be corrected by his own officials that it will take at least a year for one to be developed.

When asked at the same conference why the White House pandemic response team was disbanded and never replaced in 2018, Trump snapped, “That’s just a nasty question. I don’t know anything about it.” Nope. Not taking responsibility for that, either.

When it was Pence’s turn at the mike, he declared, “This day should be an inspiration to every American.” Yes. An inspiration to every American to vote in November and elect a president who is intelligent, thoughtful, empathetic, and able to shoulder the responsibility of leading the country during a national emergency.

Sincerely,

CAROL DEISTLER

 

On Lunch Break
East Hampton
March 16, 2020

To the Star:

“Great job, Brownie,” was W’s comment after observing the New Orleans disaster. Trump’s quote on corona is that “I had no responsibility for the virus.”

The coronavirus has reset the U.S. dialogue from nightmarish fantasy to nightmarish reality. It has obliterated the alternative reality that our government has instituted and unmasked its facade of competency and consciousness. The virus is real. The economic fallout is real. There is no way around the reality of our world on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

Little in the past three years has directly impacted our daily existence in a real palpable way. Impeachment, Muller, immigration, pathological preening, have bitten but not stung. None of the challenges our government faced truly tested its capacity to protect the country. Until corona.

What has become apparent to some of the country is that our leadership is out to lunch and has been on lunch break for months. From the time that the virus first took hold in October we have done virtually nothing to prepare for the possibility that it might come here. We are still without the necessary testing mechanisms to determine the extent of the virus and to bring it under control. We had no awareness of the economic implications (despite the Wu Han supply- side experience) if the virus did take hold and made no preparations for that possibility.

The president seems to be paralyzed by the situation, confused by what to do and is taking no responsibility for the problem. In his first real test he has been an abject failure.

In France, their health-care system and economic crisis programs were well prepared, but they are still reeling from the virus. Schools are shutting. Cafes and restaurants were closed on Saturday. No one knows how long it will take to get the situations under control, but they trust their government. They are also working on a vaccine?

After Friday’s speech, anyone who trusts our government is insane. In the face of economic chaos our government is still trying to throw between 750,000 and 1.5-million people off food stamps. (Stopped by a judge who called it inhumane). Mitch McConnell somehow thought that senators needed a weekend off rather than get to work on the new corona support legislation. A percentage of Republicans thinks Trump is doing a great job.

Government exists, first and foremost, to protect the population and it has failed. Given the severity of the virus and the attenuating economic disaster the only reasonable action by our government is to resign.

NEIL HAUSIG

 

Social Distancing
Springs
March 14, 2020

To the Star:

Ever since we had our fourth child, my wife has practiced social distancing, staying at least six feet away from me, including in the new California king-size bed she just ordered.

Thanks,

FRANK VESPE

 

Two Quotes
East Hampton
March 14, 2020

Editor:

Because I am a bow hunter, I read with interest the recent letters to the editor about this subject. It seems in this case additional town “fiefdom” (I had to look that word up by the way) will benefit hunters and non-hunters alike. How, you may ask. Well, for hunters, it gives us additional public land to participate in the sport we love, while at the same time for every deer harvested it decreases the chances of somebody having a car accident that involves striking a deer. Any resident of East Hampton knows that in itself is a danger in our town.

I’m not sure where the statistics came from that indicate 50 percent of deer struck by an arrow cripple a deer, but even without a deer being struck by an arrow they are dying of disease. Additionally a deer struck by a vehicle does not always die right away, it suffers until it succumbs to its injuries or a police officer is called to put it out of its misery.

In closing I’ll offer two quotes:

“The people who protest against hunting and consider sportsmen as enemies of wild life are ignorant of the fact that in reality the genuine sportsman is the most important factor in keeping large and more valuable wild creatures from total extermination.” Theodore Roosevelt.

“When a hunter is in a tree stand with moral values and with the proper hunting ethics are richer for the experience, and that hunter is 20 feet closer to God.” Fred Bear. Yes, for non-hunters, that is his real name.

Thank you,

NICK PUPO

 

AT&T
Springs
March 13, 2020

Dear Editor:

My Star arrives a week late here in Virginia, but I am referencing an article in the March 5 issue about the possible bell tower add-on to the St. Peter’s Chapel. Mr. Fitzgerald, the lawyer for AT&T, stated that “the other two sites are too far away to remedy the coverage gap.”

 We live near the Girl Scout camp and I would love to see a tower go up there. We have no cell service at our house on Folkstone Road, and I doubt that the bell tower, being much shorter than the usual cell tower, will help us. So please inform Mr. Fitzgerald that we need coverage too.

 If a tower in the camp won’t serve the eastern part of Springs I seriously doubt that the bell tower will serve those of us in the western part of Springs. It is outrageous that we have had to suffer without cell service for years, despite still having to pay for the “service.” I have to go to town to get a signal. Maybe they should erect more than one tower so that all of Springs can be served.

SUSAN JEWETT

 

Rushed Process
Springs
March 16, 2020

Dear David,

In response to your article “Target Hatchery Move” last week, I’d like to say a few things about the lawsuit, the Three Mile Harbor Protection and Access Committee (3PAC), and the project.

David Lys is delusional to think the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act review of this project was proper. All you have to do is read the transcript of the meeting on July 9, 2019, to see how poorly the town board behaved. In the words of Jim Cramer: “They know nothing!”

You quoted: “Mr. Lys said last month that planning will continue based on input received.” Planning will continue with input? Input from whom? The most directly affected residents of East Hampton, those of us who live on Gann Road and Babes Lane have yet to have one public opportunity to express our concerns! The one meeting scheduled with town officials was cancelled by the town. It has never been rescheduled.

Additionally, the town has already committed to building this unnecessary and money-wasting project. Frankly, Mr. Lys talks out of both sides of his mouth: He told you “we are continuing to take neighbors’ remarks, as far as any adaptation, to plans he called conceptual.” And yet, Mr. Lys says the NYSEQRA declaration was valid. You can’t finish NYSEQRA and fund a project’s construction when plans are incomplete! That’s why Councilman Bragman abstained from the vote — because he’s a lawyer and he knew it was wrong!

Councilman Lys wrote Resolution 2019-911 so it was an action requiring full NYSEQRA review, and he and the rest of this town board should have listened to Mr. Bragman when he recommended he change it to be a “memorializing resolution” and just say “we like the project, and we’re going to continue to do design work,” which would have been a Type II action.

Type II actions don’t require NYSEQRA, because people can design things all they want, and nothing is going to be constructed without the usual scrutiny by our various boards, as well as the state Department of Environmental Conservation. But the resolution Mr. Lys wrote was a full-blown commitment to spend the money on the project, which is certainly not a Type II action. A municipality can’t commit to spend the people’s money without a full NYSEQRA review of the complete plans.

Nicole Ficeto, the town’s web master, who was handling the town’s grant application, thought the application would read better if it showed “real” commitment to the project by the town, so Bragman’s solution wasn’t good enough for her. The submission deadline was fast approaching, so Mr. Lys rushed the process, didn’t take any of Mr. Bragman’s concerns into account when he read the resolution, and thus made it a commitment to fund the whole construction.

 That rushed, ill-considered commitment required a full New York State Environmental Quality Review. To circumvent the required scrutiny, the supervisor declared the town board the lead agency and issued a negative declaration on a phony environmental assessment. Continuing with keeping the affected public in the dark, the E.A.F. was released the day of the resolution.

It is shameful how frivolously the town board approaches a state-mandated review of its own project, when members of the board have the experience of being on the planning board! This is shameful. The town board, to satisfy its own ego, by wasting our tax dollars and pleasing the favored few who pay for the privilege of impeding water access to grow their own oysters is either being deceitful or grossly incompetent. Blatantly breaking the law to get a grant application in, which was ultimately rejected, is certainly wrong, but continuing to lie about it is absurd.

Lys said they are “taking input from the Department of State and Long Island Regional Economic Council for another grant application.” The first application failed; the second one will, too, because the project is wasteful, ineffective, unneeded, and bad for the neighborhood. Lys’s statement about taking input from neighbors is a patronizing farce. That said, real community input is supposed to come before the commitment, as part of doing an authentic and honest stare environmental review. Sending invitations for comment to the recreational oyster growers who have usurped preserve access and impede other users of the town dock and Babes Lane Preserve, and leaving out the neighborhood in the process is just plain wrong. Over 100 of us have signed a petition to the effect.

I first met David Lys a while ago when we were talking about him maybe doing a paddle-boarding business out of a marina, and have indeed spoken to him about this project just before I pulled the trigger on the lawsuit. He knew where I and my neighbors stood on this, largely from objections from residents in the local papers.

It is evident the town board is blatantly determined to push this project through, in what I believe is a sneaky, unscrupulous manner. We deserve better from our elected leaders.

Here’s what an honest town board should do: rescind the commitment and “neg dec,” and submit a complete site plan application to the planning board like Fred Thiele says every municipality should (and every other individual must), and have a public hearing on a complete application. Answer the real questions about the need, effects, cost/benefit, etc.

3PAC was formed to ensure the Town of East Hampton preserves Three Mile Harbor’s water quality, benthic environment, shoreline, and equal access to recreational and commercial uses by all residents and taxpayers. This project will do nothing for water quality. Sob stories about dying scallops in transit from the much larger and established hatchery in Montauk don’t carry much weight when 90 percent of the scallops die due to parasites and high water temperatures. I would be much more supportive of spending $2.65 million on additional floating cages, or “FLUPSYs,” for additional grow-out of heartier adult oysters and clams, or even better, support a commercial aquaculture enterprise to do it by leasing bottom land or pushing through a site plan application from a commercial aquaculture business in a WF zoned property. WF zoned property is the right place for a commercial-scale hatchery.

Residential property, bought with the community preservation fund, should be preserved, not further developed with commercial-scale buildings.

Recently, I’ve spoken about water quality at the trustees, before Dr. Gobler gave his analysis for the trustee sampling program. I commend the trustees for this program. There were questions about algal blooms and populations of secondary production (shellfish). We need the right balance, at steady rates, of inorganic nitrogen for beneficial algae to thrive, and we need secondary consumers to keep the “good” algae populations in check.

 If the “good” algae eat all the food input after a big rain then starve, they release their organic nitrogen, which is then food for the harmful algae. Shellfish populations exposed to harmful algae die. Grant money, $2.65 million, honestly obtained, could be better used to study and resolve real and dangerous phenomena, instead of putting up a fancy facility at the expense of local homeowners’ quality of life.

Sincerely,

MARK MENDELMAN

 

Contracted or Not
Albany
March 13, 2020

To the Star:

In response to a letter to the editor regarding the article “Wind Farm Plan Is Paused,” we wanted to clear up some confusion. The South Fork Wind Farm is a project that was the result of a 2015 request for proposals administered by the Long Island Power Authority for a suite of technical solutions to meet the growing energy demand on Long Island’s South Fork, which includes greater use of clean, affordable energy. With their partner, PSEG-LI, the local utility of Long Island, the project was solicited and contracted directly with LIPA.

The South Fork wind project will go through the same permitting and approval process before construction can commence and long before payments are issued to the developer, much like the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority supported Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind project. Importantly, all of New York’s offshore wind projects, whether contracted by NYSERDA or not, will contribute to Governor Cuomo’s goal of 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035 to combat climate change.

To learn more about NYSERDA’s efforts to support the cost-effective and responsible development of offshore wind for New York, please visit offshorewind.ny.gov.

Sincerely,

KATE MULLER

Vice president

Corporate Communications and Marketing

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

 

Like an Uncle
Springs
March 16, 2020

Dear David,

I have had an unusual life, which I have publicly kept quiet until now. As one example, my father, Wolfie Cohen, was genuinely liked by the Jewish mafia leader Meyer Lanksy. Wolfie provided professional-level advice and design for the restaurants at many hotels that Meyer owned. But my father refused to ever charge Meyer. Not a penny. They almost never had conversations because both men rarely spoke more than a few words a day.

Around 1949-50, Wolfie helped Meyer build the restaurants at the Sands, Sahara, and Flamingo Hotels at the beginning of modern Las Vegas. I was occasionally there as a just-born baby, and before that I was inside my pregnant mother’s body.

I do not remember those times, but Wolfie had free access to these three Las Vegas hotels for the rest of his life. He often went to Las Vegas, mainly as a card gambler, until he (with his superb memory skills and our joint mathematical skills) learned how to beat a casino’s blackjack. From then on, the blackjack operators were less happy to see Wolfie but he was now finding casino gambling boring.

Wolfie helped Meyer build the restaurant at the Havana Riviera in Cuba. My father and mother took me to an outdoor nightclub with a stage made of flattened palm trees. All the performing women were topless in front of me, a 6-year old! Havana was stunningly beautiful. However, about 1957 we heard the rifles shot by and against Castro that were now close to Havana. We stopped going.

When I was in Miami Beach high school, I became a frequent weekend visitor to Meyer’s resort on Grand Bahama Island. I was invited by Dusty Peters, who transported the money for Meyer Lansky and his partners. Dusty was often followed by the F.B.I., but the F.B.I. was never able to arrest Dusty.

Dusty often had a large black Cadillac with a hired driver pick me up at home on Friday nights or Saturday mornings and take me to a private airplane that flew me, often alone, to Grand Bahama Island. The Cadillac had first stopped at the public golf course where I kept my clubs and those were now sitting in the Cadillac’s trunk and then put on the plane. They were returned from Grand Bahama Island with me in the same way — I was taken home and the clubs were returned to the golf course. I wonder if cash or other items were hidden in my golf bag, as no one would check or follow me.

On Grand Bahama Island, I always had dinner with Dusty, and often his wife was there. We sometimes met for other meals there and in Miami Beach. I treated Dusty like an uncle, and he treated me like a son because he and his wife loved children but had none.

As young adults, my wife and I often stayed at the Singapore Hotel in Bal Harbour. Meyer had lived there for many years and owned much of the hotel at one time. Yiddy Bloom, his partner, had managed it. They might both have been there when I began to stay there in the 1970s with the woman who would become my wife. When I called, whoever managed the Singapore seemed to know that I was Wolfe’s son. I always paid for our room but I could choose the room I wanted.

ZACHARY COHEN

 

Vote for Barbara
Nashville, Tenn.
March 13, 2020

To the Editor:

I am writing to share my feelings with the community of East Hampton Village, the community I love so much. First of all, I want to wish everyone careful good health in this dangerous time.

In my three years of being executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, I have come to love the community and East Hampton Village.

So I am writing to you to share my feelings and some very important issues I have read about. During my tenure as executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, I created the Spring Street Fair, the summer fair in the park, the fall festival, greatly enhanced several events during the season. This was done with the wonderful support of the board of directors but most importantly this was done with the support and encouragement of the mayor and the board of trustees.

The Village of East Hampton is not a town of “no.” None of these events could’ve happened without the full support and encouragement of the board of trustees, the mayor, the police chief, the Fire Department, and the wonderful people who work at Village Hall. Most of all, none of these events could ever happen without the support of you - the community.

I say all of this because I want you to carefully think about your choice for the next mayor. Barbara Borsack has been a driving force and created every one of those events. I have worked closely with her, Becky Molinaro, the trustees, and most importantly the mayor, Paul Rickenbach.

The ideas of redoing the parking lots, changing to a mobile payment system, and eliminating the ticket kiosks, rebuilding our beautiful Herrick Park, finding the funding for and making a sewer system a reality in downtown so we can have more housing, and gently exploring realistic expansion of uses for inns in the village are all ideas that initiated in conversations involving the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce board of directors, Rebecca Molinaro, the trustees, and, of course, our mayor, beginning two years ago.

East Hampton Village is indeed a very special and unique village. Please remember and keep that close to your heart because to modernize it and change the tenor of downtown in my opinion would be a huge mistake. It is a historic treasure and should be kept as one. We do not need more restaurants and more stores; we do need some housing upstairs and preservation, preservation, preservation.

That is why I urge you to vote for Barbara Borsack for mayor. She echoes my feelings completely and understands the treasure that East Hampton Village is. She has proven over a lifetime of living in the village how committed she is to preservation and community.

I miss the community and everybody very much and hope to visit one day soon. Until then please stay safe, and my prayers are with everyone to stay healthy.

STEVEN RINGEL

 

Misinformation
East Hampton
March 13, 2020

Dear David,

I am writing in response to Rick Lawler’s and Barbara Borsack’s attacks in their letters to the editor in last week’s Star. I will save the campaign issues for the debates.

In response to the personal attacks, many of my friends and supporters suggested I not respond and chalk it up to their desperation and a fear of losing their positions on the board. However, I cannot let this misinformation/lies go unchallenged.

Since this campaign started I have been talking about the issues and what my plans are for the future of our village. I have been meeting with homeowners, business owners, and employees of the village. I have incorporated this information into my platform. I am not scared to try new ideas and of course all new laws have to go to a public hearing and be vetted by the residents.

I would like to start by addressing Rick Lawler’s letter, which, by the way, has the very same tone and similar wording as the anonymous harassing letters that have been sent to me and my supporters. Rick Lawler tries to explain in his letter that many ideas have not been accomplished in the village because the board could not come to a consensus. What he is really saying is that if Paul Rickenbach told him and the board “no,” then the rest of the board complied. Is that why he was elected? ?

Everything Rick Lawler has been or is in charge of is a mess. Let’s use the Main Beach “bikini scandal,” yes, that was his doing! He caused well-respected community members who were the beach managers to walk off the job after he took no responsibility for causing this scandal. How about the job he is doing as mayor? On the job for 54 days and already the board is split in half.

One more important clarification, my contract was a yearly contract and had a stipulation that clearly stated if the village and I cannot negotiate a contract for the next year, the current contract stays in effect. You cannot simply fire/terminate someone. Does he really think that if the board cannot come to terms with a police contract that all the police are terminated? This is why Civil Service was created. It is to keep unethical politicians from becoming dictators. Let’s be very clear: I was not fired or terminated. I retired on my own terms. If I wanted to stay I would still be there.

Barbara Borsack, who is running against me for mayor, also writes misleading information. I think the easiest way to defend myself from her attacks is to give the readers the correct facts. I think a timeline is the best way to do this.

In 2003, I was promoted to chief of police. I immediately resolved issues between the village and the police union. I created a sense of family within the Police Department, sponsoring community activities such as charity softball games between the Police and Fire Departments. Morale in the Police Department was always high and productivity was never an issue. Under my tenure the Police Department obtained its first ever New York State Accreditation.

In 2006, when I was delivering a speech at a police officer of the year dinner I made a comment that offended people. I apologized and took responsibility for my mistake. In 2016, the same organization that I had apologized to endorsed me for Southampton town police chief. In 2005, I opened a private security business with the approval of Mayor Paul Rickenbach.

In 2009, Paul Rickenbach and Rick Lawler ordered me to no longer operate my business at all. However, they could continue to operate their businesses, which were very similar. It seemed unfair to me since they were clearly my superiors.

If Barbara Borsack is being truthful in all of her other allegations, then why did Paul Rickenbach in 2008, at my request, assist in the ceremony appointing me president of the Police Association of Suffolk County? Did Barbara Borsack and Rick Lawler vote in 2011 to additionally put me in charge of the townwide 911 center? Did Barbara Borsack and Rick Lawler vote in 2014 to additionally put me in charge of the creation of the paid paramedic program? Her allegations do not add up do they? That’s because she is being untruthful.

It was no secret that Paul Rickenbach and I were not seeing eye to eye in 2015 after I applied for the position of Southampton town Police Department chief of police. Paul was furious with me and even had an outburst in the village administrator’s office when I delivered the news.

After I did not get the Southampton -position in 2016, Paul Rickenbach refused to renew my contract with the village. However, that only means that my current contract stays in effect; it does not mean I was terminated or fired as Barbara Borsack and Rick Lawler claim in their letters. If I chose to stay, I would still be there. I was a Civil Service chief of police. You cannot just vote to fire someone. There are protections in place so unethical people who are in office cannot do whatever they want.

Lastly, my decision to retire from the East Hampton Village Police Department after a wonderful career was my choice, and my choice alone. I did negotiate a final contract with the village, which Paul Rickenbach signed.

Sincerely,

JERRY LARSEN

 

Local Business
Amagansett
March 16, 2020

Dear David,

Since the mid-1900s, my family has been creating small businesss in East Hampton Town. These places of business became central meeting places for games of checkers, conversation, and fellowship. Today, with online shopping and Amazon speedy delivery, our small-town business districts are in jeopardy of being shuttered and a thing of the past. Now more than ever we need people who will advocate for our small-town business districts. This is why I am supporting Jerry Larsen.

Our small businesses do not need antiquated rules and restrictions that were designed for a time when they were thriving and expanding as the needs of communities were growing. Jerry understands the tech changes that are reshaping business and communities. In that vein, he understands the need for a healthy, sustainable environment that our local business can thrive in.

As chief of police for East Hampton Village, Jerry knows the business owners and the people who live in the village, and their children by name, and thus has a comprehensive understanding of the complexities and issues that affect the community as a whole. Jerry Larsen brings fresh and new ideas to the table. Jerry Larsen brings solutions.

Thank you,

DAWN BROPHY

 

Free Parking
East Hampton
March 13, 2020

Dear Editor,

Candidate for East Hampton Village mayor Jerry Larson wants to eliminate free parking in the village. He also wants to change parallel parking in East Hampton Village to diagonal parking like in Sag Harbor Village and Southampton Village. 

These are bad ideas.

Charging $3 or $4 per hour after the first two hours is a charge many people and employees would pay to park in the business center rather than use the long-term lot. And let’s remember there are more employees during the summer season than there are parking spaces.

On the other hand, free parking in the village with a limit of two hours per space is designed for and accomplishes turn over in the parking lots for residents and patrons to access businesses in the village commercial center. In the month of August alone, over 100,000 vehicles park in our parking lots. This system prevents a car from tying up space for many hours at a time and was requested by the merchants many years ago. There are not enough parking spaces in the village core to handle all the employees in the village, and opening up spaces for all-day parking would take us back to the days when there was no parking for customers.

Free parking for two hours allows more shoppers in the village per day. This is good for shop owners. The system in place now affords visitors and residents alike the opportunity to make short trips to the hardware store or pharmacy.

The East Hampton Village board has already proposed using new technology to replace the existing parking machines so we can reduce congestion in the parking lots and at the parking lot entrances.

Diagonal parking is unsafe. That’s why we don’t have it in the village. People backing out onto busy Main Street and Newtown Lane would cause major traffic tie-ups and invite collisions.

Candidate Larsen says diagonal parking will be easier for people who don’t drive well to park. Just what we need - people who don’t drive well driving in the village!

The village board is always open to change and has been discussing the proposed new parking system but will not make any changes that are not user friendly or prohibit our residents and visitors access to our business district. Any change will be discussed thoroughly by stakeholders to reach a consensus.

While additional income is always a nice idea, we don’t believe paid short-term parking is the answer. There are many grants available to help offset the cost of a future sewer system, and we are already in the process of exploring ways to limit the cost to our taxpayers.

Sincerely,

BARBARA BORSACK

Elms Party

Candidate for mayor

 

Opines Publicly
East Hampton
March 12, 2020

Dear Editor,

Once again, I have to respond to Jerry Larsen’s lies, half-truths, and misinformation in last week’s paper. I’ll start with his most offensive missive. Imagine that you are a party to a lawsuit, and you have been earnestly trying to come to an acceptable solution to both sides. You think that although an agreement has not yet been reached, there is some indication one may be possible.

Now imagine a third party, with no authority, publicly interjects himself into the process with a promise that he has the answer. He knows nothing about the facts in the case, but he opines publicly for his own political gain. Such is the case with Jerry Larsen, regarding the electric pole controversy on McGuirk Street. He insists he has the answer, even though he is ignorant of all inside knowledge regarding the situation. You, as one of the parties to the suit, should be, and would be, outraged.

This is the typical “shoot from the hip” tactic that has gotten Jerry into so much trouble in the past. In contrast, the current East Hampton Village Board has enlisted the help of all affected parties to sit down together and hopefully work it out. I have faith that since all parties are fair-minded and interested in a positive outcome, that the situation can be resolved.

Next, Jerry claims to be in favor of no garbage cans on our beaches. It was never an issue for him until he began his campaign. Since then, he’s been searching desperately for anything that he can use to negatively impact the Elms Party. That is why he and his campaign manager have used the Freedom of Information Act 19 times since he was fired by the village board to try to find some negative information against Barbara and me. Barbara and I have worked with the town trustees on our beaches to remove all garbage cans from our beaches this year. We also instituted late night trash pickups, beginning this beach season. We have not yet expanded recycle garbage cans in the village proper, because recycling, as everyone knows, is difficult since China stopped buying recycled plastic. Suffolk County has recently formed a recycle task force, and we are awaiting recommendations from their research.

Barbara and I did work hard to pass legislation banning plastic straws, plastic bags, and the release of balloons out of doors. All this has a very positive effect on our environment. The village also installed two “hydrating stations,” so people can easily refill their plastic water bottles. We are very much pro-environment, despite what Jerry would have you believe.

Jerry also suggests that the village code should be loosened regarding signage and outside merchandise display. He makes reference to one particular case to support his suggestion. It is important to note that, in his referenced case, summons were only issued after numerous warnings and at least one suggestion that the business owner apply for relief to one of the appropriate boards. Having said that, the village is in the process of vetting the above referenced code through proper channels to see if residents would like the code amended. Village residents can be assured that the Elms Party candidates (Barbara Borsack, Rick Lawler, and Ray Harden) are ready and willing to listen to any legitimate criticism with the intent of making appropriate changes where possible. It will only be accomplished after thorough vetting at public meetings.

RICK LAWLER,

East Hampton Village mayor

 

Overdue Change
Springs
March 16, 2020

Dear Editor,

I am writing in support of Jerry Larsen for mayor of East Hampton Village. After reading the recent letters from Barbara Borsack and Richard Lawler, I felt it necessary to respond.

First, I would like to say that I know Jerry to be a very kind, generous, and trustworthy individual. It is my understanding he was a great leader who was very well respected by his officers during his time as chief of police. If you know Jerry, and read these letters, you know they were written in an attempt to defame his character. Several things in particular bear noting:

Jerry Larsen retired. One cannot be terminated from a Civil Service position; it is lengthy process that can take up to several years.

Historically, the current board has not adequately addressed major issues such as parking and the sewer systems. Parking continues to be a major hindrance to local businesses. People do not want to come to a village where they cannot see a movie and have dinner. It then becomes a disruptive and unpleasurable experience, by having to leave in order to avoid an $80 fine. The current board cannot think only of the residents who can walk to the village, but of everyone who brings revenue.

Also, contrary to popular opinion, our local businesses are paramount to a thriving village and have the best interest of the residential community at heart. One example, which concerns me, is the street fairs. These were approved by the current board, which had a negative impact on local business and were never vetted properly prior to taking place. In cases like this, the board should be held accountable for procedures not being followed.

Whether we are property owners or renters, our taxes are paid both directly and indirectly to the village. By Jerry paying rent, his landlord in turn pays his taxes.

For an individual to make a sacrifice and move for the sake of being a public servant certainly shows dedication and a true love for their village.

In closing, this community would greatly benefit from a long overdue change, by electing the team of Jerry Larsen and Sandra Melendez!

Sincerely,

SUSAN JACKSON


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