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Letters to the Editor for April 23, 2020

Wed, 04/22/2020 - 10:23

The Bluefish Jump

Manhattan

April 20, 2020

To The Star:

Eight decades of life summarized in five words, captured by an early morning memory, the image so clear. Barely awake, alone in a skiff, no others around. Dressed in raggedy shorts, bleached T, threadbare sneaks.

Remnants of a night sky dissolving in morning's light, so deliciously warming. The smell of seawater mixed with the odor of gas as it trickled ever so slightly from the worn gasket of a 30-year-old, 25-horse outboard. Motoring through Three Mile Harbor inlet, adhering to the five-miles-an-hour limit, anticipating open water and the company of a few gulls, a cormorant, or osprey. Hoping for a fish.

Lions Rock, Gardiner's Island, Cherry Point, advancing through the spray running from the bow past the gunwales of the aged wooden boat. And then, there they are, birds a quarter-mile ahead, diving, 30 or 40 of them. I can almost hear their screams. Turning up the gas of the old motor, covering much of the distance in minutes, careful not to get too close. My rod at the ready, monofilament attached to a wire leader, attached to a blue and silver plug.

The water boils with the savagery of the blues attacking the school of menhaden, gulls swooping in wild aerial maneuvers picking at the carnage. The essence of life at its pinnacle intermingled with death at its nadir.

I saw the bluefish jump.

NEIL FOX

 

The Very Best

Gardners, Pa.

April 13, 2020

Dear Editor:

News was received Easter Sunday of the passing of Dan King. For those who didn’t know Dan, he was a commercial fisherman with ancient ties to East Hampton. He was the captain of one of the last haul-seine crews to operate in town. He was forced to leave here and went to North Carolina in hopes he could find a place where fishermen like himself were welcome. Dan died there. For those who knew him, he was extraordinary.

Few could display the love he had for his family or friends, nor the pride he had in his way of life. He was Bonacker through and through and lived it. He was a godly man with a softness of heart but the strength to defend his way of life and the good things he was given, and he did his best to pass it to those who came after him.

I’m not going to count all Dan’s accomplishments and I think he would be too modest to want me to do it anyway, but he would be happy to hear we know he was a fisherman’s fisherman and the very best of men.

May God bless all Dan loved.

BRAD LOEWEN

 

Memories of Ken

East Hampton

April 20, 2020

To the Editor:

I wanted to share some fond memories of Ken Weldon, who passed away this past week, and try to put into words what he meant to me and how he fit into my life.

I will never forget the day we met. I was 10 years old, playing baseball in my front yard in Montauk with my brother Jim, which we did pretty much every afternoon. This little car drove past, backed up and pulled into the corner of our lot by the Tipperary Inn, and Kenny got out, and he has been a big part of my life ever since. He was my coach for Babe Ruth Baseball for three summers and he led us to an undefeated championship season in 1970. We would load our gray flanneled selves into his station wagon and venture off to places like Water Mill, Springs, and Hampton Bays for our away games. During these trips Kenny would talk a lot about baseball and he raised our baseball I.Q.s. He also talked a lot about music, which raised our music I.Q.s. Most of us listened to the pop music on WABC but Kenny introduced us to WPLR and different genres of music. I can still hear him saying, “Hey, hey, it’s a little Bob Dylan.” We were a bunch of 14-year-olds rocking out to “The times, they are a’changing.”

My dad passed away when I was 9, and Kenny took an interest in me and helped fill that void, especially when my older brothers were away at college. He would call the house in the summers and ask if I wanted to see the Montauk Improvement softball team play in the Amagansett Men’s League. He would pick me up and drive me home and always offer advice to me on those trips.

I joined the team along with my brother Jim when I graduated from high school and played alongside Kenny for 35 years. There were many great teams and so many great teammates over the years that I won’t even attempt to name them. We had several sponsors over that span, but the one constant was Kenny and myself. We won a lot of championships, drank a lot of beer, listened to a lot of music, and had a lot of laughs in that parking lot after the games.

In the early days when the team was still Montauk Improvement we would have a big cookout after the season at Kenny’s house, and it was there that I got to see another side of Kenny, the family man, and how much love they had for each other. He would always talk after games about his wife, Loretta, and his two girls, Chrissy and Melissa, and fill us in on what was going on in their lives. As time went on he would talk about his two sons-in-law, Rob and Terry, and eventually about his grandchildren, Bobby and Alex. One of his great thrills later in his life was following Bobby around as he played college and summer league baseball. I am 64 and still playing softball and occasionally someone will say, “You’re going to be another Kenny Weldon.” There will never be another Kenny Weldon.

Len Bernard, our teammate and manager, shared this story with me awhile back. Toward the end of our run in the league we had several young kids on the team, some of which were sons of team members. One day Len overheard them having a conversation outside the dugout. They were discussing who they thought was the best athlete on the team. They each had their pick. Zach Brenneman, who was a great athlete in his own right, said, “I will tell you who the best athlete is.” He pointed at Kenny and said, “It’s that guy. He’s 74 years old and he’s still out here playing and winning games.”

That sums up how amazing Kenny was. He was out there competing against 20-year-olds and holding his own without any fear. He did it all in a very laid-back manner with a smile on his face. It will be tough for me to play on that field for a while and not feel that huge loss. We will all miss number 10, but we are all so much better for having him in our lives.

ROB NICOLETTI

 

Cruel Decision

East Hampton

April 19, 2020

Dear Editor,

Apparently, the East Hampton Village Board of Trustees thinks it is necessary to aggressively start the enforcement of a parking law that has not been in effect for many years. A friend in the Police Department explained to me that this law has always been interpreted to be less restrictive, allowing residents to park their cars overnight in front of their homes.

Now, of all times, during this Covid-19 crisis, why would they direct the Police Department to issue warnings and soon-to-follow summonses to residents? Do they not think that perhaps they have extended family living with them during this pandemic and not enough parking in their driveway? Do they not care enough to remember that people are out of work and paying a parking ticket will be a hardship? Times are bad enough!

This is a disgusting and cruel decision that they have made. Maybe they should put their efforts into helping the community rather than sit around thinking of ways to punish people. Do they really need the revenue that bad?

Anyone receiving warning summonses should call Village Hall to make a formal complaint. 631-324-4150.

Sincerely,

SUSAN JACKSON

 

Storm on the Horizon

East Hampton

April 20, 2020

Dear David,

This is to the people of the Village of East Hampton:

Mark my words and take heed, lest they come back to haunt you. I am not going to tell you what you want to hear. I am going to tell you what you need to hear. For all those who love this Village of East Hampton, there is a storm on the horizon.

Those who know me know that my blood, sweat, and tears are in the fertile soil of this village as are those of my father before me. To me, and I’m confident many of you, this village is the most magnificent place on earth. I’ve traveled the world many times over and always felt a homesickness for this place while away.

What makes the Village of East Hampton so special? The ocean. The beaches. The fertile soil. The wildlife. The beautiful village center. No doubt, all of these things. Yet, the real magic that makes this place so special is the sense of community. A history of people doing the right thing and doing right by others. To those of you who have moved here from somewhere else, make no mistake, you are part of this community as well.

Our community is being divided and pulled apart by this current village board election. This type of politics and aggressive campaigning have never occurred in the village before and have no place here. Enemies are being made who may never speak again. For someone who loves this village as much as I do, it’s tearing my heart out to watch.

One mayoral candidate began campaigning a year ago with a campaign like no one has ever seen in this village. Why? He’s not even from this village, having claimed residency by renting an apartment days before announcing his candidacy.

He has the backing of billionaires and business interests. We must recognize the potential pitfalls of electing someone with no legitimate vested interest in the village. We would essentially be hiring a mercenary. Mercenaries are only loyal until the last sack of gold is placed in their hand. Which raises the question: What is his motivation? He’s promising every individual to solve their most burning issue, remove the thorn from their side. This is simply not possible in any political situation and we should be wary of any such claims.

Furthermore, some of the promises he’s making will turn this fair village on its head. If each of us so selfishly seeks to solve our own special interest while forgetting about the common good, we will kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. This candidate has proceeded to drive one wedge after another, already doing so much damage to this community, the likes of which may take years to heal. Now his competition, who I initially supported, has lowered herself into a mutually assured destruction of mudslinging, responding tit for tat every week, yet adding nothing of substance. A good number of people have placed their confidence in her and been sorely disappointed.

This mudslinging by both parties thus far has been disgusting and I’ve had enough. This conduct is wildly out of character for anyone hoping to garner the trust of the fine residents of this village. This is not mayoral conduct. This is not leadership. This is cowardice and bullying manifested in an attempt to divide and conquer. We are better than this and we can do better than this in our selection of the next mayor of the Village of East Hampton.

Those who know me know that I lead a very quiet life since my time documenting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I keep my own counsel and would rarely speak out like this unless I felt it absolutely imperative. This is imperative. I won’t get into the specifics of party platforms in this forum. I’ll leave that to the candidates. Anyone who would like to sit down with me and have a civil discussion about the issues, whether you agree with me or not, I welcome the opportunity and fully expect that we could see eye to on many things.

I ask all of you to take a really deep breath. Think about the weight of this decision. For those of you born and raised here, remember why this place is so dear to your heart. For those of you who moved here because it is such a special place, remember what it was that just lit you up inside whenever you visited and ultimately moved you to call this place home. We don’t need massive changes. We need fine-tuning. We need fine leadership and we need community participation. We need a village board that is grounded in good sense and in constant contact with the people and businesses of the village. And we the people, the residents, need to begin communicating our interests to our elected representatives, not just at election time but on a regular basis. We need to attend meetings. We need to stop on the street and speak with each other. We need to rekindle the vibrance of community through communication. It starts with you. It starts where you stand. It starts with your voice. It starts with your vote. Do the right thing.

I will now do what I feel must be done to protect the Village of East Hampton that I love so dearly and the quality of life that is so precious to me. I am now throwing my support to the Fish Hooks Party of Tiger Graham, Rose Brown, and David Driscoll, and I enthusiastically encourage every village resident to do the same. Tiger is running for mayor and David for trustee in this election. Rose’s term continues another two years before she’s up for re-election.

I would ask that all of you make an effort to get to know these three fine individuals and familiarize yourselves with their strong platform. Each of them is not only highly qualified and motivated, but eminently approachable and they will be making a concerted effort to reach out and get to know you all. You can be assured that they share the same sentiments as I regarding this wonderful village. They will not only have my vote on election day, they have my vote of confidence.

Here is the most critical point that must be made. This is a small community. We need each other. We need our friendships. We need to maintain civil discourse that sets the tone for our quality of life. Once the dust of this election has settled, we will continue to live and work with each other. I would implore the candidates to please tone down the rhetoric. Please treat each other with respect and civility. I’m sure many of you out there feel the same way I do. I love this village with all my heart and I don’t want to lose this sense of community and quality of life that we enjoy. Let’s do the right thing.

Respectfully,

RALPH DAYTON

 

Important Balance

East Hampton

April 19, 2020

Dear Editor:

There has been so much press lately about the sign codes and business needs in the village, we think we should clarify a few things in that regard.

Our village code has always been very strict when it comes to signs and postings of all sorts in the village, not only in the commercial core but also in the residential area. Real estate signs are addressed, for instance, as well as banners and signs for nonprofit organizations. This careful attention to detail in our code is one of the reasons our village is considered one of the most beautiful in the country.

All signs are regulated because the residents want our village to maintain the beautiful aesthetic that it has always had. In the business district for instance, if sandwich boards, neon window signs, and banners were to go unregulated, our village would soon look like Coney Island. Even the outdoor display of merchandise is regulated lest our sidewalks become impassable with racks of clothing, lawn mowers, or stacks of shoes lining the way.

When merchants wish to have a sign in their window or on the facade of their building they apply to our East Hampton Village Design Review Board. That board, made up of village residents, examines the size, colors, lighting, and all other aspects of the proposal to determine if the sign meets the standards set forth. They work with the applicant to find a solution to any problems encountered.

If a merchant is not happy with the code as it applies to their circumstance, they can apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance for their particular need. Again, the zoning board is made up of village residents and determines whether or not a variance will be granted.

Through this process, the application is viewed by many people who have an interest in how our village looks: the Code Enforcement Department, the Design Review Board, and the Zoning Board of Appeals. There is a process by which someone can find relief if the code does not meet the special need they have and relief can be acquired.

We in the Elms Party are far from anti-business. In fact, members of our party own both commercial property and businesses in the village. But since we also live here, we understand the important balance between commercial and residential needs and desires. Our goal is to do our best to attain that balance at all times.

Change can and does happen as needs change, and we are not opposed to making sure we move forward with the times. Our code is a living document, which is often amended. It was only a few years ago we made the change to allow more potted plantings in front of our commercial properties in response to an inquiry from a property owner. But all change needs to be carefully considered, and all voices need to be heard. That is always our goal. We hope all residents agree with that approach.

Jerry Larsen would like you to believe that we are not business friendly, but that could not be further from the truth. We work hard to solve problems that are brought to us by businesses and commercial property owners. We simply put our residents first, and we think that’s a good thing.

Sincerely,

BARBARA BORSACK

Candidate for Mayor

RAY HARDEN

Candidate for Trustee

RICK LAWLER

Candidate for Trustee

 

Must Be Achieved

East Hampton

April 20, 2020

To the Editor:

When East Hampton Village residents adopted their Comprehensive Plan in 2002, their vision was that the village remain a residential community with its “extraordinary natural beauty, historic integrity, and special charm.” As we move into the 21st century, the plan will have to be adapted in order to meet current challenges and prepare us for changes to come. I do not believe, however, that the original vision must be sacrificed. Rather we need elected leaders who will be able to make these adaptations without losing sight of that vision.

I believe there is such a group of individuals in the Elms Party, which has the concern for residents and visitors alike. They have indicated that, if elected, they will work to protect the property rights and quality of life of the homeowners and guests to our community. This will be the fine balance that must be achieved; having leaders who will partner with business and respect and have compassion for the local residents who make the village function. Barbara Borsack, Richard Lawler, and Ray Harden are candidates who live, work, and contribute to our village, and I urge residents to support them for mayor and village trustee respectively.

MARY BUSCH

 

Amazing Capacity

East Hampton

April 20, 2020

To the Editor:

Kudos to Jerry Larsen for raising $113,000 for the East Hampton Food Pantry, the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, and the Springs Food Pantry. He rose to the occasion and dived right in to help others. This is the kind of person we need to run the Village of East Hampton.

He is proactive, sees a need, and does everything in his power to fill it. I last heard that he has managed to procure 10,000 face masks for our health workers and essential personnel. We need elected officials who rise to the occasion and who show an amazing capacity to get the job done. If you are a village resident, please vote for Jerry Larsen as your next mayor.

JACQUELINE DUNPHY

 

Hurt the Inns

East Hampton

April 20, 2020

Dear David,

In response to Barbara Borsack and Ray Harden in last week’s paper, let me give the readers the facts.

In 2018, Barbara Borsack, Rick Lawler, and Arthur Graham passed new legislation on mass assembly laws that specifically hurt the inns of East Hampton. In front of the parents of the brides and grooms, they dug in their heels and with only 12 days before these young couple’s weddings they caused them to be canceled. When they were given the chance to help the inns, Barbara Borsack, Rick Lawler, and Arthur Graham refused to do so, with comments like, it’s a bridge too far and it’s a dead issue, etc., etc.

Today — once again — Barbara Borsack and Rick Lawler continue their attacks on the inns, again by falsely misrepresenting my views on the matter by claiming I want “nightclubs” in the village. I know the voters already see through this nonsense by their unsolicited email blasts and letters to the editor here.

The Elms Party has resorted to pure scare tactics. If the readers would like to know my real opinion on anything ?they can tune in to “Newtown TV” on my Facebook page every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5 p.m. or my website Jerrylarsenformayor.com.

Thank you,

JERRY LARSEN

 

BOCES Students

Sag Harbor

April 20, 2020

Dear Editor,

As a proud member of the Board of Education of Eastern Suffolk BOCES, I would like to thank Christine Sampson and The Star for the fine article in the issue of April 16. The topic of education is worthy of your front-page coverage at this time as teachers, administrators, boards, and particularly parents and students of all abilities struggle to adapt to unexpected and unprecedented learning methods and environments. Teachers have shown creativity, flexibility, and amazing abilities in offering instruction in new ways, whether with technology or remote classrooms, in novel ways where instruction is having to be offered.

Our BOCES students often are the most severely impacted due to the accommodations many require in receiving their educations. As the article so clearly states, the challenges special-education students and their families face each day are complex and fraught with a variety of issues. Until one has witnessed a child with handicapping conditions tapping on the key of a specialized keyboard or a hearing-impaired student thrilled at the newfound ability to identify a sound, it’s not always apparent that the range of abilities is vast. Teachers in a regular classroom are challenged every day and due enormous admiration and respect. The special-education teacher can be a miracle worker.

At our BOCES academies we offer career and technical education courses in addition to the regular school program in the home district, such as described at the beginning of the article.

I hope the information included from a culinary arts teacher, our BOCES associate superintendent for instructional services, and particularly the parents and the students interviewed, have given your readers the opportunity to consider the added challenges during this uncertain and stressful time.

Thank you for your attention.

Very truly yours,

ANNE MACKESEY

Trustee and Member

Eastern Suffolk board of

Cooperative Educational Services

 

Heroes

East Hampton

April 19, 2020

To the Editor,

May I join those thanking the unseen heroes, the shelf stockers, the check-out personnel, those who really assist us?

STUYVIE WAINWRIGHT

 

Open and Safe

Montauk

April 15, 2020

Dear David,

Re your editorial “Public Spaces?” on April 9: “As the current president of the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society and 22-year member, I very much appreciated your crediting the “upkeep of existing woodland paths" and opening of new routes” to independent preservation groups, adding “new trails volunteers would surely be welcome for regular maintenance.” Truer words were never written.

Ever since E.H.T.P.S. was organized in 1980 by a group of horseback riders who were concerned about housing development that was encroaching on their trails, we have promoted the acquisition and preservation of open space to be set aside for trails now mostly used by hikers and mountain bike riders. Over our nearly 40 years, society volunteers have worked with town, county, and state personnel in maintaining trails and even establishing new ones. We have a vested interest in keeping trails open and safe, as our mission is to introduce East Hampton’s natural [resources] — woods, coastlines, panoramic views — to residents and visitors by leading free guided hikes all year long.

As you point out, we could always use more helpers. Our maintenance crews go out once a week on Tuesday mornings. We invite readers to check out our website, ehtps.org, or email us at [email protected] to learn more. Our monthly hikes and general meetings are now suspended in view of the safety guidelines during the Covid-19 crisis. The trails, however, are open and available. We urge walkers to abide by the six-foot separation rule when walking in groups.

EVA MOORE

President

 

On the Trails

East Hampton

April 20, 2020

Dear David,

For everyone staying in East Hampton, please enjoy our trails. It is an activity that can be safe, beautiful, energetic, and outside your house. But, the six-foot rule about safety between you and other people is not believed to be adequate. That is true both when you are moving past other trail users or they are moving past you.

A New York Times article last week, called "For Runners, Is 15 Feet the New 6 Feet for Social Distancing" says that a first study states that the six-foot separation is not sufficient even if you are just walking. It becomes a longer distance when people are moving at a moderate-to-fast pace. The first test limited its variables and more tests by engineers are happening, including one on bicycling.

I use the trails a couple of times each week, and it has been rare to be near, or even see, another user. But the few times I have been on the same trail with another person it has been easy to increase my minimum separation to a safer number. So, enjoy yourselves, but be careful on the trails this spring. The colors of the variety of emerging leaves are lovely.

ZACHARY COHEN

 

Evidence

Springs

April 19, 2020

Dear David,

I am in one of those “high risk” categories for Covid-19: 71, a cancer survivor, and someone with a history of asthma. If I get the virus, I will probably die. I am also someone that my family depends on, emotionally as well as financially. I am a central person in my granddaughter’s life. My life depends on others making sure that they don’t spread the virus to me. But there are many who are at high risk like myself. And even many who were at low-risk have died from the virus. The safety of others depends on my not spreading the virus to them.

People infected with the virus are likely most infectious before any symptoms appear, so any of us could infect anyone else we come into contact with, before we know it. That’s why we all have to wear face masks whenever we are in public.

New evidence shows that people can emit the smallest virus particles, the ones that get deep into the lungs, when they speak, breathe, sneeze, or cough, and those particles can go far beyond the six-foot perimeter that many people, including some policy-making public officials, think is safe. Small and light, they can float in the air for some time, where they can be inhaled by others. We are not even safe outside. That’s why people in East Asia, having been exposed to previous SARS epidemics, all wear masks wherever and whenever they are outside, to keep from infecting others.

But there are people in our community who seem to care not a bit for the lives of others. And they think they are immune to the virus. I try not to go out in public at all. But the other day, after three weeks of not going to the grocery store, I needed to get something urgent. At the One Stop, a group of people were standing outside, waiting to be let in one by one.

The store’s policy of restricting access is correct. But seven of the 10 people standing outside had no masks. When I suggested that they should be wearing masks, I came in for a lot of verbal abuse. One woman (an employee of Southampton Hospital, no less, who should know better) angrily retorted, “What do you care? You’re wearing a mask!”

I answered, “I care about the health of others, as well as my own.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t,” she shot back scornfully.

Really? Really? We are all in this together. If we don’t care about the health of people we don’t know, we risk our own health and that of those we love. The sooner we all realize that, the sooner this pandemic will be over.

FRANCESCA RHEANNON

 

Ratting

Amagansett

April 18, 2020

To the Editor:

“Also on the Logs” has always been one of my favorite features in The Star. I’ll never forget the item where a caller reported “six unruly youths” outside the East Hampton movie theater. When the police went to check they found “six quiet youths sitting on a bench.”

But this week’s column seemed dominated by people calling the police to report others for noncompliance with the social distancing rules. Am I the only reader who finds this alarming? A majority of these infractions were easily dealt with, but at the very least this seems like a waste of police time. At its worst, it feels, at least to me, like a Big Brother sort of situation, with neighbors ratting out neighbors.

And, while I have your editorial ear, let me say that while I am fully on board with the social distancing guidelines and have indeed been complying with them, I don’t see a problem with (to name one example cited in your editorial “Aggressive Efforts Mandated for Everyone”) pool-service personnel doing their jobs. In my experience, maintaining a pool involves no social contact whatsoever. I understand that aggressive efforts are needed; I just don’t want us to forget the underlying principle — stay apart so we can’t spread disease — and get so involved in finger-pointing, blaming, and shaming.

Thank you,

ALICE HENRY WHITMORE

 

Short-Term Rentals

East Hampton

April 18, 2020

Dear Mr. Rattray:

I appreciated The Star’s editorial “Missing In Action.” I’ve been curious about East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc’s vacation-mode absence in the midst of Covid-19. Hoping Van Scoyoc takes a page from Southampton’s Jay Schneiderman, who you pointed out has been active during this crisis. Perhaps our East Hampton Town supervisor can resurface by looking into what Mr. Schneiderman has announced: putting the brakes on short-term rentals in his town (for April).

I support the moratorium on short-term home leasing as well as Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s inquiry into banning or restricting summer rentals.

If we are beginning to flatten the curve on the coronavirus, why do we want now to introduce a new population of potential Covid-19 carriers hailing not only from other states, but other countries?

It’s time to consider putting a serious check and possibly a 2020 ban on casual rentals, summer group homes, party promoters’ seasonal shares, and the leasing of properties to high-end continentals.

Thank you for the opportunity to voice our views!

Sincerely,

SUE RAKOWSKI

 

Signage

East Hampton

April 14, 2020

To The Star:

Heeding the advice of “governmental experts” and the like, I eschewed face masks for the longest time. Then, not waiting for someone to say, “Simon says,” I took the leap on amazon.com about a fortnight ago and ordered two boxes of ordinary face masks —  from China, of course. They arrived three days ago. After reading in The Star about the town’s request for donations of face masks for use by local grocery workers, I ventured out to town Hall this morning to donate one of the two boxes I had just received.

At the Pantigo Road complex, I am almost always baffled by the lack of signs: Which building is actually Town Hall, for example? Clearly, it’s not the court or the police building. It must be one of the buildings without clear signage! Today, I also had to guess as to whether the drop-off box for Town Hall was in fact the “collection box” mentioned in your recent news article. I guessed it was and threw in my box of masks. Then I had to guess which road would lead me out of the complex.

The road I entered on is clearly marked “Do Not Enter,” but where is the sign for the exit? L.O.L. It’s once again guessing time. I guessed correctly and exited. But, really, can someone please arrange for proper signage? Needless to say, I worry about the ability of the town to make sure that the masks make their way to the appropriate recipients. I guess, oops, I hope, it will!

Sincerely,

THOMAS BACKEN

 

This Pandemic

East Hampton

April 19, 2020

Dear David,

Our community is facing unprecedented challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic. The stresses brought on by mass unemployment, food insecurity, social isolation, and illness are causing fear, anxiety, loneliness, and despair to multiply exponentially. For some folks, these added burdens can potentially lead to mental health issues, family violence, and substance abuse.

Fortunately, there is hope. This hope comes from a number of dedicated and resourceful organizations here in East Hampton that quickly innovated to reach folks that are in need of assistance in real time.

Even though Family Service League’s brick and mortar clinic is closed, all of their therapists and psychiatrists are seeing their clients on a secure telehealth zoom platform. Family Service League is open to everyone who needs help and can be reached at 631-324-3344. It should be noted that health insurance companies have bought into these virtual appointments.

The New York State Office of Mental Health has set up a free Covid-19 Emotional Support Helpline. It is available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Once you call 844-863-9314, you are set up with an appointment to speak to a mental health professional free of charge.

The Retreat has made creative adjustments to offer their services. Their 24-hour hotline —  631-329-2200 —  has been rerouted to staff members at home: Counselors are providing telephone sessions, advocates are connecting people to resources they need, and their attorney is providing online options while the courts are closed to the public. The shelter remains open and available to individuals and families in need.

Phoenix House programs are still open in support of recovery and are providing essential services to the community on a secure Zoom platform. They continue to conduct assessments, as well as group, individual, family, and peer counseling. Those struggling with substance use issues should call 631-329-0373.

Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence continues to operate their substance use hotline 24/7. Clinicians are available to make treatment referrals, provide information about how to stay safe and sober during these uncertain times, and offer general support to anyone in need. Whether someone is in recovery, actively using, has a family member struggling with addiction or just needs some reassurance, they are available at 631-979-1700.

As we navigate this pandemic, we can’t lose sight that at any moment, any one of us could find ourselves struggling. But let us remember that we are not alone, that help is available and that we are stronger together.

Take good care,

KATHEE BURKE-GONZALEZ

East Hampton Town Councilwoman

P.S. Should you know someone in need of assistance, please reach out to me at [email protected],gov

 

Out of Money

Sag Harbor

April 19, 2020

Dear Star:

As an owner of a small business, applying for this loan has proven more than frustrating. I assume the smaller the business the more difficult it has been to obtain this loan. A small business was considered 500 employees or less, and you had to go through the bank you were doing business with.

Kites of the Harbor has been in business for 40 years and banking with Capital One since they were in Sag Harbor. We couldn’t even get an application in with them. It had to be done through their website, which never worked.

I spent endless hours on the phone. I was told our online banking was not working correctly, they were going to fix our site. We also could not apply to another bank because I did not have an account with another bank. I know other small businesses that got their application in with other banks but never went anywhere, and also heard of a larger business that had no problem. So I assume the larger the business the easier it was. Then when I heard they ran out of money, I cursed — cursed — and gave up. Now I just got an email from Capitol One telling us we are now able to apply. I hope this will not be a waste of more time. Okay I will try now, but don’t want to get my hopes up. Thanks for listening.

Best regards,

CHARLENE KATZ

 

Power of Money

Charlottesville, Va.

April 18, 2020

To the Editor,

Definition: “near.” Now to Sept. 1, “the near.” There are still too many “known unknowns,” to coin a phrase. World science has not spoken with a definitive statement to clarify all the parameters of this pandemic, at least for those of us who live in the real world and not inside some phony, rigid, ideological, self-serving pseudo reality.

The politicians are required, at minimum and quite sincerely, to express their concern for the citizenry and exercise the powers of their office to guide us on the right path to safety. Unfortunately for the citizenry, the majority of the political elite is corrupted by the power they hold (See Mitch McConnell of the U.S. Senate), but considerably more by the power of money. The capitalist elites are the ones with the money and they have become experts on how to purchase influence and to wrap that influence in propaganda sold to the masses as “good for them” and dressed up in patriotic phrases like “the Patriot Act,” “Citizens United,” and “America First.”

If it is true, and it is not, that a dollar can be equated to free speech, then they are now “free screaming” bloody murder. Millions of “free speech” dollars are damn loud! They are screaming at the politicians they own, those of the “permanent minority” —  (definition: the permanently re-elected political class) that “run” the country.

As “near time” progresses, the concerned politician will buckle under the relentless pressure applied by the free market capitalist; the capitalists are now as a pack of wolves devouring the trillions of dollars gifted to them by the “money magicians” at those semiprivate semi-government organizations called the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury Department by offloading the shaky junky paper instruments they hold in their fat portfolios.

The Fed has become a stinking black hole sucking in Wall Street and big bank trash. By the way: Alpha wolf runs the Treasury of late, feeding at the feast hosted by the venerable Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs, et al. As they feast on free money, the capitalist will demand that the concerned politician reopen the economy. In our “new-feudalist” moneytocracy era, the capitalist will win and the peasants will die. What’s new?

DENNIS MACNEIL

 

Alarmed Predictions

East Hampton

April 20, 2020

To the Editor:

Name just one positive thing about the pandemic? I take the challenge. The gain is that it puts into perspective the dogmatic certainty that disaster awaits the whole earth in 30 to 80 years, as predicted by general models or climate models.

But we know now that even with contemporaneous data, collected in real time, the virus models are wildly at variance. Take just one issue. How many Americans, and people worldwide, actually have been infected with the virus? That is not the same as “cases” —  those who are symptomatic —  because most of those with the virus are asymptomatic. And it is not the same as those who have been tested, still a small percentage of those who turn out to have the antibodies to the virus.

Best estimates based on selective sampling of large populations is that those with antibodies, who have had the virus but were asymptomatic and now are probably immune, may be 50 times as many as generally estimated.

If so, America and much of the world may have achieved “herd immunity,” enough of the population exposed so that epidemic spread of the disease is no longer possible. If so, we may have reached the point where the coronavirus is just another infectious disease, seasonal, taking a predictable toll.

But the models cited by ardent politicians like Andrew Cuomo are biased to sustain and deepen alarm, justify government dictates, and keep alive the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bask in the political spotlight.

Cynical? In the earlier days of the pandemic, Governor Cuomo rang the alarm again and again for help. New York State would be swamped by Covid-19 cases. Supplies would be exhausted, beds full. The ill would have no care. And he repeated bitterly, again and again, that that man in Washington was at fault. Leadership! Who? Me, Cuomo.

Always it went back to models. Based on those models, Governor Cuomo made an estimate of needed beds in New York State —  now shown to be 10 times too large, an estimate 10 times too large based on the models. Thankfully, whereas Governor Cuomo predicted catastrophe, New York is doing fine with beds.

Time after time, the alarmed predictions, motivated by political goals, such as acceptance of dictates, compliance with orders, turned out to be wrong. By orders of magnitude.

And yet, for years we have been lectured that the predictions about the average surface temperature of the earth and worldwide sea level rise projected over decades, and thus armor-plated against falsification. And deliberately so.

Yes, the global models, now more than 100 of them developed at $1 million a pop, have been falsified in the short term. They have failed to predict a long hiatus in global warming. (That was what caused the scare term “global warming” to be changed to the scare term “climate change.”)

But the chief focus of the models wasn’t on next year, or five years, or 10. The focus was on 2050, 2080, 2021. And that makes them invulnerable to falsification.

It hasn’t mattered. Based on the models, the “greens” demand sweeping economic changes, trillions of dollars of investment  now. Can we wait to see if the predictions of the models are confirmed? No! By then it will be too late, the damage irreversible! We must act now to make an unprecedented global government investment in eliminating the world’s energy supply, fossil fuels. Government, as in wartime, must take over the economy. No more free markets, no more capitalism.

What the models are intended, in reality, to do is validate the decades-old doctrines of the left, the end of capitalism, the day of central planning, socialism.

For the moment, the left is rejoicing in freezing the economy and celebrating their ideals of altruism, self-sacrifice, duty, collectivism. Their moral idol is need, the credo of sacrifice. And we have special events almost every evening now, to sing variants on “I am a man of constant sorrow.”

But you can stretch out the Saturnalia of altruism and collectivism only so long. The question for the left is: Can we transition the overblown crisis of Covid-19, the emergency dictating of the economy, into a permanent regime of climate crisis?

So far, the trial balloons for permanent “wartime powers” have been mostly ignored. But an astonishing number of Americans are “getting off” on this crisis. They cherish the shared tragedy, the shared sacrifice, the glorification of altruism.

They will not forget this delicious experience of collective suffering and sacrifice. Where not ability, innovation, creating wealth, and making luxuries commonplace are the order of the day but instead “we are all together” in suffering and tragedy, the leveling of “everybody wear your mask, wash your hands,” and the nobility not of wealth creation but sacrifice.

Expect what the pundits are predicting: a permanently different America. That will require, in response, an unapologetic assertion of the American sense of life: individual vision, self-interested pursuit of personal goals, rewards commensurate with ability and effort, and unlimited optimism based upon our mastery of our environment to serve our values, our goals, our lives.

WALTER DONWAY

 

Not Unrelated

New York City

April 19, 2020

Dear Mr. Rattray:

We have a lot of crises going on right now: the Covid-19 pandemic, a flailing economy, and the destruction of our climate through the relentless production of polluting greenhouse gases and particulate emissions. (Yes, the economic pause has cleared the skies for the moment, but without creating structural change.)

We all, by now, know ordinary people who have gotten sick or even passed away from this terrible illness. But consider that Covid-19 and climate as crises are not unrelated. Coronavirus patients are 15 percent more likely to die if they live in an area with heavy pollution. These two crises are also closely related because they are both issues of deep environmental injustice. Coronavirus kills nonwhite people disproportionately, those who are poor and who live in so-called environmental justice communities near polluting power plants, bus depots, and factories.

As millions of people lose their jobs, it is tempting to wish things would return to “normal,” but normal was not good. Normal was our climate collapsing with species deaths, deadly fires and drought, and a society filled with deep injustice. The head of Amazon is still worth $145 billion as the Amazon is cleared.

Instead, we need climate and community stimulus for a true Green New Deal. Putting sufficient resources into developing renewable power and improving our nation’s infrastructure to support mass electric transit could put people to work again in solid union jobs with benefits. If we’re lucky, which is to say if we work hard enough, we could come out of this pandemic stronger than ever,  and with health care and public health systems that have learned from this tragedy.

LAURIE JOAN ARON

 

Methane Has Increased

Springs

April 17, 2020

Dear David,

I found the photo of a hydraulic fracking rig an odd addition to an article purported to be about solving the climate crisis (“Morning in America”). The author does make one common-sense suggestion that has been made for years ? a carbon tax. That of course has been blocked by Republicans and energy companies for over a decade now.

His other idea, however, about making fracking “more eco-friendly” would seem to be something out of a bad satire? First, fracking and natural gas are not the clean/green energy source that they have been promoted to be for so long, mainly by hundreds of millions spent on ads by fossil-fuel companies. If one accounts for all the methane released into the atmosphere as part of this industrial process and then along the millions of miles of pipeline infrastructure in the U.S., it is probably worse for us than coal.

Estimates for the last few years show over a billion dollars'  worth of natural gas is either flared or released directly into the atmosphere each year! While I don’t have time to go into all the different pollution costs created by fracking, in terms of local air and water pollution, for those who are stuck at home looking for something to watch, perhaps you might find the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary “GasLand” of interest. It goes into some of these local pollution issues.

Most don’t seem to realize that methane, the main ingredient for natural gas, has 84 times the greenhouse gas impact of carbon dioxide over its first 20 years, and 120 times the impact in its first 10 years of existence. Given how much time we have left to reduce all greenhouse gas to combat climate change, the latter number is more relevant. Most studies for some reason, including the I.P.C.C., use the 100-year number of 30 times.

While there are more parts per million of CO2 than methane in the atmosphere, that has always been the case. If we are truly worried about human impact on greenhouse gas generation then we should pay more attention to methane. Carbon dioxide has increased 40 percent in the last 150 years while methane has increased 150 percent. While some point to its much shorter life span as reason not to be too concerned, it is still growing much faster than carbon dioxide despite that.

While agricultural growth is often cited as the main driver of human methane creation, several studies recently suggest the largest sector accounting for its release is most likely the huge spike from fracking operations in the U.S. over the last decade. We will know for sure in a few years when several satellites dedicated to tracking methane get into orbit. What we are finding out now, however, is that methane is leaking at a higher rate from the millions of miles of pipelines in the U.S. than the 1.5 percent assumed by the sleepy Environmental Protection Agency. At a leakage rate of just 2.7 percent, its benefits to climate disappear and then it is worse than coal for the environment.

Recent studies of major cities in the Northeast show the leakage rate may be as high as 9 to 10 percent in these areas.

I also found fault with the author’s assertion that using carbon dioxide instead of water to frack wells is a supposed solution to making it more green. While it would be a step in the right direction, we are destroying tens of billions of gallons of fresh water every year through the fracking process, and trying to get carbon dioxide to the thousands of fracking wells started each year would be very expensive. It most likely can’t compete with water, which quite often is taken for free from rivers such as the Delaware or other sources across our country.

Sadly, the cost to then treat the toxic mess that comes back up in the drilling process is something that is just dumped on local communities. Disposal of wastewater has been found to cause earthquakes in some areas and to also contain high levels of radiation and toxic chemicals such as benzene that can’t be treated by local waste facilities and may then pollute the rivers it is released into, some of which is being sent to six New York State facilities, according to a recent Rolling Stone article, despite our state’s ban on the drilling process.

This brings me to another major problem associated with our supposed homegrown answer to energy independence from fracking " the high cost of it. Most fracking companies were not making a profit when oil was in the $50 to $60 range, so they certainly won’t take on any extra costs to use carbon dioxide unless it is mandated. Amazingly, over the last decade, we have become the world’s largest producer of fossil fuels (13 million barrels per day equivalent), outstripping the production of both Saudi Arabia and Russia (both just over 10 million per day). Bizarrely, for a supposed capitalist country such as ours, the cost to produce these fuels (oil and natural gas) here is four to five times that of our main competitors" That is the rational reason why once again Saudi Arabia wants the U.S. to produce less oil if anyone is wondering about the cause of the current price war.

Moreover, the vast majority of these fracking-focused companies rarely make a profit " both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal have done studies in the last few years that show the industry as a whole has lost money (negative cash flow sounds better to investors) every year for a decade now. In fact, the value of the energy sector in the S&P 500 has gone down during this time period, while the overall equity market has doubled. Talk about underperformance!

Given that situation, it should not be surprising that over 400 companies associated with fracking have gone into Chapter 11 at least once in the last five years (some twice and will probably do so a third time in the year ahead if they are not bailed out by Trump/Congress"). This has led to hundreds of billions of losses for bond holders and half a trillion in destroyed equity market-cap value. All for what? To create serious long-lasting environmental damage, too, or to kid ourselves about the benefits of energy independence?

This, of course, was all before the price of oil crashed in the last few months. Hopefully, if there is one good thing to come out of this virus crisis, it will be the significant reduction (at least 30 percent) in our country of fracking and the production of oil and natural gas from it. If that does occur, the price of oil and natural gas should finally rise to where most producers can make a profit, and in addition this would help make renewable sources of power more practical and desirable  —  a win-win! So, if one is truly looking to solve the climate crisis, the first step in that direction should be to reduce fracking.

BRAD BROOKS

 

The Invasion

Wainscott

April 20, 2020

Dear David:

Recent articles on the so-called “citidiots” and their “we-are-exempt” mantra were in full blossom recently as it ranged from the invasion, that resembled a swarm of locusts stripping things bare, leaving little for anyone else because they are important and we are just locals who serve their every need.

We all know their names and the behavior that is rampant in 718, 212, 201, and 203 ZIP codes. One, who was Wuhan virus positive, went to White’s Apothecary to pick up prescriptions for his wife, who was allegedly infected, disregarding anyone he came in contact with. Delivery was advertised. The other got into an argument as he was walking his dog on the Maidstone Golf Course property. It was the “I can do whatever I want” that was invoked. I guess he didn’t learn from his blow-up episode at Sunset Beach? The other day, at the crosswalk in the village, I saw a millennial, defying the mask-in-public rule, and hit the crossing button with the dirty soles of her designer sneakers. When some lady asked why she did that, it was “None of your damn business what I do!”

Other reports of boasting about how they fled out here, even after testing positive. This virus didn’t get here by carrier pigeon or on the windshield of their Range Rovers. The numbers are posted every day and numbers are ever increasing in our communities. The usual undercurrent of dislike for their demeanor seems to be coming to the surface. So keep up your abhorrent ways, and you may just learn that they may learn that there can be a vociferous 631 attitude on full display! Behave and leave your classless ways behind.

Yours truly,

ARTHUR J. FRENCH

 

Political Tool

Springs

April 20, 2020

Dear David,

We’ve always watched a speaker of the House work with a president. We are now watching speaker Pelosi only criticize the president. I agree with a newspaper reporter; I think the Democrats are using the coronavirus as a political tool to crash the economy, hurt President Trump, so that in November he will lose the election.

Pelosi held up the Cares Act because she wanted the Green New Deal, to make sure of sanctuary cities. She wanted to change election law, she fought for national endowment for the arts. Today she’s still holding up monies for small business. This woman is tone deaf and couldn’t care less about the citizens, who are hurting. She’s sitting home, not working, not in Washington, getting her taxpayers salary, while she tries to figure out how to add more of her dream plans to the next stimulus bill.

I hope and pray this bill is a clean bill, no extras, also pray the Republicans do not bow to this crazed woman.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO

 

Certainly Not

Montauk

April 19, 2020

Dear David,

The curtain has been pulled back, and we have seen the Wizard. He is nothing but sound, fury, and bluster. Certainly not what we were told.

Perhaps now all Americans will reclaim their Courage, Brains, and Hearts.

Be safe.

BRIAN POPE

 

Social Distancing

East Hampton

April 19, 2020

To The Star:

Watching a Covid-19 task force TV spectacle, I’m struck by the amount of praise that is heaped on the American people for their adherence to social distancing and their support for our health care industry and everyone who is working to keep the country afloat. At a time when our central government abdicates its responsibilities, we are left to our own devices to deal with this once-in-a-lifetime crisis.

In our current situation we have a virus that has 10 times more unknowns than knowns. Every day the story line shifts and there are new symptoms and new realities. The primary pieces that are missing in the narrative are a coherent plan by coherent leadership, materials including masks and tests, and a clear sense of exactly what we are dealing with.

What we have to combat Covid-19 is our ability to social distance and quarantine. Everything else simply overloads the health care system and kills people. The early models done in January and February estimated between 1 and 2.2-million deaths if we didn’t take extreme measures. Social distancing is that extreme measure, and it has cut the spread of the virus dramatically. We aren’t sure exactly where we are going, but we seem to have made inroads into some level of control.

What Anthony Fauci repeats every day ad nauseam is that all we really have in hand is social distancing. All the other stuff we are doing is great but is at this time worthless. Most of the research expands rather than narrows the problem. We are a one-trick pony and while that trick is mentally and financially painful, it’s all we’ve got.

With social distancing as our only option that seems certain to keep us alive, one has to question the behavior of groups of people in Virginia, Minnesota, and Michigan. Massing together to protest against what will possibly save our butts seems ridiculous. They appear like small sugar-crazed children devoid of any self-control. Putting themselves and everyone around them at risk. It’s the everyone else part that is dangerous.

But far worse than the protests is the behavior of the president, who tweets support for this behavior at the same time he represents the government’s advocacy of social distancing. Trump encourages behavior that violates government policy while simultaneously advocating for the same policy.

Sowing confusion and advocating violating social distancing is really deranged. No one questions the president’s incompetence or his lack of interest in solving the real problem, but his support for the protests is a statement of his mental incapacity. Furthermore, encouraging activities that will spread the virus crosses the line of criminality.

Until now the public has accepted Trump’s criminality and psychosis as the cost of doing business in our political universe. However, a shut-down country in total disarray might be too big a price to pay. We may soon become a one-trick pony with no trick to play.

NEIL HAUSIG


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