Love for #10
April 27, 2020
To the Editor,
The Weldon family would like to thank Rob Nicoletti and Len Bernard for organizing the warmhearted farewell for Ken Weldon that took place at the softball field in Amagansett on Saturday, April 25. Our family would like to thank everyone who was there, as well as the East Hampton Town and Village Police Departments for their help in controlling the traffic. We were overwhelmed to see the number of teammates and friends who came out to help us bring Ken home. The outpouring of love for #10 was amazing.
In the near future our family will be having a memorial service. We hope you will all join us.
and MELISSA WELDON
April 26, 2020
I’ve got to tell you Cyril (virtually no one knew his last name — Fitzsimmons — kind of like Madonna Ciccone or Cher Sarkisian) was known by 10 times as many people as Peter Beard. A true East Hampton legend.
A fierce Marine who saw combat. A drunkard who paid his suppliers from a $20,000 cash wad. Known for flashing a $50,000 watch until he was rolled (robbed and beat up) in Antigua. Told he needed a new electrical line for a refrigerator, and when an employee asked which plumber to call, he said just go to the hardware store and buy an extension cord (and get the cheapest) and ignored more code violations than anyone ever in East Hampton.
Thwarted an attempted armed robbery by swatting a pistol away pointed directly at him. (True.) Sat with a chair back to the outside wall, chain smoking in a sarong and slugging vodka while tourists stared. When he had a James Brady book signing, the book was $25 but $30 if signed by Cyril, too. (Again true.) Married to a Jamaican, he was single-handedly responsible for starting the influx of the current seasonal and year-round work force of hard-working friendly university students who’ve become an asset to our community. A great conversationalist — rough on the outside, gentle on the inside. An Irishman to the core.
April 23, 2020
Thank you and your staff for working so hard and keeping The Star shining during the pandemic. You are all truly essential.
Whether or not the beaches are officially opened this summer, having certified lifeguards on call for bathers in distress is also essential. Hopefully, the town will ensure guards patrol our beaches. Either way, there is an additional system in place: the Hamptons Emergency Lifeguard Partnership (HELP). In its third year, HELP is a social media-powered system that alerts off-duty certified lifeguards of water rescues near them.
Oftentimes a certified lifeguard is closer than other public safety, and can respond more quickly.
The brainchild of Detective Sean Daly, East End resident and water-safety expert, HELP has over 300 members, most of whom are certified lifeguards. HELP exists to augment primary first responders because, as noted, its guards may be closer to an emergency (especially in road-clogged summer months). The HELP page is at facebook.com/groups/HELPGUARDS.
SPENCER L. SCHNEIDER
April 17, 2020
I have had a second home in the Springs since 1984. Although I always knew there were some complaints on both sides of the demographic divide, between us “New Yorkers” and our full-time resident neighbors, I never felt animosity. My neighbors have always been that diverse mix of folks who really only want to be of help (except of course, that guy across the street who yelled at me when my dog escaped to his property — a second-home property owner, of course!).
My neighbor Richard, who was totally opposite politically, used to say I should run for mayor! My now neighbor Steve gave me a beautiful present of striped bass one year when my family visited.
My father always said, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” and although Jewish identified, I always covered my head when entering a Catholic church. My father came from a Catholic family. We should all be sensitive to each other, and as they say, find common ground.
I would say to some of our more upset second-home folks, there will always be those who want you to “go back where you came from” as they overcharge you for services. But at the end of the day it is such a privilege to walk pristine beaches, and have, at my age and health condition, a woman named Kathy call me from Human Resources to see if I need anything. No, only a few minutes of your voice, because my kid only knows how to message or is it texting?
And I will always be grateful to emergency medical services when my oldest daughter had a temporary stroke years ago. A sweet older woman came with them and held my daughter’s hand until she felt better.
Stay well, everyone. We are part of a world only partially of our making. Let us be kind to each other regardless of our perceived differences.
April 26, 2020
As a friend of mine who is out of work due to the coronavirus observed yesterday, “It is amazing how our country fails to provide for its people relative to other countries in the world.”
The coronavirus has laid bare the lack of social services currently available in the United States, and has illuminated the widening gulf in our communities between the haves and the have nots. We can only hope that our country will come to realize, as a result of this disease, the inequity between elements of our society, and the pressing call to care for the disadvantaged and those in need.
PERRY DURYEA III
April 27, 2020
To the Editor:
Especially during this spring-summer season, the students and society at large would be better off if the students went back to their schools — schools patterned after summer camps. Their education would continue and their safety, as demonstrated by C.D.C. studies, would not be impaired.
C.D.C. studies relating to the coronavirus confirm a startling correlation between age and the risks caused by the virus. C.D.C. found that the oldest age groups (those 65 and older) were at the greatest risk of hospitalization, severe illness, or death. On the other hand, the age groups that straddle the school years (5 to 24) are, by far, at the least risk. The C.D.C. April 17 report on death illustrates the correlation and details the extraordinary difference in risk.
The report describes a study of 13,000 coronavirus victims. The age 5-to-24 group constitutes more than 25 percent of the population (84 million out of 327 million) but they constitute only one-tenth of 1 percent of the deaths in the studied group (14 out of 13,000). By contrast, the 65 and older age group constitutes only 16 percent of the population (52 million out of 327 million) but they constitute 80 percent of the deaths (10,188 out of 13,000). (The risks to adults between the ages of 25 and 64 also increase as they get older.) Indeed, another age group under the age of 65 confirms the correlation. Of the 2.1 million military members of our armed forces, only two have died from the virus: one Navy man, age 41, and one National Guardsman, age 57.
This correlation weighs heavily against keeping students cooped up in their homes, especially in these spring and summer months. The students themselves are rebelling against being kept from activities that are essential to their physical and mental well-being. This is a perfect time to set up camps that would release students from sequestration at home. They could enjoy sports, be with new young friends of different ethnic and income backgrounds, and receive educational benefits that would last a lifetime. Their parents and sitters could turn to other jobs in the work force.
The youths themselves could form a major force of millions in our fight against the virus. Depending on age and particular skills, they could perform essential tasks, such as making masks and delivering food and pharmaceuticals, acting as camp counselors, and doing the medical and other professional and business tasks for which their education has trained them. They could substitute for older workers, who should be staying at home. The project might well reduce the curve and spur the economy.
Implementation of this proposal would be complex but it is doable. Methods would have to be devised to protect the safety of those few older persons who would come in contact with the safe but still communicable student-campers. Parents and children would miss their face-to-face contacts with each other. (Many parents — with the necessary financial resources — have frequently sent their small children to camp for the summer.) If it seems that the dangers of the virus will continue beyond the summer, there would be time to implement a more permanent type of structure for the fall and winter. But the dialogue as to feasibility must start now and the implementation commenced very quickly if it is to go into effect by summertime. To borrow a military slogan used in World War II: “The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer.”
GERALD M. OSCAR
The Plus Side
April 27, 2020
To the Editor:
We are all experiencing the effect of the pandemic here in Suffolk County, but I would like to point out how very lucky we are to be here, and not in India, Iran, or most of Africa, where there is very little medical help and often overcrowded living environments.
Here we have medical advice at our fingertips, TV, and internet to provide instant information, a beautiful and healthy environment, and delivery and takeout facilities for the most needy and senior citizens of the population living here.
Also on the plus side, many parents and grandparents here have a unique opportunity to spend quality time with their offspring. Even great-grandparents, if they are lucky enough to have those children nearby or living with them! School-age children are working with their schools via Wi-Fi or with home schooling, but still have time to be with their family and caregivers.
Sadly, I have observed firsthand parents who indulge themselves, e.g., taking tennis lessons or playing golf, but neglect their children! Understandably, heads of the household, employers, and employees are busy on the internet with their business concerns, often putting in longer hours from home than they did under normal circumstances before the pandemic changed our lives. But it is right now that parents have the opportunity to connect with their kids, teach them values for living, take them to our beautiful beaches (weather permitting), or the many nature preserves, teaching them the joys of planting a garden, either vegetables (remember First Lady Michelle Obama with children gardening on the White House lawn?) or flowers.
Remember all the outdoor and indoor games you were taught as a child? And what fun it was to play them again with your own children? Mainly, take advantage of this time! Keep in touch with family, those with you or far away, do something helpful for an older or sick friend (even if it just dropping off some homemade soup at the door, or phoning to say hi).
Enjoy your children who are with you; and teach them to enjoy nature, and play with them instead of leaving them in front of the TV, surfing the internet, or letting them get into trouble. For example, giving no parental supervision and allowing them to trespass on a neighbor’s property and “playing destructively,” which in the worst cases can cause dangerous accidents and/or unnecessary problems and anxiety, and can result in police intervention and lawsuits.
Other ideas: Build a tree house, read to your children (no TV!), or cook with them, which can be fun as well.
In conclusion, make the best possible and possibly the happiest, most useful connections with your family and others. And take all the recommended precautions seriously and willingly.
Japan’s Red Maple
Blossoming in chilly spring
Flutters with gentle wind
Above the dandelion
Below blue dusk sky
Year after year
Pink and fragile
Like a satin bow
On a butterfly’s wing
Little does this gift from nature
Sense this year is different
Its flowers will fall
Its leaves will grow
Like a beautiful red flag
As the summer scurries by
In this madness
Maples have gone unnoticed
Tragedy and loss
Have numbed our senses
So will we
When the Sun and Moon call us to return to life as we once knew it
STEVEN BISCARI AMARAL
April 20, 2020
Numbers don’t lie; the numbers don’t add up. Based on Centers for Disease Control data, these are the numbers by influenza seasons for the U.S.A. alone:
2017-2018 up to 58,000,000 people infected; up to 95,000 people died. (Numbers may change as data are finalized.)
2016-2017 up to 45,000,000 people infected; up to 61,000 people died.
2014-2015 up to 33,000,000 people infected; up to 64,000 people died.
2010-2018 up to 277,000,000 people infected; up to 436,000 people died. (Last eight influenza seasons combined.)
On April 19, 2020, in the U.S.A. alone, 767,189 people infected with COVID-19; 40,743 people died.
On March 24, 2020, CBS News quoted Governor Cuomo to have said, “My mother is not expendable, and your mother is not expendable, and our brothers and sisters are not expendable. We’re not going to put a dollar figure on human life.”
What exactly did the governor say? His mother’s, brother’s, and sister’s lives are not expendable, but 436,000 people’s lives in the last eight influenza seasons alone were expendable? In the last eight influenza seasons, no schools were shut down, no businesses were shut down, no alarm bells were rung, and no irrational fears were used to brainwash the people. Why? I demand to know why. Is this the epitome of hypocrisy? Is this pure stupidity? Perhaps the governor thinks we are stupid?
Why was my business deemed nonessential, but my bills, my living expenses, remained essential? Any fourth grader will understand a business owner can only pay his bills if his business is in operation. When the Town of East Hampton’s supervisor and the town board gleefully took credit to determine that my business was nonessential, shouldn’t they also take financial responsibility to pay my essential bills? When my property tax bill is due, will that bill be considered nonessential? How about my dump fee and all fees charged by the town? What do you think will happen if “We the People” declared all money paid to our local, county, and state governments, nonessential?
What exactly happened in the last four weeks? Our constitutional rights were trampled upon. We are learning right now, due to flawed models projecting millions of more deaths than are currently being projected, how they stoked irrational fears, flamed by the media, and allowed our local government to gleefully cede local control to New York State. The entire town board went into hiding as you accurately stated in your editorial last week. With no local leadership, the town board permitted the East Hampton Police Department to be the voice of our government. We are actually living in a tyrannical police state.
It’s actually much worse than that, we have no data, we have no testing. Even your newspaper is contributing to the disinformation by publishing a graph every day citing “Suffolk and East End cases per 1,000.” The numbers are false. There still is no testing on the East End! We live in the richest ZIP codes in the country, and we still have no testing. The supervisor and the town board sent out a press release, taking a political victory lap, and still bragged how the supervisor’s letter to the governor took away my livelihood I’ve worked on for over 40 years, but we still have no testing. The fallacy of mortality rates cannot be used if the number of infected is unknown.
Every article on Covid-19 worldwide stresses the need for testing. New data show the coronavirus isn’t as deadly as previously thought. It’s absolutely unbelievable we still have no testing on the East End; this just adds to the malfeasance of our local government. This town board is without excuse: I advised them on March 30 that the numbers didn’t add up, and as the actor, causing the governor to declare all construction nonessential, they have assumed the liability for such a decision, which is grossly prejudicial.
I’m not a prophet, but I will make a prediction that at some point in time when the infection rate comes down to only a tiny fraction of what was originally projected, the town, county, and state governments will take a political victory lap and brag about how effective their Pause and quarantines were, except for one troubling CNN article published a few days ago on how some countries got it right. How some countries got astounding results without shutting down their entire economy. How each country responded differently, mostly by common sense, and all very successfully dealt with the same coronavirus. One country specifically had no curve at all to flatten, only a couple of blips, having only .3 deaths per million, with the U.S.A. having 125 deaths per million. The reasons for this disparity are very logical. So it is possible with great leadership: Leaders with open minds, leaders who are innovative, can beat this invisible enemy without catastrophic damage to their economy and to their citizens. The truth is already out, our leaders won’t be able to brag, they will be held accountable for causing horrendous acts of suffering that were avoidable.
I’m really upset and appalled at how our government led us into this tyrannical police state, ignoring the Constitution they were sworn to uphold and to protect. I am shocked at how willingly “We the People” peacefully complied. Don’t be fooled if you think this same tactic won’t be used in the future by someone more evil. Perhaps this was just a test. What happened to the American spirit, the spirit of our forefathers who rallied the cry, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death?”
Ways to Pay
April 26, 2020
In the next few days, homeowners will be receiving a courtesy reminder from the Town of East Hampton’s office of the tax receiver that their second-half taxes are due by May 31, 2020.
Given the governor’s stay-at-home order, a number of folks have reached out to me asking, “How can I safely pay my taxes?” I am writing to let homeowners know that there are actually five safe and convenient ways to pay their second-half taxes. They include:
1) Using the envelope provided with the courtesy reminder and mailing their payment via the U.S.P.S.
2) Paying online with a credit card or eCheck. Homeowners just need to go to the town’s website — www.ehamptonny.gov — and click on “online payments.”
3) Calling the office of the tax receiver, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., to pay with a check or credit card. The number for the tax receiver’s office is 631-324-2770.
4) Placing the check through the mail slot in the door of the tax receiver’s office at 300 Pantigo Place, East Hampton, Suite 106.
5) Scheduling an appointment at their local Bridgehampton National Bank branch to pay with cash or a check.
Ideally, folks will find that one or more of these options are convenient for them.
Take good care,
East Hampton Town Councilwoman
P.S. If someone is in need of assistance, please reach out to me at
April 27, 2020
Pardon my vent: It’s one thing for people who own homes (or even seasonally rent) to be here, but it’s another thing for throngs of cars full of people from out west (and even from New Jersey) just going for a joy ride (not that I much blame them). But they are not just driving out here but also raiding our grocery and pharmacy shelves, rendering them bare for locals.
Worse, they are not just crowding the roads, parking lots, and beaches, but likely bringing the virus and infecting us. Almost none of the cars I see traveling along Route 27 when I go out have town beach permits.
There are also UpIsland motorcycle and bike clubs clogging the roadways, even the back roads. It’s dangerous because people who live here are running and walking on the roads. April now looks like August, only worse.
We need a bumper sticker: IF YOU DON’T LIVE HERE — GO HOME.
April 27, 2020
To The Star:
Mandatory? What me worry? So read two big signs, each posted on Routes 27 and 114 at the entrance to East Hampton Town, that when out in public, masks are required as per New York State and Town of East Hampton! I examined the signs and it is written in plain English, not Chinese, pardon the pun.
Joggers in the latest running gear, bicyclists, babies being pushed in strollers, and pedestrians out and about, and were they in compliance? No hidden caveat, “only locals are required?” Where is the enforcement? The beat goes on among the entitled. Nice signs though!
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
April 24, 2020
To The Star:
Mitch McConnell’s recent statement that as an alternative to providing assistance to the states Congress should amend the bankruptcy code to allow states to renege on their pension obligations, and his assertion that we cannot keep borrowing from future generations, is just the most recent expression of the 40-year Republican drive to hollow out the middle class.
Allowing states to renege on bargained for, earned pension benefits would be a disaster for both the current generations and the generations to follow. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of retirees maintain a decent standard of living because of these pension benefits. Without these pension benefits they become wards of their children and grandchildren and what wealth they accumulated through years of work and saving, usually in the form of the family home, goes to banks and private equity firms to finance the needs of these retirees.
The assertion that we can’t keep borrowing from future generations is both cynical and hypocritical coming from a Republican leader who presided over unprecedented increases in the deficit. Even before the pandemic hit, we were looking at deficits of over a trillion dollars.
Economists of a prior generation would have been unable to comprehend how you can have unemployment as low as 3.4 percent and deficits as high as a trillion dollars, all without any infrastructure spending. The answer is the magic of massive tax cuts and so-called modern monetary theory, which is just borrowing from future generations to cut taxes for the wealthiest among us.
The states have been crushed by the pandemic, and they do not have the ability to borrow at 0 percent by virtue of being able to back their borrowings with the world’s reserve currency. Without help, the states will be required to make massive cuts in those services that are most needed by the middle class and the working poor, such as transportation, health care, education, and services for the elderly, the mentally ill, and the homeless. The states will also be required to make massive layoffs and massive tax increases such as sales taxes and property taxes, which will disproportionately hurt the middle class.
The first tranche of the P.P.P. shows just how warped Republican priorities are. This 900-page bill contained a lobbyist-inserted paragraph that allowed publicly traded national hotel and restaurant chains to treat each separate location and subsidiary as a separate small business to apply for P.P.P. These behemoths were shepherded through the process by big banks, which were given the primary responsibility to administer the fund. The hogs pushed all the small businesses out of the way and ate the trough empty. Now, after who knows how much damage has been done to small business due to the lobbyist-created delay in funds being received by actual small businesses, and solely due to naming and shaming by the press, the Trump administration is trying to recover some of this money through voluntary repayments and the threat of a claw-back.
When the Republicans demanded another $250 billion to replenish the trough, the Democrats said wait, we need oversight, support for health care, funds to be administered by the Small Business Administration and local and regional banks instead of the big banks, and support for the states who have been crushed by the pandemic. Republicans responded: “Stop playing politics,” give us the $250 billion now. It’s urgent to support small business. We’ll deal with your priorities later. Now that the Republicans got their $250 billion, actually $310 billion, McConnell says supporting the states is just giving them free money and we can’t keep borrowing from future generations.
Republicans have been borrowing from future generations to give massive tax cuts to the wealthy for the last 40 years. President Ronald Reagan left office with a drastically reduced tax burden on the wealthy and the highest peacetime deficit in our history. President George W. Bush gave us two massive tax cuts that benefited primarily the wealthy and even before the great recession was running record-high deficits, and President Donald Trump gave us another massive tax cut for the wealthy and had us on track for a $1 trillion deficit even before the pandemic hit. In contrast, President Bill Clinton left office with a surplus and President Barack Obama cut the deficit in half. In fact, President Obama and Republican speaker John Boehner were inches away from a $4 trillion grand bargain modeled after the Simpson-Bowles plan, which would have put us on a firm fiscal footing for the next generation. Unfortunately, Speaker Boehner could not get this $4 trillion grand bargain past his Republican caucus. It is a sad and cynical joke when Republicans talk about fiscal responsibility. Indeed, neatly tucked into the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill was a $70 billion tax cut that benefited primarily real estate moguls with income in excess of $500,000.
Suggesting that states should be allowed to use the bankruptcy code to renege on pension obligations while being willing to appropriate untold billions of dollars to bail out our large businesses if necessary shows a warped sense of business and personal ethics. The big losers in a business bankruptcy are stockholders who took that risk when they bought stock, and lenders who took that risk when they loaned money. A state-sponsored pension, in contrast, is collectively bargained-for compensation for labor. It is not an investment. It is not a loan. McConnell would protect investors and banks but turn his back on collectively bargained-for compensation for labor. Once again, hollowing out the middle class.
April 27, 2020
I represent 1,500 state police officers from three state agencies, many of which are on the front lines actively engaged in various aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic fight. I myself have returned to full duty as this is an all hands-on deck struggle and have been bouncing between the state emergency management staging area in Fort Totten, Queens, and the Jones Beach testing center. Several of my Police Benevolent Association members have been exposed and are recovering.
In short, I have little tolerance for the political armchair activists and politicians who contribute little and seek to advance political agendas and ideology during this time of crisis.
Throughout my 38-year law-enforcement career I have been involved on many levels of the emergency management planning and implementation process. General and President Dwight Eisenhower said it best: “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
Which brings me to Representative Lee Zeldin. I have known and worked with Lee as a New York State assemblyman, senator, and now as a congressman. Since the start of this pandemic, Lee’s top priority has been to ensure my members and all Long Islanders battling coronavirus on the front lines have had the resources we need.
Remembering President Eisenhower’s words, like every battle nothing goes as planned and no matter the best of plans those in the fight have had to think on their feet in a constantly changing, fluid situation. Both Congressman Zeldin and President Trump have been exemplary in addressing our needs and those of our community.
When Personal Protective Equipment became in short supply, Lee worked with New York State and every level of government and health-care workers across Long Island to expand local testing and deliver vital P.P.E. and other resources.
From when we contacted Lee, in just one week he delivered over half a million N95 and surgical masks for Suffolk County.
This week, President Trump appointed Lee to the White House “Opening Up America Again” congressional group to ensure our voices will be heard. Lee understands that opening the economy has to be a carefully measured approach to protect our health and safety.
I can personally tell you that Congressman Zeldin fully and completely understands how important the need is to replenish funds for the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan for small businesses. Lee is committed to ensuring the appropriation of additional funding targeted to our hardest-hit hospitals.
As P.B.A. labor leader, first responder, and East Hampton Town Republican Committee chairman I cannot express strongly enough how important expanding direct funding for state and local governments impacted for coronavirus-related expenditures are, and Lee is fully on board.
As I started out, I knew Representative Lee Zeldin for years and could not think of a more dedicated congressman than Lee Zeldin. During this time of need remember those less fortunate, do something positive, check on an elderly neighbor or someone who you know is less financially stable. Donate to our local food pantry at 631-324-2300 or online at www.easthamptonfoodpantry.org, and most important, love your neighbor.
The East Hampton Republican Committee is the local party dedicated to working families, a living wage, environmental conservation, equality, diversity, and economic development for all. We believe in bipartisan solutions regardless of financial status or political party affiliation. Access to the government should not be based on what you can afford or how much you donate to a national or local political party. Town government should be fair, equitable, open, and transparent to all.
Come and check us out at our next monthly meeting. We will not judge, nor will we demand that you follow a national, state, or New York City political doctrine. Let us work together for a better East Hampton for all.
East Hampton Town
Isn’t on Board
April 26, 2020
To The Star:
In 2005, President Bush made an impassioned speech after observing the effects of the SARS virus. In 2014, President Obama made a similar speech after dealing with Ebola. Both presidents talked about the need for the U.S. to be conscious of the possibility of another pandemic, to be vigilant, equipped, and completely prepared. Both presidents were serious, somber, and apolitical.
When faced with the reality of Covid-19, President Trump was cavalier, dismissive, and uninterested. In 2020, Trump has made daily speeches explaining why he was completely unprepared for Covid-19.
Trump’s response to Bush and Obama was to tear apart the pandemic response and research capacity that had already been put in place. He did this as part of his MAGA program to “lead the world by making America great,” not by participation in world organizations. His position was clear and unambiguous. Screw the world. America first.
Trump’s response to the virus was contaminated by political concerns and the problem didn’t receive the necessary consideration until it had spread through out the country. (See Vox article of April 26 by Sara Morrison to understand the testing conundrum.)
Unfortunately, Covid-19 isn’t on board the MAGA train. Because of our government’s attitude and incompetence we are looking at 900,000 positive cases, 60,000 deaths, and a shut-down economy, with no clue about how to resolve the viral and economic disasters. The virus is the cause of our misery; we are completely at its mercy.
In time, we will figure out a treatment and eventually a vaccine, but time doesn’t work for our economy. We are faced with the choice of going back to work and risking a really massive pandemic with millions of deaths or staying sheltered and watching our economy rapidly slip into a depression.
The 2009 crash was a small wave compared to our current tsunami. We poured billions into big businesses, and they were able to eventually right themselves. The damage to individuals far outweighed the damage to the business community. Most of those damaged by the 2009 crisis remain damaged today.
Today we need to be thinking more about 1929 and the Depression. The entire economy collapsed and there was little work for anyone. If it had been possible to create jobs we could have revived the economy and saved the country. It wasn’t and we didn’t.
The current situation is that until we resolve the virus problem, the economy remains in crisis. We possess the wealth and the financial tools to do the job but have never been politically or philosophically willing to do it. Yet, if we can’t work there is no way to keep the bottom 50 percent of the work force afloat for a couple of months without extreme governmental intervention.
Our problem is a function of the unequal distribution of wealth in the country combined with and exacerbated by an inadequate safety net that puts the bottom 50 percent of the population at risk. Given that corporations and the wealthiest Americans have access to unlimited sums of money at extremely low interest rates, they have no need for government intervention on their behalf. Logically, the government should direct almost all of its financial resources toward working and middle-class Americans and small businesses, the most at-risk sector of our economy.
Our reality is that 40 percent of the country couldn’t pay a $600 emergency bill without forgoing rent or electric or some other bills. They live with no margin for safety without investments or savings. Day-to-day or close to it. Unlike Europe, where extensive safety nets protect almost everyone, we have a short-term hope and a prayer.
The world is shocked by the millions of workers filing for unemployment and by the long lines of cars at local food banks. The image of America’s wealth and prosperity looks more like the emperor’s new clothes than Ralph Lauren. Stepping up and doing the right thing means providing support for those who need it most and maybe even beginning the process of redistributing wealth. F.D.R.’s New Deal set the concept of a safety net in motion as a response to the Depression. Republicans have ripped much of it away in response to greed and free markets. This crisis has laid bare this enormous inadequacy in our system. Maybe it’s time to revisit F.D.R.?
Money and Power
April 24, 2020
To The Star:
As we reflect over the past years of this Republican administration and prepare for our up and coming national election, we need to pause and take into account what has evolved. We now know that all Republicans are not racists, but we can all agree that all racists did vote for Trump.
It has been confirmed by Republicans themselves that they are not dedicated to working families, a living wage, environmental conservation, equality, diversity, or economic development for all. They do not believe in bipartisan solutions, but they do believe in money and power. Sound familiar?
The same Republicans who said President Barack Obama was a Muslim think Trump is a Christian. Then the Republicans rally around God and country. L.O.L!
The Republican values we have witnessed are their true colors. The Republican part is MAGA embarrassment!
Bind the Nation
April 27, 2020
In many ways our country is divided politically. Here are a few ideas that do not favor any political point of view and would be especially helpful to the nation over time.
Limit the terms of federal court appointments to 20 years. This will, among other benefits, ensure a greater turnover in the Supreme Court and prevent justices who are past their prime from deciding complex issues.
Place term limits on the Senate and House of Representatives. I suggest 12 years. An elected official who is too long in one position runs low on new good ideas and may have given up the fight for right in favor of re-election.
Make English the official national language. Language is one of the few things that can bind the nation together.
The age for suffrage should be 21. If an 18-year-old is considered not mature enough to make decisions about smoking or drinking, how can they be wise enough to help elect a president, senator, or representative? Exceptions should be made for those willing to risk their lives and/or health for the greater good — military, police, fire, etc.
Only those eligible to vote should be able to vote. Proof of eligibility should be presented at each voting location at every election.
Start an I.R.S. $25 taxpayer lottery option. To participate you could use your refund up to $25 or send a check for $25. The lottery money would be divided between the federal government, state governments, and winning taxpaying citizens.
New York City
April 20, 2020
To The Star:
President Trump: If the U.S.A. had implemented containment measures earlier in the novel corona outbreak no one is going to deny that lives could have been saved.
“If,” the inconspicuous wily, sly noun, conveniently accessible for mischief, lurking at crossroads, junctions to destinies, triumphs or catastrophes, fortunes or ruin, fame or oblivion.
If Hillary had heeded advice to pay attention, and campaigned in the Rust Belt states, and cut out the word “deplorables??
If in 1935, the former World War I Allies, England, France, Belgium, Italy, and the U.S.A. had stopped, pushed back Hitler, the Nazis from militarizing the Rhineland, reinforcing, fortifying the Versailles Treaty? If the Japanese fleet heading toward Pearl Harbor had been detected?
If at the end of World War II the Allies, at their peak of power, concurred with Winston Churchill’s highly secret plan, Operation “Unthinkable,” to surprise attack the exhausted Russians to avert the foreseeable, inevitable Russian imposition of their will on all of Eastern Europe, it certainly would have hindered the formation of the current China.
(Yes, believe it or not, this was seriously considered.)
If President Clinton had killed Osama bin Laden, which he talked openly about, but passed. “I nearly got him, and could have killed him, but I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar, in Afghanistan, and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him, so I just did not do it.”
If he had taken action, there would not have been a 9/11, and if there would not have been a 9/11, there would not have been an Afghanistan, and if there would not have been an Afghanistan, there would not been have been an Iraq. Yes, Mr. President, you are not alone, you are in very pre-eminent company. How about one more ?if,? if I may.
If Nancy Pelosi, Democrat, had an eye and courage to discern a pivotal perspective of one of their own, Governor Cuomo’s collaboration with the president, “President Trump will have no fight with me. This is not a time for politics, and it is no time to fight. I put my hand out in total partnership, cooperation with the president.” What if they transform, metamorphose, what a country this could be.
EDWARD A. WAGSCHAL
April 23, 2020
I love dogs as much as anyone. I also believe that any dog owner has a responsibility to ensure that their pet does not leave any “presents” on public or private property. Sadly, and from anecdotal evidence — noted during the recent population uptick — not everyone seems to share this view. Perhaps fines could be increased/enforced to rectify this?
April 24, 2020
To the Editor:
I was so pleased to see the news that the East Hampton Town Board has decided to allow small groups of seating arrangements in food stores, as well as all the other arrangements being made so that we can move on to resuming our lives, albeit cautiously.
However, I was saddened by the last paragraph regarding the abundance of dog feces being left on the village streets.
Every year I am dismayed at the behavior of those who do not pick up whether on the streets or at bay and ocean beaches. I am tired of picking up after you (which I do) and am tired of saying it: I do not want to lose my right to take my dog to the beach because of you!
I was using a walker and crutches for three months this year due to an injury, but I still managed to pick up my dog’s poop! You are clearly not responsible dog owners if you don’t! Again:
Pick up after your dog. Not only is it the law, it is disrespectful and disgusting!
PATRICIA ANHOLT HABR
April 24, 2020
To the Editor:
Our sincere thanks to the Village Board of Trustees who so expeditiously amended the current code to allow food stores like delicatessens and bakeries to provide up to 16 seats to their clientele. How wonderful it will be to see moms and dads share an afternoon snack when the kids are let out of school to chat about the day’s events. How wonderful and inviting to our summer friends enjoying our beautiful East Hampton Village to be able to plan the day’s events with their friends. How wonderful is it to have our community workers enjoy coffee in the morning by themselves or with others without having to sit in their cars or trucks.
It is a good first step to making East Hampton Village a more welcoming environment. Again, many thanks.
GUSTY and JACK FOLKS
Does Not Hesitate
April 26, 2020
I am writing to endorse Ray Harden for village trustee. Ray is a dedicated public servant. He has served as chief of the East Hampton Fire Department, currently serves as Suffolk County fire coordinator, and is a class-A firefighter. He is vice chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, a member of the town licensing board, and president of the East Hampton Fire Department Benevolent Association.
In his professional life, Ray worked closely with Ben Krupinski, until Ben’s untimely death in 2018, and believes deeply that we each have a responsibility to care for our community and those who need support — from the elderly to our local churches. Ray does not hesitate to put his money where his mouth is, for example, when the village needs a new roof for the gazebo in Herrick Park or local schools need help constructing a playground.
Ray is a devoted father and grandfather. He resides in the village and understands that the interests of year-round residents and seasonal homeowners are dependent on strong leadership.
As candidates compete for our vote in this election cycle, Ray represents those of us who require little bluster and perform great jobs by the willingness to show up and get the job done.
I hope you will support my friend Ray Harden for village trustee.
April 27, 2020
Pat and I and the whole Ryan clan support Barbara Borsack’s candidacy for mayor of the Village of East Hampton.
She has been and is a wonderful resource for our community!
God Bless America,
JOHN and PATRICIA RYAN
April 25, 2020
Hope you, your staff, and your family are managing in these difficult (understatement) times. I do not, as you know, live or have property in East Hampton Village, yet I am writing this letter to The Star in support of Jerry Larsen for village mayor.
In the past I have worked with Mr. Larsen, and I can say without reservation that he is one of East Hampton’s finest kind, dedicated, capable, diligent, knowledgeable, and willing when necessary to make the tough decisions.
I hope those who are village voters support Jerry Larsen for their mayor whenever that election ends up being. Everything is so uncertain in these times.
April 25, 2020
How strange in the midst of these unprecedented times, when living in a peaceful village should be the greatest comfort, to have our local election become a smear campaign on par with the vulgarities we are forced to witness in the White House. Heretofore, decades of no-contest mayorship have perhaps lulled us into forgetting what a contentious campaign looks like. It is not pretty.
With due consideration, and despite its ridiculous name, I am supporting the Fish Hooks Party because I think Tiger Graham and Rose Brown have the ability to get things done. Things do need to change, incrementally, as too many good ideas in past years have been shelved, suppressed, sent to committees, or just plain ignored. For me, the kiss of death was a meeting a year or so ago at which the mayor and the village board heard the position of local business owners and the leaders of our arts organizations regarding tented events, music, and such. Their pleas were squelched with the unfortunate and now historic words, “This is dead in the water.”
My personal pet project is to get the Natural Trail designated as a wildlife preserve or reserve (understanding that the word sanctuary carries with it enormous controls). Whether this happens or not, I believe that Tiger Graham as mayor, with the very capable Rose Brown and Dave Driscoll as trustees, will at least listen and weigh this matter, and many others of importance to our village, intelligently, before just saying “No.”
With wishes for safety and peace to all,
April 27, 2020
To the Editor,
I want to go on the record endorsing the Fish Hooks Party — Tiger Graham for mayor and Dave Driscoll for trustee. Tiger and Rose Brown have worked efficiently on the village board for the past two years. They bring excellent credentials to their positions. Tiger will transfer these skills to the position of mayor.
I have known Tiger for 40 years, and have always known him to be a man of integrity. I served with him on the board of the historical society when he was president. He ran a smooth and orderly organization. I served with Rose on the planning board and found her to be intelligent, fair, competent, and knowledgeable.
I have known Dave personally for 50 years. I know him to be energetic, articulate, and conscientious. He has been a part of this community since he was a child. He and his sister spent summers on Meadow Way since they were children. Dave and his wife ran the Chowder Bowl at Main Beach for over 30 years.
Dave retired as the commanding officer of the New York Police Department harbor unit. He developed a comprehensive plan for homeland security while serving in this role. The skill sets he will bring to East Hampton Village are planning and execution, team leadership, budgeting, and good interpersonal skills.
The Fish Hooks Party for me represents the middle ground. They are willing to acknowledge all positions and understand that people want to be heard, validated, and understood. Is there a middle ground? I believe there is. We do need some change in our village, but not radical change.
We must acknowledge that we do have tourism and things have changed. We need to work toward sensible and logical solutions to traffic, overcrowding, and growth in general. Older residents with ties to the community need to stay put. Smart growth strategies can help communities achieve their goals for growth and development while maintaining their distinctive local character. The Fish Hooks Party has the candidates with the ability to steer our village into the future.
JOHN S. TARBET
April 26, 2020
Isolation in this time of coronavirus has made me aware of how important our newspapers are in East Hampton. In reading all of the papers this last week, I came across an article on Page A17 in the East Hampton Press Business Section called “McGivern Joins Firm.”
Conflicts of interest involve a person with two relationships that might compete with each other for a person’s loyalties. For example, the person might have a loyalty to the Town of East Hampton’s position on the Zoning Board of Appeals, as does Joan Morgan McGivern, and now a loyalty to the law firm of Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin and Quartararo, which just hired her. It seems like this conflict might very well exist as Democratic Committee boss and partner in the law firm, Chris Kelley, appears often before this Z.B.A. board.
It is extremely likely that this is a conflict of interest when Ms. McGivern is quoted as saying, “I am pleased to join this firm and look forward to working with the growing number of real estate and zoning and land-use clients.” I am also sure that the additional quote of Stephen Latham, senior partner, that she will be an asset to the firm is right on target. Ms. McGivern should resign from the Z.B.A.
This has been edited to remove a letter that was submitted with a fraudulent name: Timothy Barnes. There is no such person in East Hampton.