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Letters to the Editor for May 14, 2020

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 17:16

One East Hampton
East Hampton
May 11, 2020

Dear David,

The letters to the editor recently have really been a bit of a bummer so I thought I might put in a positive one, if I may. There will be plenty of people and entities to thank in the near future but there is one that I feel we should point out now and separately from the others.

I am chief of the East Hampton Village Ambulance Association, and as such, it is my responsibility to put into place the process in which we decontaminate our ambulances after Covid-19 calls or even those in which we suspect are positive. Decontamination against something that you cannot see is a task that can play tricks on the mind: “Did I miss a surface, a radio, a door handle? Did I air it out long enough. Did I wear the proper P.P.E. during the decontamination?” The kind of stuff that keeps one awake at night.

For us, the gold standard for “D-con” is using something called an AeroClave. (We actually have a company come four times a year to use their AeroClave just for good measure.) It is an aerosol fogger that does all the work for you on all the surfaces. It is a “set-it-and-forget-it” type thing. Sixteen minutes and it is complete! Can you imagine the demand for these contraptions? Huge to say the least, aside from the fact that they run about $20,000. Because of a very generous donation, we ordered one. The production time is 12 to 14 weeks.

In the meantime, the Springs Fire District had ordered one very early and received it last week. “Lucky Springs,” we thought. And then the offer came. East Hampton Village Ambulance can use the Springs Fire District AeroClave anytime we have a Covid-19 call! Day or night! We are still blown away at this extremely kind offer.

People hear about the rivalries between districts all the time. Well guess what, we do in fact work together on a regular basis through our mutual aid agreements. And even more than that, we have each other’s backs when it’s not actually written in an agreement, but it is just neighbor helping neighbor. We are all one East Hampton when it is all said and done. Springs Fire District has set the finest example of just that.

On behalf of the E.H.V.A.A. membership, and all of our patients, thank you, Springs Fire District.



East Hampton Village

Ambulance Association


Caring and Loving
May 11, 2020

Dear David:

We are writing to thank the Amagansett Fire Department and its members for their never-ending generosity, their kindheartedness and compassion. During these challenging and troubling times the members of the Amagansett Fire Department, as they always have, gave of themselves and their time in a caring and loving way. They celebrated what life here is all about — neighbors, friendship, giving back, caring, compassion, and community. Our family is thankful to know this special group of people and to have them in our lives. We understand the voluntary services they provide and support them fully in all they do. We are truly blessed to be living in a beautiful place where the joys of family and friends are celebrated.

We would also like to thank the East Hampton Village and Town Police Departments for their service during these troubling times. Thank you East Hampton Village Officer Chris Jack and East Hampton Town Officer Pat Royal for your time, energy, and being a part of this community and keeping it safe.




Diagnostic Tests
East Hampton
May 11, 2020

Dear Editor:

I’m pleased to confirm that a new Covid-19 testing site will be opening this week in East Hampton. Working in cooperation with Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, who reached out to me to coordinate with the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation, which will provide initial funding, and Southampton Hospital, Hudson River Health Care has been engaged to perform the diagnostic testing.

Diagnostic tests for Covid-19 will be available on Wednesdays and Fridays by appointment (845-553-8030) beginning on May 15. This test site will be located on Pantigo Place near the East Hampton Little League fields adjacent to the town offices and East Hampton Healthcare offices. Testing will be available to first responders, health-care workers, and essential employees, such as food-service workers, delivery workers, and human services providers. The full list is can be found on the internet at Coronavirus.Health.NY.Gov.

Testing is available for the general public who may have Covid-19 symptoms or those who have been in contact with someone positive for Covid-19. I was happy to work with Mr. Van Scoyoc in facilitating this project, and am grateful that we’ll have the ability to access this additional testing right here in East Hampton. Expanding the scope of testing is a critical part of keeping our residents safe and an important component toward reopening our economy and returning to some semblance of normal.

The East Hampton Healthcare Foundation will provide the financial support needed initially, and will accept donations to support continued testing. Donations can be sent to the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation at 200 Pantigo Place, Suite M, East Hampton, N.Y. 11937, or online at



Deputy Mayor

East Hampton Village


V.E. Day
East Hampton
May 7, 2020


The Belgian flag being flown in East Hampton Village on May 8 is to commemorate the 75th anniversary of V.E. Day — 1945. This flag was flown over Antwerp, Belgium, that day, and was presented to the grandfather and mother of an East Hampton Village Belgian-born employee for work with the Belgian Resistance during World War II — and also to honor the Greatest Generation for making that day possible 75 years ago.




May 6, 2020


We realize this has been a difficult and challenging time for everyone, and we hope you will be able to find some solace in the strength of our community. We are grateful to our faculty and staff for how they came together to continue to educate our students. Also, a special thank-you to the East Hampton School District for providing all Springs students in need with breakfast and lunch since March 18. We must also extend a thank-you to Eleanor Whitmore, who provided childcare for the children of essential workers. We are extremely grateful to OLA and Michael Donovan for the generous donation of chrome books for 150 second and third graders.

I would like to take this opportunity to provide an update on our bond construction projects. We are pleased to announce that phase one is complete, which included a roof replacement and a state-of-the-art nitrogen-reducing septic system on our school grounds.

As we continue to move forward with phase two of the project, it is expected that renovations this summer will cause disruption and potential construction noise on our grounds. It is our intention to ensure our community residents are aware of these potential disturbances. School construction is exempt from the governor’s current executive order, and work is permitted as long as proper protocols and guidelines are followed with respect to social distancing.

All Springs summer programs will take place at East Hampton Middle School if the governor’s orders are lifted. Please check our website for weekly updates regarding our construction.

Student registration can take place completely online. Please go to our website,

Thank you again for your support. Stay safe.



Springs School


Deserving Hearts
May 8, 2020

Dear David,

I am very pleased that there are those among us [except for Springs] who do not moan about their school taxes and have upped their giving to East End for Opportunity’s scholarships threefold! It will be a video ceremony and our grantees will do the “They like me, they like me!” bit, or push-ups or whatever their deserving hearts come up with.

I am proud that East Hampton gets the value in supporting who these students can become. Last year the kitty was over $300 grand!

To all the wonderful folk that wrote a check to support the East Hampton High School Class of 2020: Thank you!


East End for Opportunity


Remain Mysterious
East Hampton
May 5, 2020

Hi David,

Regarding your East Hampton Star influenza column “Mast-Head Spanish Flu”: maybe consider a re-title? I didn’t notice reference to “Spanish flu” in the image of the historic East Hampton Star page, but the label “Spanish flu” is kind of controversial, especially now with the “China” or “Wuhan” virus stuff.

By November 1918, the influenza epidemic had been already widely reported in Spain, a neutral country in World War I. The first reported cases in the United States had happened a half-year earlier — according to the C.D.C., a five-fold increase inside a March week in a Kansas military facility, from which numerous soldiers were deployed.

Concerned about devastating war news and morale, the combatant states kind of agreed to limit flu publicity in the era, pre-broadcast radio, so knowledge of the flu was first most widely known due to neutral Spain’s publicizing of it, especially after it was apparently contracted by its King Alphonso. Hence the name “Spanish flu,” though its origins remain mysterious (Kansas? France? China? Pretty sure definitely not Spain).

It is interesting to read the reports from The Star regarding precautions from over a hundred years ago and that is so much appreciated.



The Culprits
East Hampton
May 10, 2020

To the Editor:

For a resident who enjoys The Star’s exemplary policy of publishing all letters, the influenza scare has had a bright spot! Lots of letters! I first check them online, then don my mask and go out to buy the real thing.

Like many, I have spent hours tracking the crisis online, but The Star is the indispensable local angle. In a sense, one understands broad generalizations best if one can see them exemplified around you — the local angle.

I think our country is in trouble and it will be for the long term. From the perspective of the individual, perhaps it will be “permanent.” Illness and death from the new flu virus have not been exceptional, although compressed into a fairly short time (as always when new diseases pop up), clustered geographically (New York City looks like world champ), and highly concentrated in the usual groups (the oldest old, already sick, institutionalized).

The catastrophe, instead, has been the response. The first national lockdown in American history, the first government shuttering of businesses across the board, and the first virtual house arrest of all citizens: Obviously, these are sledgehammer blows to the skull of our economy. Employment, business earnings, profits, savings, and investments are likely damaged for decades to come.

It was not necessary. It was not constitutional. It was not even quite sane.

I know many readers, hearing “Donald Trump,” become angry enough to spit venom. His reaction to the unfolding problem, then alarm, then crisis, then panic was in real time. Circumstances changed, he changed. Including the thinking of the president. I am a Trump supporter, so I try, of course, to see any positives.

To me, they were Mr. Trump’s restraint (he never went along with a national lockdown), and his reiterated emphasis that the epidemic is a big problem — immediate, frightening, unpredictable, with heartbreaking losses. But lockdown is a big problem. No population can survive the legal denial of their livelihoods. Not even briefly. Government created what may be the core disaster when it decided it could pick up the tab. Look at the numbers for Federal Reserve printing of new money. Look at new government borrowing ($3 trillion, so far). A Fed balance sheet already insupportable has become exploded. We now have tens of trillions of debt for following generations to pay. And we have delivered a body blow to the economic production supposed to pay for it all some century.

For me, the culprits are the “lockdown” governors, led by the likes of Andrew Cuomo, and the possibly well-meaning bureaucratic wise men who are the new superstars of TV.

No country long survives turning dictatorial power over to its politicians and bureaucrats. It is not their job to “run” the country, the economy, everyone’s business, everyone’s job, everyone’s life. The U.S. Constitution delegates to government no such right. Nor could our representatives and public servants ever succeed in such a mission.

The Centers for Disease Control, we trust, understands epidemics and can advise on steps; its scientists not qualified, even if they had the right, to advise on totalitarian controls. Governors, we grimly hope, can protect us from crime and deliver justice through the courts. It is a violation of every principle of American government for them to hand down every dictate they imagine might be for the public good.

How did we let ourselves be cowed, panicked, into this? Well, it came fast. And at the beginning was mostly information and advice. A news media that feeds on sensation, shock, fear, and anger, and features nonstop opinionating, blew up the crisis until it filled the screen 24/7. Nothing else was on the screen.

You might call it politically (and media) induced “madness of crowds,” but the public remained remarkably calm in the circumstances. The madness was of politicians ravening for higher office, by the media, and by legions of “opinion makers” synergistically justifying a truly shocking grab at power. In a few short months, exercise of that power has destroyed our economy, run roughshod over individual rights, and set precedents for exercise of unlimited government power incompatible with a constitutional republic.

As the first active protests and limited rebellions began across America, a saving grace (here is my pro-Trump line) was the America’s commander in chief had become the chief spokesman for “opening up,” back to business. People desperate enough to defy the law felt their view was represented at the top.

Thus far, we have seen mostly the policies/actions/hammer blows. Next, and for a long time, we will see the consequences for our lives.



Complete Meals
East Hampton
May 9, 2020

To the Editor:

During this stay at home because of the Covid-19, I would like to thank the East Hampton Senior Center for taking care of all the seniors. They have been delivering meals to our homes. We get five complete meals every week with enough for lunch and dinner.

The entire staff at the center is involved in this endeavor. We are lucky to live in East Hampton. We are still waiting for the town to start building our new center.



I Am Lucky
East Hampton
May 11, 2020

Dear David,

This is a piece I wrote to The Times (they didn’t publish it) while living as we all are in this Covid nightmare. I am fine now, and don’t know if I had it or not. I can tell you that being sick at a time when the thought that it could be Covid-19, was terrifying. It wasn’t, as far as I know. I haven’t had the antibody test yet, but I will. I hope we all recover from this awful time and remember our shared humanity. Writing about it, for me, is one way to cope.

Whether it is the rage we feel against the dysfunctional government mishandling of this at the top, or the sadness of not knowing what to do while people die who we know and don’t know. As human beings, we are all in this together. There’s frustration out here due to selfish people who won’t comply and won’t stay in their own backyards, literally. Fresh air is fresh air, last time I checked. At the very least, step away from everyone you see publicly, be considerate, and wear a mask. You don’t know if you’re a carrier. And I don’t know where you’ve been; I’ve been home.

It is not only the constant being inside, not going to an outside-the-house job and not socializing that is abnormal. It is the uncertainty and length and depth of this pandemic. What we are learning about each other in the process and how it will change us forever, hopefully for the better, is paramount to our collective healing.

My mother is in an assisted living facility in a New York City borough I cannot go to, because I am quarantined on the very end of Long Island awaiting my Covid-19 test results. Besides, I am two hours away from her facility, and we were told not to travel into the city and vice versa. I cannot see my young grandchildren, because I might infect them if my Covid-19 test comes back positive. I haven’t seen them, except though the kitchen window. I wave through the glass and blow kisses and they do the same.

I was sick for weeks with respiratory flu symptoms in March, so I kept myself to myself, and only went out to see my doctor, twice. He gave me nothing as far as medicine goes, though I was weak, had a painful sore throat and a barking cough for over a week. And I was sick twice, once in January, in California, and once in mid-February, in Florida. “It is probably viral,” he said at the first visit in March. At the second visit a week later and still sick, I was masked and whisked off to an examining room, because now we were in real pandemic reality. It was out here, too.

Because of the late response to this, there was no Covid-19 testing available yet, even if my doctor had thought I should have one. “There are no tests available out here,” he said, sadly. “We will do a nasal swab and test for regular flu. Then you will go home, hydrate, and rest.” Which I did. The regular flu test was negative. I didn’t get better. When I coughed up blood that Sunday morning, now late March, he said a chest X-ray was in order to rule out pneumonia. The X-ray came back clear, so a Covid test was now a possibility for me with my continued cough and bloody sputum and malaise and a bout of bowels in an uproar.

I called Stony Brook Hospital, which was the closest and only testing site. Our local hospital, Southampton, still had a shortage of tests when they finally got any at all. So I called the Stony Brook hotline and was put on a list. I called them back days later and was told they were only testing health workers and severely symptomatic patients. So I called a Hampton Bays urgent care Go Health that was testing people. No dice. I was not a Northwell patient nor a health worker, nor a person with pre-existing medical issues. I was just sick and they were sorry. I then called Riverhead Pro Health, another Northwell urgent care that would test me, but they were booked solid for that whole week. “Call us early in the morning, every day.” I called, and they had an appointment for the following Monday. I let out a breath. Meanwhile, I continued to self-quarantine and wave to my grandkiddies from my kitchen window and talk to my 89-year-old mother on the phone where she was on lockdown at her elder home.

I had the test and while it was “not pleasant,” as the nurse who administered it said it wouldn’t be, I was glad to be tested and see if I would be in the clear. Or not. I began to feel better but the cough remains, so I, of course, am self-quarantining as usual for me since I was sick, and as the nurse told me to at the testing site. I have to wait a week to 10 days for my results. I am lucky I don’t need to go out to a job; I write at home, freelance articles and fiction.

I don’t get paid; I am unofficially published and no longer write for the newspaper I did eight years ago. But my husband gets paid and he can go to his office where no one is, bar one or two people, and it is considered “essential.”

It isn’t really, it is landscaping, but we live on the East End, and while we are well north of the highway, the south of the highway folks need their privet trimmed, apparently, and their lawns mowed.

I am not bored or frustrated or depressed, but I am angry about our country’s poor response early on, that put all of us in grave danger. My mother is 89, with C.O.P.D.; if she gets this dreaded plague, she is done.

That weighs on my and my sister’s minds daily. We try to have faith like mom has, but we aren’t as devout, though lately I have called upon all the big guns to help us all nationally and globally fight this scourge on our health and humanity. Buddha says, “Nothing is permanent.” God says, “Be still and know (Me),” Guan Yin, Goddess of Compassion, watches over everyone with her healing ways. I pray to anyone who might be listening.

When we flatten the curve, reduce the numbers of people dying, and finally come out of the woods healthy, and with a desire to give thanks and hug our fellow man and woman, I will feel better. In the meantime, I play some Miles Davis, write, and wait.



Face Masks
May 9, 2020

Dear David:

In any war, participants use weapons at hand. In the war on Covid-19, we have a limited but simple and effective arsenal. Chief among these are surgical face masks. Kudos to East Hampton Village for mandating use of these in public. However, the majority (98 percent in recent samples) of folks wandering down the Amagansett lanes either haven’t gotten the message, or don’t wish, for reasons unknown, to join in this battle. While they may feel they aren’t infected so no need for a mask, they may not know if they are infected.

We have a high-risk and elderly population here that is vulnerable. Masks protect these folks. Should residents come down with Covid (through the noncompliance of others) it can place a huge burden on our terrific police and emergency medical technicians. We need everyone to get off the sidelines and do their part in this fight. If not, we risk a very long and sad war.




May 8, 2020

Dear Editor:

Springs is currently experiencing a significant increase in those who have contracted Covid-19. There are some unique demographics and community characteristics in Springs. We have a large retirement population, a substantial number of the work force, few retail operations, and we are the most densely populated hamlet.

In order to curtail the increased spread of Covid-19, we should better understand if there are any identifiable patterns among those testing positive that are contributing to its occurrence.

In my opinion the town needs to play a more central role in determining the causative factors.



Unhealthy Obsession
May 11, 2020

Dear David,

Thank you for the voice of reason in your editorials in these dire times of disinformation and irrational fears. The numbers are still not adding up. There still is no rational basis for the overreaching action taken by our governments. If these actions are indeed illegal and unjustified, the actors need to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

I believe it is criminal to usurp the constitutional rights of the people without justification based on science and fact; there needs to be a rational basis for doing so. There is no data that support such actions. The psy-ops of overexaggeration, spreading irrational fears was epic, skillfully executed and masterfully implemented through hysteria and censorship akin to communist regimes. Even dissent is prohibited, so folks like you or me have lost our fundamental freedom of speech if we dare speak up at all.

Never in the history of the United States have we quarantined the healthy. In every influenza season we reached herd immunity and then the virus died off. How do we reach herd immunity if the herd is quarantined?

Why is there such an unhealthy obsession with every coronavirus case and death? In last year’s flu season there were up to 58,000,000 cases and up to 95,000 deaths in the U.S.A. alone. There was no lockdown, masks, or businesses closed down. Why? Last year, 38,800 people died in car accidents and 4,400,000 people were injured seriously enough to require medical attention, 647,457 died from heart disease, 599,108 died from cancer, 169,201 died from unintentional accidents, 106,201 died from lower respiratory diseases, 146,383 died from stroke, 121,404 died from Alzheimer’s disease, and 83,564 died from diabetes.

Our son died in a car accident, I almost died in a motorcycle accident, and our family has been hit hard from cancer, my father died from Alzheimer’s, so all these statistics are very real to me. Why isn’t there any obsession with these deaths? Why don’t they count?

On May 11 in the U.S.A. alone there were only 1,369,943 COVID-19 cases and only 80,846 died. Why the irrational fears? Where is the justification to shred the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights Where is the justification for a dictatorial town supervisor and New York State governor to decide which businesses live and which die?

Did the lockdown work? Was shredding the Constitution worth it? There are no data worldwide that substantiate these drastic actions. New York State’s Covid-19 death rate is 1,378/one million population. Greater than any country in the world. Germany allowed all factories to be fully operational with only local lockdown restrictions; the restrictions have been lifted with a death rate of only 90/one million population. Sweden’s most controversial actions kept grade schools open, restaurants open. Except for social distancing requirements, they protected the most vulnerable while the healthy went about their lives as usual, hoping to soon reach herd immunity with only 322 deaths/one million population. Italy has 505 deaths/one million population, France has 404 deaths/one million, Belgium has 751 deaths/one million, Spain has 572, and the U.K. has 472 deaths/one million, all with full lockdown restrictions. There is no correlation. Sweden said lockdown was the experiment; it treated Covid-19 like any other influenza season.

Did New York State’s arbitrary and discriminatory nonessential business restrictions work? Absolutely not! With the highest death rate in the world, our supervisor and governor need to come to grips with what went wrong instead of taking political victory laps. Our supervisor needs to get sober from his drunken stupor of illegal, self-imposed power, look at the local data, and order his people back to work. Our supervisor needs to take financial responsibility for all the businesses he’s ruined. The governor also needs to be held accountable. These draconian restrictions need to end.




Power Grab
East Hampton
May 8, 2020

Dear Editor,

I read with interest your editorial titled “Town Power Grab Bears Watching.”

During the campaign for East Hampton Town supervisor in 2017, I brought up my extensive experience in governmental operations and management. In the context of those discussions, I detailed my expertise in emergency management and many facets that are involved in a complicated emergency management plan. From asset/resource management to public and private sector response, including everything in between, I detailed the necessity for adequate executable plans.

When the comment was made that then-Councilman Van Scoyoc had experience running the town during a snowstorm while Supervisor Cantwell was out of town, my retort was simply at best a snowstorm is a regular periodic weather event.

The elected town board’s response to the coronavirus pandemic would at best be graded F for failure by professional standards. One has only to look next door to how Southampton Town Supervisor Schneiderman responded or to the signs that popped up weeks after the fact regarding face masks that incorrectly stated Governor Cuomo’s executive order as examples of the town’s ineffectiveness.

The exception, of course, remains the actual town employees. These dedicated, public-sector employees, despite being grossly underpaid and disenfranchised by the town board, remained on the front lines making sure that the town government still functioned. I would be remiss not to point out that before the pandemic with one of the best economies in over 50 years, the town board offered these dedicated employees a substandard contract. So bad was the offer that despite being two years without an agreement, the employees were left with no alternative but to seek mediation.

Police Chief Mike Sarlo, as you noted, was able to pool on his professional experience as would be expected of any police administrator. While elected leaders from various levels of government were fulfilling the task of keeping their constituents informed for many weeks, Chief Sarlo was the only semblance of a link to the town board’s emergency management response. Daily communications with constituents is a critical component of emergency management. Aside from Chief Sarlo, the consensus is the East Hampton Town Board has been and continues to lead from behind.

I am in total agreement that there is great cause for concern that East Hampton, at this point, remains under the reorganized town government structure. East Hampton, like it or not, is at early summer population levels. The last thing East Hampton needs at this point is a governmental structure that effectively diminishes the representation of some elected town board members. Divisive, one-party super-majority politics already plague the town board. Ultimately the needs of residents will not and cannot be met by a town board that has abdicated its responsibility and consolidated power in the hands of one or two persons.

Thomas Jefferson is quoted. “A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it when acquired.”

In the meantime, do something positive: Check on an elderly neighbor or someone you know is less financially stable. Donate to our local food pantry at 631-324-2300 or online at 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

Republican Committee


All Aspects
May 11, 2020

Dear David,

Your headline “Town Power Grab Bears Watching” is misinformed and misleading. You allege “the shift consolidated power in Peter Van Scoyoc’s office and demoted the rest of the town board to bystander status.” On the contrary, all town board members, individually and collectively, remain in charge of all aspects of town government.

For example, I am still deputy supervisor and all that the title confers, responsible for areas of town government that are important in keeping the town functioning as normally as possible in spite of a pandemic. The Planning Department is moving applications along for consideration by the planning board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Architectural Review Board. The assessor’s office has done a masterful job in completing the rolls for 2021 a full month before New York State moved the date to June 1.

To you, they may not be “virus critical activities,” but to our citizens involved in these processes they are critical parts of their livelihoods. The power structure about which you complain is in place to coordinate communication and actions relative to Covid-19, not to usurp normal government functions. The town board’s processes and meetings continue with unabridged power. Sadly, your editorial misinforms the public, and you have used the news media not as a form of comfort, but as a source of false distress.




Town of East Hampton


A Bioswale
May 11, 2020

Dear Mr. Rattray:

Your editorial in the last issue about the usurpation of power by the town board bearing close scrutiny was especially distressing to me because even in the best of times this board has run roughshod over the legitimate concerns of citizens in favor of their own agendas. Of course, I’m primarily referring to the wasteful and neighborhood-destroying hatchery proposal that lurks and lurches forward, ignoring public input or effective scrutiny, but there are many other examples of this kind of “it’s-our-town” leadership going back many years, and on both sides of the political spectrum. That said, this is not a polemic on town history or histrionics.

Rather than the town board trying repeatedly to give away the Paumanok Path to convenience a possible big donor, and connected law firm’s client, who as we learned went ahead and did what he felt like anyway, and instead of ignoring due process that anyone else would be required to follow as they are in terms of clearing waterfront and limiting waterfront access, why not be true to the spirit and the law for community preservation fund properties and the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and seek a grant that will actually do something for the environment and our impaired water quality?

Don’t spend well over $5 million and legal fees on a do-nothing-for-water-quality vanity project to glorify yourselves so paying customers and Mr. Van Scoyoc can grow oysters and party on everyone’s dock. Do something instead that would benefit us all: Turn 36 Gann, and its newly cleared waterfront adjacent to the town dock, into a real bioswale to deal with the Gann Road runoff by installing a low-nitrogen system for the Marine Patrol, using a portion of 36 Gann and the newly, and possibly illegally, cleared area for public restrooms and outdoor showers, with appropriate drainage, that all waterfront user groups could use and enjoy?

It would certainly cost far less than the current underhanded proposal, and do a lot more good for us all and our water quality. After appropriate planning and zoning review, they could sink monitoring wells, erect permeable reactive barriers in the area they just cleared on the east side of the Commercial Dock. Second, the town board should commit to making the 36 Gann Road property a giant bioswale full of native plants and a shallow, pressurized leaching field for the Marine Patrol/house and shower system, keeping the house or not.

While they’re actually doing something, other than flailing about appropriate Covid signage, they could also emulate the Village of North Haven. It has a law that limits pesticide use and fertilized landscaping and irrigation that may contaminate groundwater, let alone the estuary. Why don’t we?

One answer might be that North Haven wants its planning board involved in evaluating such projects, even if only revegetating, unlike East Hampton’s board refusing to commit to a real environmental review, an honest traffic study, real needs assessment, and a cost-benefit calculation, as is apparent in pursuing its Gann Road proposal. But then, they would have to not exempt themselves from established land-use rules, nor continue to ignore common sense in favor of litigation.



Duck Creek Farm Association


Recalling Cyril
East Hampton
May 5, 2020

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Last week, a letter recalling Cyril Fitzsimons’s life and lifestyle was a sweet tribute to a flamboyant figure. What he left out of the robbery story was that Cyril’s employee was attacked in the robbery. She called out for help, which alerted Cyril, who may have been the only other person at the restaurant that morning as she counted up the receipts from the night before. He heard her screams and he ran to help her. He found one of his former employees attacking and robbing the manager. He put up a good fight against a much younger man, and since he was wearing a sarong (it was sarong-wearing years), his knees were bloodied and bruised. His employee was badly injured and needed medical care.

Many knew Cyril as a very colorful character but may be unaware that he was also a generous person, especially if the one in need was a child. Years ago, while I was still teaching at the Montauk School, a student was in need of extensive medical care. The child’s family was facing an uncertain outcome in the medical treatment options presented to them. That worry, along with mounting expenses, was an unbearable strain on the family. Montauk, being made up of loving and generous families, pitched in to help, and the Montauk teachers wanted to help also. I had an idea to have a fund-raiser at Cyril’s and pitched the idea to him one afternoon. I started my sentence with, “Cyril, there’s this little boy who needs. . . .” He cut off with “Shut up!”

I smiled. I knew what he meant. It was Cyril’s way of letting me know he would help. I really didn’t have to say another word: He was ready to give. “But,” I said, “you don’t know what I want from you, it’s going to be a biggie.” He answered, “What, whaddya want?” I asked him if he would donate all the profits from three hours of drinks and food. I told him the place would be packed; we could potentially raise a few thousand in a short amount of time. He took a pull on his cigarette, blew the smoke in my face, and brushed back his long white locks, and said, “Right, but only if you hold it on a Wednesday.” That was it; no more had to be said.

We held the fund-raiser and Cyril emptied the cash registers into huge pickle buckets after three hours, and then said, “Ay, what the hell, take another hour!” We did, as more people came from all over to Cyril’s, we sang, we drank, we danced, and best of all we collected. The wait-staff and bartenders unselfishly donated their tips as well. I drove home with over $13,000 in cash that evening and with pledged donations from the Montauk Teachers Union and other local organizations, we raised $20,000 in one day! What a day!

Cyril gave generously, and that wasn’t the last time I asked for his help. He never asked for receipts or information about the causes, he took me at my word. Cyril donated his time as well, he volunteered at homeless shelters in the city, and locally he hosted lunches for children with special needs. The Cyril on Napeague was entertaining and legendary, but underneath that hat and grizzled look was a good heart. May God rest his soul.



Large Jets
East Hampton
May 8, 2020

To the Readers:

As a full-time resident of East Hampton, I must relay a story that I know has become common and one that many residents can relate too. On Sunday, May 2, my husband and I were playing pickle ball at East Hampton Tennis on Daniel’s Hole Road. It was one of the very rare warm, sunny days. There was no one around as we were practicing social distancing. At about 1:50 p.m. we heard a load roar and turned to see a rather large private jet getting ready to land. We both commented, “Wow, the jets landing here are getting bigger and bigger!” We shrugged it off and continued to play.

At about 2:13 p.m. we again heard a load roar, only this time it was deafening! We stopped playing pickle ball not because we wanted to, but because we had to. That same jet prepared for takeoff and the ground we were standing on literally starting shaking like an earthquake! The noise was so loud and the earth was shaking; we were in a bit of shock. It took us a few moments to gain our composure before continuing to play.

I am fully aware of the issues our town has been having dealing with the jets and East Hampton Airport. I have a real concern as the summer months approach that this will become a common occurrence.  This concern has turned into a fear (like there’s not enough to worry about), given the current pandemic climate we are all now living in. More than ever, the privileged are flocking here and fully expect that they will be able to come and go in extra-large jets! I am very concerned and sympathize with those residents who live near East Hampton Airport and have to put up with this. I truly hope that this is on the agenda for the town council to discuss as summer approaches.



Sensitive Area
May 11, 2020

To the Editor:

I am grateful that East Hampton Town government opposes the bid by the Montauk Atlantic Terrace Hotel Operating Group for a liquor license at its Marram hotel. Montauk doesn’t need another bar dressed up as a motel.

Marram sits in a residential area, mine since 1980, and homes are literally just yards from its front door, homes that have been there for many years. The only public beach access for Surfside residents and their families runs right alongside one parking lot for the motel, a lot that is sometimes flooded after a heavy rain, by the way, and bears signs warning of just that. That alone can pose a parking challenge to current guest occupancy as it is.

Marram is also in a very environmentally sensitive area. Dunes with seagrasses are just outside the pool area over the railing of the hotel, and last year it was disappointing to see a few motel chairs and tables amid the seagrasses. Not an encouraging sign that owners of this “barefoot, beachy vibe motel” are respectful of the beauty around them.

I urge community opposition to this State Liquor Authority application as well.




Cannot Wait
Long Beach
May 8, 2020

To the Editor:

That the novel coronavirus spread should delay the South Fork Wind Farm is perhaps no surprise. All kinds of work viewed as nonessential has been paused while we wait out this terrible pandemic.

Yet climate change is a crisis of its own, and one we cannot wait out. The years are ticking. We need renewable energy, and we need it now. According to state law, signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, we require a 100 percent renewable electric grid by 2040. Earlier would be better.

Greenhouse gases have experienced a dip during our pandemic of 7.5 percent due to reduced travel by car and plane. That’s not going to last, and meanwhile the electric grid, responsible for 40 percent of greenhouse gases, still keeps burning coal and gas.

We need to be keeping those fossil fuels in the ground, and developing renewable power sources as expeditiously as possible. Offshore and land-based wind power, solar energy, and battery storage have to be our energy future.



New Dynamic
East Hampton
May 11, 2020

Dear David:

We read the criticism of the term resort community in the Elms Party letter to the editor in the Star on May 7, as “out of touch with reality.” We all know that East Hampton is a resort destination in the summertime, and to say otherwise is hiding from the truth. Change is coming, and we need to manage that change to the benefit of the village at large. East Hampton, for the last 150 years, has been a summertime destination for tourists and second-home owners. As it has grown in popularity, inevitable changes have occurred and the village undoubtedly will continue to evolve. Our challenge is to shape and manage developing conditions to ensure they are aligned with the principles and character of the village.

One of the reasons that people like to come to our village is the astounding beauty of the beach, the village core, and our residential neighborhoods. We can’t allow that to change. We need to keep protecting our water quality, maintaining the services the village provides to our residents, and supporting our small-business owners. Our small-business owners in turn support the community with needed services and year-round employment for many residents. None of this could happen without the revenue that our visitors bring, whether they come out for the day and buy an ice-cream cone at Scoop du Jour or come out for the season and eventually buy a second home.

The money spent by summer residents and visitors stays in the community just like money spent by permanent residents. The viability of our economy is dependent on that seasonal commerce. We need to acknowledge that reality and move forward with balanced progress into the 2020s. David and I have the skills to manage that change, taking deliberate and measured steps in collaboration with the community and Village Board.

Some of our small businesses and restaurants are now in danger of going out of business due to the coronavirus. We need to find innovative ways to help them reopen, as they need our immediate support. For example, restaurants will likely be required to open under strict social-distancing guidelines, which will result in the significant reduction of seating capacity. We support the introduction of a pilot program allowing outdoor seating, which will help to mitigate the effects of the new guidelines. We also need to review our sign and display codes to ensure they are supportive of small business while remaining compatible with the aesthetic concerns of the village.

We all have fond memories of a Main Street populated with mom-and-pop stores offering a wide variety of products and sundries at affordable prices. Those days are gone and now we are faced with a new dynamic, which has resulted in many empty, unattractive storefronts lining Main Street during the off-season. Now is the time to stop looking into the past and start focusing on the future. The interests of our business community and our residents are not mutually exclusive, as some would have you believe. In fact, there are far more points of agreement than not. We can revitalize the commercial core while honoring our commitment to reflect the concerns and priorities of our residents. This is a pivotal moment for the future of our village. Our village has a decision to make between the past and the future. We will bring balanced progress, using our leadership and management skills to thread the needle between the past and the future.

Please feel free to contact us. For further information please visit our website at “The quality of life that you want, the progress you have been waiting for”.

Stay safe,



Fish Hooks Party

of East Hampton


Sorely Needed
East Hampton
May 11, 2020

Dear David,

As we deal with the day-to-day consequences of a global pandemic — sickness in our communities, devastating job losses, families who are unable to pay for necessities, and the isolation of elderly citizens — I found it particularly depressing and unnerving to read the negative personal comments recently leveled at people running for political office in our town a few weeks ago in The Star. I don’t want to justify these comments with a response but instead want to thank all those who are “throwing their hats into the ring” to run for positions to serve our community and its residents. It can be a thankless job at times serving as a village trustee, mayor, board member, or supervisor, while dealing with the issues and problems at hand. So I applaud anyone seeking to serve and those now serving our community.

In particular, I especially want to thank my good friend Rose Brown. In her two short years as village trustee, Rose has proven to be a most welcome addition to the East Hampton Village Board. Her fresh approach to solving problems and dedication to village issues has led to projects such as the refurbishment of Herrick Park, legislation to protect our water quality, and the installation of Wi-Fi at village beaches to ensure 911 capacity for public safety. Rose led the charge with the Ladies Village Improvement Society to install beautiful flower planters on Main Street and Newtown Lane, and together with Tiger Graham, who is running for mayor, have begun tackling the unresolved PSEG transmission line debacle that was approved by the village administration over six years ago.

Rose, a lifelong resident of East Hampton whose family has been here for generations, is invested in this community and will continue to make decisions that will ensure the uniqueness and beauty of our area as well as the prosperity of our residents. Rose is tough, smart, passionate, and gets the job done. Visit for a more detailed description of what has been accomplished with Rose’s guidance and support, as well as the Fish Hook Party’s plan for the future.

In regard to those now running for office, we have some fine candidates to choose from. However, I would like to highlight one in particular who I believe would be a tremendous asset: Mr. David Driscoll. David, a family friend for over 40 years, is running for village trustee. He was introduced to East Hampton as a child while summering here with his family. David began working at age 13 as a golf caddy at the Maidstone Club. Later, he worked nights in the kitchen at the Huntting Inn and days at Main Beach’s Chowder Bowl under manager Roney Marasca, serving up hot dogs and ice cream to the beach patrons.

After Roney’s passing, the Chowder Bowl was up for grabs and soon David and his brother took it over and managed the beach concession for the next 30 years. It was during this time that David fell in love with East Hampton. He fell in love with the beaches, the farms, the bays, the wildlife, and the people. After retirement from the New York Police Department, David and his wife bought their family’s summerhouse and moved to East Hampton permanently.

So what does David bring to a position as village trustee? What does he believe in? What does he want for the future of our community? David brings close to 40 years of experience in the New York Police Department, including 20 years of executive experience. During his tenure with the N.Y.P.D. he dealt with rescue efforts at Ground Zero on 9/11, relief efforts during Hurricane Sandy, and was in charge of the police response to the crash of Sully’s plane, US Airways Flight 1549, on the Hudson River. Having someone with years of experience and expertise in organizing, employing, and motivating people from all walks of life as well as successfully coordinating with various municipalities and government officials is sorely needed in our community.

We also need someone whose vision for East Hampton matches ours. David stated that one of his goals as a trustee would be to broaden the Village Board’s engagement with the community. He plans to organize weekly town hall-style question-and-answer sessions, connect more with business owners, and engage members of the community in Village Board decisions.

David, along with Tiger Graham and Rose Brown, are encouraging fewer restrictions in the village but are also taking a middle-of-the-road approach to implementation. Examples of some of their goals for the future are to offer music in Herrick Park, establish rental regulation on home stays such as AirBnb, traffic calming measures for village streets, a re-evaluation of the code and Comprehensive Plan, a resolution to the PSEG village transmission line project, and improved communication with the East Hampton Town Board. This last point, communication between the village and town, is so critical since each government’s decisions so closely affect the other. We need village representation that is informed, levelheaded, and resolute. David Driscoll will fill this need.

I was so pleased to hear that David was running for village trustee. His stellar 38 years of experience at the N.Y.P.D., 30-plus years managing Main Beach’s Chowder Bowl, and over 40 years living as a combined summer and year-round East Hampton resident show the value he will bring to the village trustee position. We need people like David to step up and help us. We need people in office who are there for the good of the public and not their own self-interest.

My family has been residents of East Hampton for 12 generations. I know how special and unique our community is and I want to keep it that way. I look forward to voting for David Driscoll for village trustee this fall.

Be well and stay safe,



Roots Run Deep
East Hampton
May 11, 2020

Dear David:

Our family has known Barbara Strong Borsack for over 30 years. Her tireless devotion and commitment to our village have been relentless. Barbara’s many accomplishments and achievements while serving on the Village Board have both benefited the village and preserved its history, charm, and beauty. Barbara has also been an important leader and member of the board of the East Hampton Historical Society, helping to preserve and share the important heritage of our town. Barbara’s local roots run deep, as her family has been here for many generations. This continues today with grandchildren in our East Hampton schools. Barbara has been at the forefront of bringing Covid-19 testing to East Hampton, working with Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc. Barbara would be a highly qualified mayor with decades of relevant experience. She listens to both sides sincerely, with the quality of life and the preservation of the village as her goal. That is why we are endorsing Barbara Strong Borsack for mayor of East Hampton.




For Trump
May 6, 2020

Dear David,

I just saw a new campaign ad for Trump:



(Over your dead bodies)

Ain’t that the truth!




Michael Flynn
May 10, 2020


Former President Obama has been smack in the middle of the Gen. Michael Flynn investigation. At the time, they were creating the perjury trap to try to get charges on him. Obama is lashing out as the microscope is starting to turn on what happened in January 2017, long overdue.

Cases do get dismissed, but it’s rare. They had no case for the courts; it was reliant on two agents who took his statement who had deep credibility problems. This case beyond a reasonable doubt could not be proved.

Obama is now concerned about basic understanding of the law. Fast and furious, Obama’s administration obstructed that investigation. Concerned about the law. Obama and his administration used the bureaucracy, tried to crush the conservative organizations that were trying to organize against him in connection with the election.

This is a culture that Comey created. “I sent them in, I didn’t follow the procedures, I changed the rules to unfairly target General Flynn.” This sure looks like maybe it was done for personal reasons.  Department of Justice/Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador were entirely appropriate. The law demanded that charges against Flynn be dropped.

The Democrats are all screaming that Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I., yes, under duress. The scabs McCabe and Comey promised to go after his son, and also the lawyers came out of an office partnered by none other than Holder. Flynn’s lawyers worked against him, made him lose everything — his reputation, his family, his home. Perhaps now justice will be served.

In God and country,



Attempted Coup
May 10, 2020

Dear David:

The release this week of documents kept hidden is revealing what amounts to an attempted coup d’etat and has shattered my lifelong belief that the Constitution and Bill of Rights protected us. Elected and appointed officials swore an oath to protect both. Documents released that point to the prior administration have played a major part in this as Lady Justice’s statue’s base crumbles, causing her to wobble. Pure evil!

The corruption in the F.B.I. and Department of Justice allowed and promoted lies to the courts on several instances to obtain eavesdropping and surveillance warrants. It seems the hatred for General Flynn may have started because he contradicted President Obama on his statement that ISIS was on the run? When he got elected my first thoughts were to give him a chance to better our lives. I suspect the real reason was Flynn knew too much so they had to silence him. Counterintelligence operations against American citizens must be sanctioned only by the POTUS.

The bottom line is that these people broke the law in trying to overturn an election because their candidate was so flawed and she openly despised the citizens of this country.

Here is a valid question. Was this to make sure this cabal, whose actions were riddled with lies and lawless behavior and aided by the media, would vanish? There apparently are two sets of justice, if these miscreants do not go to jail! “My Country Tis of Thee” (we all know the lyrics) may no longer exist, had this not been exposed.

Yours truly,



Personal Offense
East Hampton
May 10, 2020

To the Editor:

I couldn’t help but notice in the news recently that our neighbor and recent guest lecturer at BookHampton, CNN’s Don Lemon’s latest twit storm putting down President Trump. Among the usual negative rants was the insinuation that Trump’s successful career in real estate was simply “handed to him.” As if a spoiled brat with no effort becomes a billionaire. Nothing could be further from the truth. I take personal offense at this comment.

My father, a prominent player in Manhattan real estate in the 1960s and 1970s, was a contemporary of Fred Trump. I’m not sure if he knew him personally, but Dad did run in the circle of titans such as the Zeckendorfs, Rudins, Guralls, and Dursts across the river. Because my grandfather nurtured and mentored my father onward and upward to a very successful career, I was able to enjoy a privileged childhood, just as Fred Trump did for young Donald. The Trumps were in the Jamaica Estates; we were four miles away in Bayside. Legend has it that Fred took Donald to job sites as a toddler.

As soon as Donald graduated from Wharton, Fred sent him out gumshoeing, knocking on doors to collect rents. Dad offered me that exact same opportunity, but regrettably I passed. But Donald went on to change the face of the Manhattan skyline. Hard work and determination paid off no more so than his rise to the presidency.

Don Lemon speaks from a deep well of ignorance. And in my not-so-humble opinion Mr. Lemon is on a straight line to the dustbin of broadcasting history as Trump carves out his own personal Mount Rushmore.



Leadership Vacuum
East Hampton
May 10, 2020

To the Editor:

As the Covid-19 virus rages throughout the world there is an almost deathlike scream for community. Without or even with a vaccine (18 months away, at best) the world finds itself in a struggle to survive and retain what’s left of its current existence. What we are slowly coming to understand is that success with the virus in one country or state or city does not eliminate the overall risk of further contamination. What happens in Botswana or Pakistan has implications for what could happen in Idaho.

While the problem has enormous local implications, the bigger picture demands an expansive and proactive worldview.

In this context, the need to create a worldwide effort is paramount. Without leadership on an international level every country is left to its own devices and resources, and too many of them are not up to the task. The current leadership vacuum is a product of the U.S. decision to vacate that role. Whoever provides this leadership will determine the balance of influence and power for the next 20 years.

Yesterday, a large group of world leaders pledged to raise $8 billion to fight Covid-19. The U.S. refused to participate. Last month the U.S. decided to stop funding the World health Organization, which is the only group coordinating a worldwide effort to deal with the virus. In the past, we would have been supportive of both cases, which are clearly no-brainers. In January we rejected the W.H.O.’s Covid-19 test kit and still don’t have testing figured out. We may go it alone, but stupidly and mindlessly are a bad solution.

We ask our politicians to do their jobs. The praise heaped on Zeldin and Trump last week was a really bad example of praising mediocrity and malfeasance. Zeldin’s job is to advocate for his constituency. That’s why we pay him. It’s good that he got us the P.P.P. materials. Except that Zeldin and Trump supported the original Senate Covid-19 relief bill, which had barely a pittance for small businesses and nothing for workers or hospitals or the states. Only Pelosi’s intervention forced the inclusion of money for workers, extending unemployment insurance, and substantial money for small business.

Pelosi was only doing her job. No praise or ego massage necessary. No need to mask the incompetence and lack of concern for regular people in the first bill.

Of the $4 trillion designated by the Fed and our government, barely 20 percent went to workers and small businesses. We got majorly screwed thanks to Trump and Zeldin, but they did send us some P.P.P. for the county.

In the same quasi-human vein of defunding the W.H.O. and not participating in the worldwide effort to deal with the virus is the Trump/Zeldin effort to cut the food stamps program and eliminate the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. Who cuts health care during a pandemic and cuts food stamps during a looming depression? How does one explain this genetic defection without making historical reference to past behavior?

It’s not just bad politics. It’s morally challenging. It tears away the thin veil of humanity that protects our country from the predator class. So we won’t lead the world, or have food for those who need it most, or have a functioning health care system. But we will have a boatload of P.P.P. Bless you Trump/Zeldin.


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