May 4, 2020
With time on my hands while sheltering in place, I was browsing past letters to The Star when I came across an articulate and heartfelt letter titled “Health-Care Costs” from Matt Harnick (East Hampton Star, Feb. 8).
Mr. Harnick’s letter opens with “Imagine if you never had to worry about medical bills. No bills for visits to the doctor, no bills for hospital stays, and never having to hand over money for prescriptions.” He goes on to state correctly, “This is how most European countries, especially England, France, and Italy, handle health-care costs.” I believe Mr. Harnick’s cri de coeur deserves a response.
I agree with Mr. Harnick that the United States has the most costly and dysfunctional health insurance system among the developed countries of the world. What other country allows a quarter of its population to go without adequate health insurance coverage and almost 10 percent with no coverage at all? And we pay nearly twice as much per capita as any other country for demonstrably inferior health outcomes. Forty percent of uninsured Americans give lack of affordability as the reason they don’t have health insurance. And research has found that medical bills are one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcies in the United States.
But Mr. Harnick seems to conclude, without naming it, that Medicare-for-All is the answer. It is true that if Medicare-for-All were to become the law of the land, life would be simpler for many Americans who are now at risk for medical bills they may not be able to pay. But from my perspective as a former health care finance professional, Medicare-for-All is not the right solution.
Senator Sanders’s legislation would put all health insurers out of business. Mr. Harnick reflects Senator Sanders’s belief that all profits in the health care system are “unethical.” But hospitals, for example, have to make a profit (they call it an excess of revenues over expenses) to stay in business, as do nursing homes, doctors, and other health care professionals. But no one wants to put them out of business.
Medicare-for-All is a one-size-fits-all (single-payer) solution. Most developed countries, e.g., France, Germany, and Switzerland, include insurance companies as part of the solution. Even Canada and the U.K. allow more private health insurance participation than Senator Sanders’s legislation would.
Senator Sanders’s legislation would also dismantle 50 years of progress in managed care. The biggest and best example is Kaiser Permanente, a California-based integrated health system that provides better coverage and quality of care for the dollar than its competitors. I recently recommended Kaiser-Permanente to a friend living in Sausalito solely because they had the best heart surgeons in the Bay area.
And I have enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that provides better coverage for my premium dollar than Medicare Parts A, B, and D combined. How is this possible? By allowing doctors to manage care without the fee-for-service incentives to provide too much care. If we want lower cost and better quality health care, throwing away managed care and integrated health systems would be counterproductive.
And then there’s the inconvenient reality that Americans hate to pay taxes. Yet Senator Sanders’s legislation would more than double federal taxes. Even if the total national expenditure were reduced (experts disagree on this), it is hard to imagine that a majority of voters in such a politically divided country would agree to such a humongous tax increase. It’s just not in our DNA.
Fortunately, there are better ways to provide affordable health care for all that build on our existing infrastructure. Examples include Medicare Extra for All, proposed by All from the Center for American Progress, and Medicare Advantage for All.
Having researched and written on the subject over the past year and a half, here are some of the elements of health care reform that I’d like to see rather than Medicare-for-All:
1. Nationalize Medicaid, raise the income limit to qualify and utilize the I.R.S. to determine eligibility prospectively so that no Medicaid eligibles are uninsured.
2. Increase health insurance subsidies so that no one pays more than 8.5 percent of their income for health insurance premiums and cost-sharing.
3. Use the state and federal health insurance exchanges to offer a public option based on Medicare and Medicare Advantage.
4. Invest in the development of integrated health care delivery systems patterned after Kaiser-Permanente and other successful nonprofit H.M.O.s in all 50 states.
5. Phase out fee-for-service medical care reimbursement.
6. Phase out for-profit health insurance companies by converting them to nonprofits or mutuals.
7. Make all health expenditures fully tax deductible for individual taxpayers as well as employers, including health savings accounts.
Funding these changes will require an increase in some taxes (not necessarily income taxes), but far less than Medicare-for-All would require. And by incorporating structural and financial reform of the health care delivery system, the total cost of care should be lower than for Medicare-for-All.
Thanks to Mr. Harnick for starting a discussion about health care policy on the East End. Even without the threat of coronavirus, health care reform will be vital to our and our nation’s future.
PETER A. WADSWORTH
May 1, 2020
To The Star,
I first met Beryl Bernay in 1966 in Indonesia after I had graduated from Yale and was spending the summer, before starting graduate school, visiting and trying to do some freelance journalism in Indonesia, the country where I was born. As she liked to say in later years, “We recognized each other,” and we became friends for life.
Beryl was passionate about social justice, deeply and very personally moved by human suffering, tenacious in doing what she could to help, and extremely loyal. Concerned when we lost contact in 1969 while I served as an Army lieutenant in Vietnam, she actually posted an ad for my whereabouts in The New York Times!
ROBERT VAN LEEUWEN
May 4, 2020
Dear Mr. Rattray:
The ill-conceived, wasteful, and ridiculously overblown hatchery expansion is, or is not, being held in abeyance. But what is certain is that the town has gone ahead and cleared a wide swath of the community preservation fund- purchased backyard of the house originally purposed to be the hatchery home. So, apparently, we were lied to. I thought the State Department of Environmental Conservation had prohibited clearing within 50 feet of the water and wetlands.
After months of secrecy, by invitation, hearings, etc., residents were presented with an 8,000-square-foot development that would do literally nothing to improve shellfish productivity, or water quality, but would be a $5 million vanity project for a name board to advertise the town board’s achievement in squandering tax dollars for no good reason. It would, of course, accommodate paying recreational oyster growers, including Mr. Van Scoyoc, over the written objections of over 100 residents, commercial and recreational fishermen, boaters, swimmers, and other water users. This project is also in direct conflict with the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, which guarantees equal and open access for all user groups, touting the nonsensical water quality benefit from the hatchery activities, especially since spawning capacity would not increase.
We already produce more than we can use, so viability in transport is not an issue. Councilman Lys continues to lead the liars in promoting the vaunted benefits to our water quality. Yet no one has yet to quantify how many oysters are the equivalent of replacing one old septic system with a new, low nitrogen model. Frankly, even replacing all the septic systems in the harbor protection overlay districts throughout the town would not be sufficient to really make a substantial difference in our estuarine water quality. Installing one, however, did result in a substantial tax burden, and I have the 1099 to prove it.
That said, I do have one suggested action that would assuredly improve water quality. What this town board can do, with its appointed boards and the executive orders we seem so fond of lately, is to have the nerve and the vision to prohibit the use of fertilizers on any property whose obvious watershed is Three Mile Harbor, or any of the other harbors. Horrors! No expanses of green lawns? Not at all.
Many reputable professionals have pledged to avoid unnecessary fertilization, the overuse of nonnative species and the like, to create beautiful, vibrant, and varied landscapes. It’s absurd to continue to allow literally thousands of pounds of nitrogen runoff to flow into our harbors. Why not really do something about water quality, rather than spout tall tales about bi-valves?
IRA M. BAROCAS
Duck Creek Farm Association
When the mountains stop crying,
Their tear ducts dry,
And the oceans sweet and dead,
When earth will no more nourish seed
Than nations neighbors,
We’ll hear the homespun songs
And perfumed sermons
Thanking Him or Her or It or Them
For Long Pig.
May 3, 2020
I just read a letter from a “Tim Barnes” in the April 30 edition of The Star, and in addition to it being incorrect on factual matters; it impugns both my character and the character of Rose Brown.
Letters (and sentiments) like this have no place in a small village election. We all have to live and work together when this election is behind us, no matter who wins.
I do need to correct two points made in that letter. First, the thought that Rose and I would conspire to get Rose’s husband, Greg Brown, appointed police chief is beyond offensive. Greg’s years of service and exemplary record led to several promotions in the department; the most recent promotion to lieutenant was based on Greg’s number-one position on the Civil Service list as well as Chief Tracey’s recommendation, which had been in place for close to a year before Mayor Rickenbach and Police Commissioner Lawler decided to act on it.
The second point I want to make is that whoever “Tim Barnes” is, the opposition research they did is incorrect. I never worked at Source Capital in Westport, Conn., nor did I ever sell “unsuitable stock to elderly investors and destroying their lives.” It is true that after I retired from the investment business, I agreed to have Source hold my eight different securities licenses from 2013 to 2014 because I did not want them to expire before I was ready to give them up. Those licenses, including my supervisory licenses, are valuable credentials that took me years to get. I allowed them to expire in 2014 after I had decided that they were no longer going to be of use to me.
I do not know who Tim Barnes is, and frankly I do not ever care to meet him. The fact that he felt compelled to do such deep opposition research on me (which was factually incorrect) and to suggest Rose has an ulterior motive in her support of my campaign for mayor indicates to me that this person is deeply invested in this election. I am not pointing any fingers here, but I think that the author of this letter should take responsibility and identify themself.
ARTHUR (TIGER) GRAHAM
The Fish Hooks Party
May 3, 2020
To the Editor,
“The Scenario” (title of last week’s letter to the editor written by “Tim Barnes,” which, by the way, I just learned is a fraudulent name and that there is no such person in East Hampton), it would seem, has taken a dark turn, a turn that leaves this resident of East Hampton Village with feelings of dread, which seem cruel to add to the pervasive anxiety that has settled in due to a global pandemic. I am one of those who avoids heated discourse in general with a dismissive “Oh, I just hate politics!” umbrella. It’s true. I don’t like politics or most “politicians.” I realize it’s my responsibility to pay more attention and try to be best informed on all the “issues,” but I have contented myself to be the “comic relief” in most discussions of great national import – and frankly, most of my social circle is quite happy with me in that role as well. It doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t feel passionately about things in this country – just that I have allowed the hopelessness I feel about this current administration to take over.
Just recently, though, I have paid way more attention to the politics of our beloved East Hampton Village, and I have been inspired as never before by one person. Her name is Rose Brown. It is precisely because of her impeccable reputation, her trustworthiness, and loyalty (all things which have been called into question last week) that I support her without reservation. Rose is one of the most hard-working, intelligent, serious, and compassionate women I know. (Let us not forget that the former mayor, during her swearing in, had only this to say: “Rose is a very pretty addition to the board.” Nope. Unacceptable. Rose is so much more, and she continues to prove it with her determined work for the betterment of our village.) She is mother to three amazing children, wife to longtime police officer, Greg, and friend to many in our community (to name only a few of her characteristics).
I know without a doubt that the only thing driving Rose is her deep desire to improve our lives here in the village while also retaining all those things that make it the beautiful place it has been for centuries. This is no simple task. How dare anyone use the word “sinister” when referring to Rose Brown. Clearly this person is ill informed. Yes, Rose and Tiger Graham began by supporting Barbara Borsack for mayor, but when it seemed that things weren’t getting the attention that they so desperately required, things shifted. Instead of writing to insult or demean Rose Brown, because I’m pretty sure the ideals are still common between them, how about considering why things moved in this direction. Where is the decent discourse? What about the value of kindness and understanding? I understand that it must be difficult to lose supporters, but if Rose Brown felt that the things for which she has firm conviction would be compromised by continuing to support someone with more of a “laid-back” approach, then I stand by her.
Don’t stoop to suggest that Rose has anything but the most noble and sincere motives for her actions. She has been working around the clock since being elected as a trustee. In just two years, she has brought so many initiatives to the forefront that have been pushed aside over the years. She has supported devising a wastewater treatment facility, a plan to renovate and restore Herrick Park (which has deteriorated over the years), important legislation to protect our environment, and promoted legislation that improves vibrancy in the village, among many other things.
Rose recently told me that she has three main motivations when it comes to her tireless work on the board of trustees 1.) Austin. 2.) Madeleine. 3.) Andrew. Her children. Anyone who chooses to paint this as “self-serving” doesn’t know Rose Brown at all. It is merely her lovely way of saying that she cares very deeply about the future of East Hampton Village. I continue to support Rose Brown and the Fish Hooks Party, and all their endeavors. I suggest that people really look at what Rose has done/is doing and not get caught up in petty politics. It’s so unsavory, and hurtful, and something the woman I know does not deserve at all.
Can’t Be Taught
May 4, 2020
Last week while reading the letters to the editor, something caught my eye, and I feel compelled to speak up. I have known Greg Brown for the last 30 years. I have had the pleasure of working alongside him for the last 25 years (he with the Village Police Department and I with the Village Emergency Communications Department). Becoming a police officer was always his life’s dream, and he worked hard for it and still does. After all, he was raised by his father, arguably the most quintessential figure in the local police and fire service communities. He was instilled with a set of values that are long forgotten today: respect, commitment, duty. Greg embraces a unique type of community policing that can’t be taught, as it’s instinctive to him. He has excelled at whatever assignments he has been given and performs with distinction.
In my position as chief of the East Hampton Fire Department, I have had the privilege of working with and leading Greg, as he has been a trusted member for over 25 years. We’ve crawled down many hallways together, and I have known him to be an unassuming, calm professional, who is always there when needed. A true brother. In his current position with the Police Department, he is assigned as the liaison to the Fire Department during the Covid-19 pandemic. He has worked tirelessly in that capacity, and I can’t tell you how many “after working hours” calls we have had regarding the overall public safety of our community.
As impressive as Greg’s dedication to public safety is, his greatest dedication lies with his family. His wife and three children are central to him, and he is deeply devoted to them. My friend Greg has worked hard to get where he is in the Village Police Department and for anyone to cast any aspersions on his abilities or to suggest anything subversive is at play is purely malicious. His successes have been the result of his efforts and actions and not political consideration. He is an example for all of us in public service — a true testament to the man that he is and the job that he’s capable of doing. Thank you. Be safe and be well.
GERARD TURZA JR.
May 3, 2020
After reading the letters to the editor in last week’s Star, I felt compelled to respond to the wanderings of Tim Barnes. I have never before seen such a contentious campaign in the village. In the midst of this terrifying time, when we should all be trying to offer help and solace to one another, enlisting in a smear campaign in our village election is anathema to any civilized protocol, and it certainly doesn’t promote succor and calmness.
At this time, we need leaders who are dedicated to the pursuit of ideas and ideals that are beneficial to the community they serve and not to the pursuit of their individual egos.
The current, seemingly accepted behavior of vilifying one’s opponents is rampant and ignites hateful and harmful responses from the masses.
Tim Barnes’s besmirching the characters of Rose Brown and Tiger Graham is despicable and has no business in a mayoral campaign in this village.
I have known Greg and Rose Brown since they were little children; they and their families have always exemplified kindness, compassion, intelligence, and a pride in their community. They have dedicated their lives to working for the village and to helping to preserve and protect it. Any implications to the contrary are vicious distortions and fraught with malice.
In the political arena, it would seem more productive and prudent to discuss different approaches and beliefs without rancor, allowing for an outcome that is agreeable to everyone involved. Sticking to the facts and the issues without attempting to malign an opponent’s character would seem the better path to take to preserve respect for those involved and to make the wisest decisions. Leave the mud-slinging to the swine — they seem to love to wallow in it.
I have the utmost faith in the village residents; they will judge the candidates by their past records and their reputations. We have enough contention in the country. It’s really not welcome here. We need to have a higher standard that disavows personal attacks. We can disagree without being disagreeable.
JOAN D. DENNY
May 3, 2020
I have never felt compelled to write a letter to the editor. However, I cannot just sit back idly and watch a very good person and incredible asset to our community be slandered! This person is a village trustee, Rose Brown. Last week, a letter to the editor was submitted bringing her character into question. (Note: The letter was later retracted online after discovering that the letter was submitted with a fraudulent name. There is no such person in East Hampton.)
My husband, John, has known Rose and her husband, Greg, for 30 years. I have had the good fortune of getting to know them and their family through the friendship of our younger sons. We have always seen them as an extremely thoughtful and caring family. They have always considered the feelings and best interests of others whether it be on a small scale, cheering at a Little League game, or on a much bigger scale by serving the community and representing our best interests in the village.
Rose has served our community for the past 20 years. She was chairwoman of the East Hampton Village planning board and member of the Design Review board before being elected as a Village board trustee. Rose has served as a trustee for the past two years. From the beginning of her term, Rose has used her position to help make the village the best it can be.
She has spearheaded the Herrick Park renovation, a renovation that is long overdue and greatly needed to improve not only the aesthetics of the park, but to allow our children to have access to better fields and courts along with lights for night games that will work better than the current situation at there. Rose has also recently supported legislation to allow takeout restaurants in town to have up to 16 seats. This will make our village much more user-friendly for all of us. As a family that frequents Georgica Beach, we are especially happy that Rose has led the charge to install Wi-Fi at our beaches to improve public safety.
I could go on and on about all of the work that Rose does for our community. At the same time, I could speak volumes about all of the work Greg has done as a dedicated officer to our village for over 20 years. He was promoted to detective, then sergeant, before Rose even sat on the board. His promotion to lieutenant was clearly based on hard work, dedication, the recommendation of the chief of police, and his number-one seat on the Suffolk County Civil Service lieutenants list.
The Browns are literally the definition of a family that serves their community and wants to help our vision of a better village come to fruition. I am thankful to Rose and Greg Brown for all that they do to help make this village a place where John and I can happily raise our family. During a time like this, where our world has been turned upside down, we need to rise to the best versions of ourselves. This is not a time to continue to fill the world with false, negative claims that do not serve the best interests of our community. Rose and Greg did not deserve to wake up to such a slanderous letter to the editor last week; they deserve to wake up with thanks and gratitude for all that they do!
May 4, 2020
After reading last week’s Star I felt compelled to write this letter. I was dismayed at the scenario allegations regarding Greg and Rose Brown.
I have known both the Brown and Grau families since I came to East Hampton over 50 years ago. My children attended school with Greg and Rose. Both families have given their utmost to help preserve our beautiful village. Greg has made a career with the East Hampton Village Police Department. His ranking today has been based on his dedicated service, not who he knows.
Along with my husband, Sherrill, Rose had served on the design review board where, he always said, she listened and questioned. In 2018, Rose joined the village board and is always available to discuss pertinent issues. As everyone knows, a village board member must recuse him or herself when potential conflicts or lack of impartiality are involved. There are usually five members on the Village board, not just two to make decisions.
When my husband and I exercise our right to vote in September, that vote will be based on facts, and the value that the newly elected officials would place on our community and not on another person’s scenario.
May 4, 2020
Thank you to the Elms Party for keeping me informed of important news as it happens. In addition, their consistent emails on East Hampton Village board of trustees deliberations and reflections on good government are important for those of us who remain “at home” during this unprecedented pandemic.
Shows the Way
April 28, 2020
I have known Barbara Borsack for many years. Because of our close friendship, I know her well. It takes a very special talent to be a strong leader. Knowing Barbara as well as I do, I am confident that she has what it takes to be the next mayor of the Village of East Hampton. Good leadership requires honesty, integrity, good communication skills, confidence to inspire others, resilience, and transparency. I have seen all of these characteristics in Barbara. She has a passion, like I have never known, for both our residents and village. She has the vision and purpose as times are changing to keep this beautiful village protected, yet she is open to new ideas. Her decision-making skills and capabilities are so needed at this time in our history.
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. I cast my vote for Barbara Borsack because of my faith in her abilities. We are at a crossroads in this election. Let’s vote to keep East Hampton the most beautiful village in America.
May 1, 2020
I am writing this letter in support of Barbara Borsack for mayor of East Hampton Village. Barbara has lived in East Hampton her entire life. She has worked in many ways to preserve the idyllic life we locals lived growing up here. I could list all the things she has done for East Hampton, but I know most people have already read all of that. I am writing to tell you about her character.
Barbara is a believer in truth. She has a high moral code that cannot be broken. She is hard-working, confident, and self-disciplined. She knows her strengths and abilities and knows how to put them to good use, which she has done for the village for many, many years.
The fact that politics has become a dirty game in East Hampton for this mayoral election is a sad commentary on our small village. Lies are being spread by phone calls and by ads. Please don’t believe them. They are not true. Barbara has never used her position in village government to her advantage. I can’t say that’s true for others in this race.
The thing I know for sure about this mayoral race is that Barbara wants to help maintain East Hampton Village’s bucolic nature while being open to change. We locals are being pushed hard by those who would like to turn our beautiful village into something I don’t believe we want. If you love East Hampton Village, then vote for Barbara Borsack for mayor. She is the best candidate running.
May 4, 2020
I’ve lived in East Hampton for more than 40 years and can easily say that for the first time I have regrets about living here. I regret that I don’t live in the Village of East Hampton, because if I did I would be able to vote for Barbara Borsack for mayor.
Barbara is one of the most honest, hard-working, committed people I’ve ever met here. When she says something, I know it’s true. When she says that she’ll do something, you can bank on it. She is serious about her devotion to the community, and it’s not to gain something for herself. It’s to make the village a better place for everyone in the community.
Barbara has been supportive of changes that the village needs to undergo so that it is a more vibrant and welcoming community, but also understands that change has to be measured carefully so that the village retains its quality of life.
I’ve worked with Barbara for the past 20 years on many different matters at the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation, where she is a trustee, as a member of the Village Ambulance Association, which heads up our free community A.E.D. program, as a fund-raiser for women’s health, and as a trustee of Stony Brook Southampton Hospital on collaborative projects.
The residents of the village, and of the town as well, will not have any regrets if Barbara Borsack is elected as the new mayor of East Hampton Village.
East Hampton Healthcare Foundation
Years of Change
April 30, 2020
As a 12th-generation Bonacker, I am proud of my heritage and grateful for having the experience of growing up here, raising my family here, and now enjoying retirement in this beautiful historic village.
When I was growing up we were able to play baseball in the open fields, roller skate in the quiet streets, get our mail at the post office on Newtown Lane, shop at Marley’s, Diamond’s, Bohack’s, Mrs. Epstein’s, and Fanning’s, meet our friends at the Marmador, go to the movies at the Edwards Theater, and go to kindergarten through grade 12 at the school on Newtown Lane. But that was then, and this is now.
Through the years progress has brought changes and challenges to our once quiet village. We have witnessed many changes in the shops along Main Street and Newtown Lane, have increased volume of traffic, causing gridlock in the intersections during rainy summer days, and experienced a growing demand on parking.
During the years of change, our village’s beauty has been maintained by the foresight of our village officials, the East Hampton Historical Society, [Ladies Village] Improvement Society, the Village Preservation Society, and benefactors who have cared for the preservation of the historical buildings, landmarks, and image.
Barbara Borsack, Richard Lawler, and Ray Harden have grown up in East Hampton, raised their families here, have many years of experience in village government, and have pledged to continue their devotion to the history of our area with a vision for the future. The village has many needs as we move forward — an answer to our parking problems, construction of a sewer system for the village core, and preservation of open spaces. These projects will not happen overnight, but must be carefully studied, designed, and adequately funded. I believe Barbara, Rick, and Ray understand the issues and will move forward to maintain the quality of life hoped for by all village residents.
MARY TALMAGE SISKA
April 25, 2020
There are topics in this June’s village election that need to be examined. One that stands out to us is that our opponents are saying that East Hampton Village is a “resort community” needing to cater to tourists and day-trippers.
We believe East Hampton Village is a community primarily of full-time and part-time residents rather than a tourist attraction. We have visitors who come for short-term stays, but we feel our residents are our first priority. We want to keep East Hampton a peaceful and serene village where all homeowners can find respite on the weekends and holidays. As full-time, lifelong residents ourselves, we value our homes and yards as places of refuge and relaxation.
That’s why the village government has laws about leaf blowers and construction noise. It’s also why we are taking a firm stand on our small country inns, as well as searching for new ways to control short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods. If the inns were allowed to create spot zoning and become “hotel zones,” as they have proposed, they would have the ability to do unlimited events with music and outdoor dining. We are a residential community first and foremost. We believe that short-term rentals in our residential neighborhoods need to be controlled.
It is important for voters to examine the motives of some of our opponents in this race. Some candidates have close ties to real estate interests. Others know very little about how hard the village has fought over the past 100 years to keep the wishes of town residents from creating a village full of nightlife and crowds. Town residents would like to see the village become a place for them to come enjoy the “party life,” and then leave it all behind while they go back to their own quiet homes. Those of us who are village residents know we already deal with more traffic and noise than we would like. It is imperative for you to know the players in this election because the future of this village depends on it.
We had hoped to be visiting our residents on door-to-door walks by the first of April, but sadly the present situation makes that impossible to do. We would love to speak with people in person. Residents can check our website to send us emails, and we will answer all of them. We are happy to call you as well, or set up a videoconference with you and some of your friends to answer your questions. We are your neighbors and we understand your concerns!
The Elms Party
Candidate for Mayor
Candidate for trustee
Candidate for trustee
May 2, 2020
Although Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo suspended the Democratic presidential primary to have been held on June 23, it should be noted that there will be a Democratic primary on the 23rd of June for the candidates running for New York State Senate and U.S. Congress. This is of particular importance to the Democrats of East Hampton, as the choice of a congressional candidate for our district is critical in the effort to unseat Congressman Lee Zeldin.
Governor Cuomo also encouraged everyone to vote by absentee ballot, as the ability to staff and inspect polling locations will be difficult and probably reduce the number of polling places, resulting in the long lines and inconvenience experienced in Wisconsin. The governor has made an exception for this primary and allows any registered Democrat to vote absentee, with the excuse of temporary illness, which will be on the absentee ballot application. One can go to the Suffolk County board of Elections website and apply totally online, or download and print an application to be mailed to the board of Elections.
Additionally, the state, through the local boards, will be sending applications to all registered Democrats with a stamped return envelope, so you may wait for that to be received by mail, complete, and return the application. I encourage all East Hampton Democrats to vote for your choice for congressional and State Senate candidates in the primary, and to do so by absentee ballot.
May 4, 2020
Here is some important information for Star readers regarding the Democratic primary election scheduled for June 23.
Because of the uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, New York’s voters are being urged to vote by mail, using absentee ballots. To make this process more convenient, the Suffolk board of Elections will be mailing an application for absentee ballot plus a return, postage-paid envelope to every eligible voter. The voter will then fill out the application and return it in order to receive the actual ballot in time for the election.
So, heads up, Democratic voters! The application will be coming to your mailbox in a few weeks. Look for it, complete it, return it to the board of Elections.
This is a most important primary election. If you need more information or have questions, please call 631-267-8392 or go to [email protected].
Please be safe and plan to vote absentee!
Attention: Just learned that the board of Elections is now mailing applications for the school board elections, which precede (June 9) the Democratic primary elections (June 23). Don’t confuse the two.
May 4, 2020
Each of us is experiencing the Covid-19 pandemic in a unique way, self-imposed quarantine, feelings of loneliness and separation from family and friends, and some of us have lost a friend or loved one to this frightening disease. Many are out of work and household bills are mounting. We’re in survival mode, living day-to-day in ambiguity.
We are especially grateful for the leadership and initiatives taken by Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc to communicate and advise us with daily updates found on the town website: ehamptonny.gov. We welcome listening to him every Monday morning on WLNG radio with updates, and watching him every Friday on LTV’s “Facts @ Five” when he provides us with weekly news. The East Hampton town board meetings are now possible on LTV thanks to Zoom technology. For programming schedules go to: ltveh.org.
Last week, Supervisor Van Scoyoc joined a committee that includes all branches of Suffolk County elected leaders, local business owners, and town personnel to work together to create sensible and safe plans to reopen our communities. There are hard decisions to be made in the days and months ahead, and we appreciate his concern and efforts.
It is of great comfort to know that our town government is working nonstop to protect us from the disease while also efficiently managing and operating our town. A sincere thank-you to our town board members for their hard work and dedication.
Whatever we can do to help curb the spread of Covid-19 we must do. Governor Cuomo has mandated that we wear a mask if we are unable to effectively use social distancing. Wear gloves. These measures are easy to do and help to protect all of us. Please, dispose of these items responsibly.
We will get through this together, with patience and kindness as our guides.
PAUL F. KEBER
SUSAN MCGRAW KEBER
April 30, 2020
To the Editor:
While Amagansett’s postal patrons seem compliant in using protection when conducting their business, the used gloves littering the grass beside and in front of the Post Office create a terrible eyesore. In spite of one, often two, large plastic bags affixed to the entrance railing, many individuals just toss aside their used gloves.
We have been told that the Postal Service has financial problems, but until a real trash container is placed near the building, is it asking too much to properly dispose of these items?
Is this the view we wish to present to our village’s residents and visitors?
May 4, 2020
Yesterday was a beautiful, early, summer-like day, and I went out just to get basic errands done at the hardware store, gas station, pharmacy, and supermarket. I never removed my face mask, even when in transit. I was stunned to see a large majority of people walking around in town not wearing masks. What a change from just a week ago when everyone inside the shops and on the streets was wearing one. Did someone declare that once May rolled around, and we are now in shorts and T-shirts, that ditching our masks while in public is suddenly okay? Did I miss that memo?
I also took a ride down to the beach (Wiborg’s) and was [equally] shocked that just about everyone out on the beach was not wearing a mask. There were several groups of adults and children in beach chairs with coolers sitting very close to one another. It was just one big party despite all of the posted signs advising against this. Some appeared to be day-trippers.
This was about 2 in the afternoon with no police in sight overseeing parking regulations. Why can’t there be stricter enforcement by the authorities? Now is the time. If we are truly going to get ahead of the curve and mitigate the spread of coronavirus in this community, there has to be compliance from every single person. I am very concerned that the infection rate is going to increase in East Hampton town in dramatic numbers over the next few weeks if this carefree behavior is allowed to continue.
Maybe it’s time to post larger signs in big red letters all over town and at every beach saying “FACE MASKS ARE MANDATORY EVERYWHERE IN PUBLIC,” even outside and at the beach. If you cannot comply, return to your home. No exceptions. No negotiations. I implore our town supervisor to tackle this situation with full steam now. The clock is ticking very fast.
April 29, 2020
East Hampton has been admirably pro-active in its efforts to thwart the spread of Covid-19. Signs posted that instruct one and all to wear masks in public are evidence of this. However, not everyone seems to have gotten the message as one can see a fair number of people — walking, jogging — who, for whatever reason, decided to forgo this simple method of protection (for them and the community). Hopefully, a greater sense of responsibility will somehow occur, and we will witness 100 percent participation in this simple but effective virus-thwarting effort.
In the Air
May 4, 2020
“Cold, fog, tempest, disease, exile, and death — death skulking in the air, in the water, in the bush.”
From “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad.
Yours in hope,
CAPT. HARVEY L. BENNETT
May 4, 2020
The only way that residents would be able to enjoy our beaches is if the town stops selling nonresident passes and stops selling day passes. It’s evident by the throngs of cars that come out here for day trips that we will be deluged during the summer by people coming out here from out of town.
At 4 p.m. on a Saturday in late April, I saw bumper-to-bumper traffic streaming from Amagansett to Southampton, with cars full of people returning from their joy ride out to Montauk.
If the town allows sales of nonresident passes, our beaches are going to be so crowded that they will have to be shut down completely during this pandemic to provide social distancing. With residents only, we could at least enjoy the beaches ourselves. And I hope this is only for one summer.
I’m sorry if this sounds isolationist, but that’s what will keep us from all getting sick.
April 30, 2020
Dear East Hampton Star,
Well, here I am again complaining about my “favorite” subject for the nth time. The thing is that there is actually a difference that should be noted; otherwise I wouldn’t bother. The difference is the coronavirus. As we all know, as soon as the virus began killing people elsewhere, many city folk fled in our direction. Some may have brought the virus with them. I’m not sure. What they did do was make a difficult situation worse by putting a strain on our grocery supply line. Thanks for that.
But the real problem I have seen, which is not confined to the city people, is a surge in traffic violations. And it’s not just in our area. Countrywide speeding tickets are up a whopping 800 percent! I know that when I do venture out, regardless of the time of day, I have people tailing me and honking and flashing their lights. I don’t speed as a rule, and I know I’ve written about this before. However, the problem is actually worse.
Now add to this the fact that a lot of people are out and about on their bicycles and other nonstandard vehicles (skateboards, elliptical cycles, and similar) and many are choosing to use them on roads that are notoriously dangerous and they completely ignore basic rules of etiquette, not to mention rules of the road. None seem to realize that they have to stop at stop signs, and the only thing keeping them from running red lights is the obvious presence of cars. The most dangerous practice is choosing roads that have little or no shoulder. Even then, as I have said a thousand times, it can be difficult for cars to share the road since there might be service trucks (lawn care/tree care, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc.) that are parked in the road and causing a traffic hazard. The presence of bicycles and other nonstandard vehicles just makes the roads unsafe.
I was particularly miffed yesterday when on numerous occasions I came across cyclists who were riding two or three together, not single file as specified in the New York State driver’s manual. Yes, it’s a regulation. They were doing this on roads that not only had no shoulder but were particularly narrow (like Old Stone Highway). Complicating things were the huge puddles, which remained after the rain the day before. I did my best to be polite and not press the issue, but as they were unable to keep up with even half the speed limit, and I was being pestered by cars behind me who were in danger of ramming my rear bumper, I had to try to make them get over. And, by the way, there was traffic on the other side of the road; I couldn’t go around them if I had wanted to. And just as one guy got over so I could pass, the rider in front of him started swerving out in front of me as I tried to do so.
I’m already tired of taking my life in my hands when I go out to shop (traffic-wise — I’m not really scared of getting the coronavirus personally). This has been complicated for all of us by the social distancing and mask-wearing regulations, which are onerous and have added hours to a simple shopping trip. I also understand how frustrating it is for everyone to be cooped up at home and that there is a wish to go outside when it’s nice. However, that doesn’t mean you should be making other people’s lives harder by walking, jogging, or riding on unsafe roads — many of which have signs inviting you to do so. I think the people responsible for those signs are ignorant of the reality and ought to be held responsible for encouraging life-threatening behavior. We all have to live here. We all have to get through this. So try to think of others when you are out in public. And, for god’s sake, wear a mask in public! It’s the law right now. And it means you should be doing it when riding, jogging, or walking even on back roads — you’re not the only one out there!
Suggestion: I know it’s unfeasible but it might be in the public interest to outlaw vehicles other than cars and trucks on all of our roads unless we can get the speeding problem under control. Just wishful thinking in the public interest. Frankly, and I hate to say this, I think the bicycle riders are too self-absorbed to care about anyone else. Please prove me wrong and really think twice about riding on dangerous back roads. And maybe invest in a stationary bike.
Thanks for reading. Sorry to be a grouch this time, but I’m really steamed. Saddest of all is that I used to love to ride out here once upon a time.
All About Me
May 4, 2020
Kudos to Susan Harder for her speaking out against “them” coming out and acting like road warriors and savaging the shelves in our local stores. As I mentioned on previous occasions, the so-called elitist behavior is abhorrently rude and selfish. There has always been an undercurrent of dislike for their all-about-me behavior, not only on the roads, but everywhere. Tailgating, crossing double lines, and passing on curves — and on the right. The list of offenses is long. However, we in some fashion were enablers, for remaining silent and just raising an eyebrow or shaking our heads. It was learned behavior for them.
Now I see people speaking up and putting them on notice. We are tired of being brushed aside and cut in front of because they are in a hurry. The runner pressing the crosswalk button with the filthy soles of her designer running shoes and her vulgar reply to a senior woman who questioned her actions. Time is long past to not put them in their place but alert them to their bad manners. Ms. Harder’s bumper sticker will get stares for sure. There is an age-old book, “Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten.” Great book to learn simple manners. Leave your 212, 718, 201, and 203 attitude west of the canal.
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
May 4, 2020
To the Editor:
Hello all, and wishing everyone good health. I would like to suggest that grocery stores and delivery services that service them set aside designated time slots for home grocery delivery to seniors.
Thank you to anyone who can make this happen. I tried contacting Peapod and Stop and Shop directly. However, they do not respond to my emails.
This would be ever so much appreciated.
April 28, 2020
Massive slaughterhouse closures are driving U.S. consumers to plant-based meat products, as sick workers pay the price.
Tyson Foods, JBS U.S.A., and Smithfield Foods, the largest meat processors, have closed 17 plants, devastating rural communities and threatening the nation’s meat supply. Production is already down by 25 percent.
In reaction, U.S. sales of plant-based meats surged by 265 percent, according to the consumer data group Nielsen. Shares of Beyond Meat, a prominent plant-based meat brand, rallied by 60 percent.
A Washington Post investigation found that coronavirus outbreaks in more than 48 U.S. meatpacking plants have sickened at least 3,300 workers and killed 17. The companies failed to provide adequate protective gear to the workers and forced some with Covid symptoms to keep working. USA Today reports that more than 150 of U.S.’s largest plants operate in counties with the highest rate of coronavirus infection.
In addition to the generally accepted consumer health argument for avoiding animal food products, the pandemic has now added the worker health element. Production of plant-based meats requires much less labor and allows for ample physical distancing.
We can all support the switch to healthy food on our next visit to our supermarket.
Choice to Make
April 30, 2020
To the Editor:
The last time our country faced a Great Depression, the New Deal pulled us out. This time, at a time of crisis both economic and environmental, we need a Green New Deal.
In the midst of a pandemic, which is, paradoxically, giving us a taste of unpolluted clear skies, Washington fossil fuel cronies are trying to instigate a multibillion-dollar giveaway of federal funding to bail out oil and gas companies that pump greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. Meanwhile, because of the pandemic, the clean energy sector is having its own economic bad times.
We have a choice to make with federal aid, and I call upon Senator Charles Schumer to make it. We could have a post-pandemic recovery bill that supports a clean, green economy, combats climate change, and provides good jobs, or one that props up dirty oil and gas industries that harm poor communities and worsen both the climate and Covid-19 crisis. (People who live in polluted communities die more readily of the novel coronavirus.)
Let’s support renewable energy, and keep fossil fuels in the ground.
April 30, 2020
Our local Republican leadership love to tell us how wonderful they are and their sense of self-importance and knowledge is beyond reproach. Please spare me the worthless details. No one cares!
I am positive the East Hampton Republican leadership has taken the advice from their king and injected disinfectant and ultraviolet rays into their bodies. Let’s be honest and confirm the obvious: Lee Zeldin is a “political hack.” The praise which certain people lay at his feet is repulsive. To think of Trump’s “opening America congressional group” as a badge of honor is just drinking the Kool-Aid. The congressman who spends the majority of his time on Fox News portraying himself as Trump’s butt-boy was a perfect choice for a do-nothing committee.
As our East Hampton Republicans pay homage to Zeldin, there are people who wish he had a backbone and would have held a “town hall” before this pandemic hit. But then again, our local Republicans feel Trump’s daily briefings were worthwhile. Zeldin is mentally and ethically bankrupt, but Republicans feel free to “kiss his ring” after you see him “walking on water.”
No one cares about your tolerance level for political criticism during this time. Your incompetent leader is responsible for the position we are now in regarding this pandemic; he decided to take this February off and play golf in South Florida. One of these days, Zeldin Republicans will realize the man they bow to has been a disgraceful promoter of lies and political conspiracy topics, which do nothing but destroy the fabric of our country.
May 4, 2020
To the Editor,
One of the less talked about delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic affects renewable energy projects. Climate change and air pollution concern me, so I was disappointed to read in your April 30 issue that construction of the South Fork Wind Farm, and another Orsted wind project in Maryland, are currently paused.
Currently I generate clean energy from solar panels on the roof of my house, to power my home and my Tesla Model 3. But I don’t stay home all the time, at least in normal times. I drive to work, go to shows, eat out, and travel long distances to visit family. I want to know that my modern lifestyle is increasingly fueled by clean energy coming into the grid.
The need to slow the spread of the coronavirus is clearly for the greater good, but the greater good also means slowing climate change and reducing air pollution. To do that, we need to replace fossil fuels with large-scale offshore wind, land-based wind and solar farms.
Hopefully, construction of such projects, including the South Fork Wind Farm, will meet Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s criteria for low-risk industries for which coronavirus limitations will soon be eased.
Looking forward to a carbon-free future for myself, my children, and their children.
May 4, 2020
As we continue to work our way through this worldwide pandemic, Trump and his administration’s attempts to distract the public with false promises, sideshows, partisan blame, and every other diversion under the sun, all geared to avoid our most pressing needs: more funding for more tests, and more federal aid to Long Island and New York State.
The virus is in our population, it lurks waiting for the opportunity to spread massively with every opportunity that presents itself, and it has proven to be undetectable to the naked eye without sophisticated testing. Nobody at this point denies asymptomatic cases and transmissions. But with widely available testing and case tracing, we can cut off outbreaks before they become uncontrollable.
So why is the Trump administration so focused on hollow promises, attacks, and denials? Earlier this week, Trump promised the nation a vaccine by the end of the year. That would be great, but he has no evidence to back up his claim, just an empty promise and a desperate hope that people will suspend reality and blindly believe him (exactly like his unfounded promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a wonder cure).
Trump and Lee Zeldin want us to blame solely the Chinese for this pandemic. Without a doubt, China was dead wrong to hide the outbreak’s initial numbers. But that doesn’t hide the fact that the Trump administration, as early as January, when they had the intelligence that the United States was vulnerable to the coronavirus, failed to prepare us to protect ourselves. Furthermore, all the blame in the world is not going to make it safer to return to our regular lives without adequate testing.
It’s time for the federal government to utilize all its resources to make rapid-results testing available to everyone. Invoke the Defense Production Act and step up production of a high-quality test. Get factories to produce the components necessary for these tests to be administered everywhere without delay. And speed up the deployment of accurate antibody tests, following the successful path of other countries’ efforts. In conjunction with trying to reopen the economy, we must also focus on the necessary steps that will allow recovery to be sustainable. To start the economy without testing is counterproductive. No one wants a second wave of the coronavirus, so our government needs to take the steps to reduce its likelihood.
Candidate for Congress
Can Only Hope
May 4, 2020
To The Star:
By downplaying Covid-19 when it was spreading across China and Europe, Donald Trump wasted valuable time that the federal government could have used to create a strategic plan for dealing with what was surely coming our way. Instead, Trump maintained the virus would just disappear, “like a miracle.” He dug this country into a deep hole, then flung the shovel away, leaving states and cities to dig themselves out.
After years of “I alone can fix it,” suddenly now it’s “I take no responsibility at all.” Trump is a complete fraud. How did we get here? With the help of a cohort of Republicans, including Lee Zeldin, who have never had the courage to call Trump out for his countless failings and transgressions.
In November, we can only hope voters choose candidates who take seriously the awesome responsibility of leading and representing the people of this country.
Twisted and Distorted
May 4, 2020
To The Star:
In Wednesday’s New York Times Business Section, an article on Marc Benioff, C.E.O. of Salesforce, describes how he set in motion a process to secure millions of pieces of equipment to deal with Covid-19. When the University of California San Francisco asked Benioff for help because the federal and state governments were unable to provide the material for the school, he took up the challenge and set up an enormous supply chain to help deal with the crisis.
So, how did Mr. Benioff accomplish his task in a matter of days when our government has figured out almost nothing in the past three months. It is easy to blame the government’s incompetence and stupidity except that up until this one it has performed pretty well in crisis situations.
Leadership is what it’s all about. Benioff identified the problem and put his team to work. Trump identified the problem and pretended it wasn’t happening. The solution is simple and straightforward. In a crisis of this nature, the leadership identifies the seriousness of the problem and gets out of the way. With Covid-19, the leadership, Donald Trump, has personalized the process and has twisted and distorted it to meet his own particular needs.
At the root of Trump’s perverse and deranged actions are two divergent concepts. The relationship between elected officials and the public is not ambiguous. Elected officials serve at the behest of the public and the public interest supersedes theirs exponentially. They are hired to do a job. Everyone who is either elected or hired by the government has only one primary obligation — loyalty to the American people. Loyalty to the president or their bosses directly violates the premise of their employment. Their loyalty, a really weird concept, is to the people who pay their salaries. When Trump demands loyalty from other government workers, he violates his oath of office.
The second conceptual issue is the president’s mental health. His psychological and personal dysfunction make him a liability to solving any problems that are not directly related to his getting re-elected. Growing up in a neo-fascist household where there were only winners and losers obligated him to eliminate feelings of compassion or empathy. He views people as objects without value and is unaffected by how they are treated or what happens to them.
By most human standards he is defined as being genetically defective, missing the empathy gene, like many people who have willingly participated in atrocity behavior. In a fascist universe losers have no standing and are classified as subhuman and expendable.
Covid-19 was beyond anything he imagined having to deal with as president. Consequently, he did virtually nothing. Despite months of warnings and evidence of the problem in China, he punted. He couldn’t envision the virus as bringing him anything except grief. Taking on this problem was illogical. He avoided, then made up, stories about his efficacy in dealing with it. He personalized a situation that was beyond his capacity to deal with and exposed his genetic and intellectual flaws.
The answer to why we are so unequipped to deal with Covid-19 is that our president doesn’t really care about it. He wants it to go away. If 100,000 or one million people die, let it happen quickly so we can move on.
Failure to post is about not showing up at the only time it really mattered. It is the sobriquet for a failed president and a failed human being. It is the dark side of MAGA.
The Public Trust
May 4, 2020
To the Editor:
Is there a double standard, or in other words is it #MeToo or more like Me Not?
Sexual misconduct and assault are foul and horrific criminal acts. President Clinton, Vice President Biden, President Trump, and Justice Kavanaugh all have found themselves facing allegations of sexual misconduct. But this is where the similarities stop.
On the Trump and Kavanaugh side, they were private citizens, not elected or appointed government officials in the public trust on the public dime. In this type of scenario, there are two avenues to address these types of allegations. 1.) Pursue criminal charges, say, of which none were ever filed. 2.) Pursue civil litigation to seek compensation. In civil litigation, the findings are public record unless sealed by the court or pursuant to an agreement between the two parties.
On Vice President Biden and President Clinton’s sides, both men were not private citizens, but rather elected officials in the public trust on the public’s dime. Both men were alleged to have committed sexual misdeeds to their subordinates in their government place of work. As to President Clinton, we all know the story and the legal path that it took.
As to Vice President Biden, the alleged sexual misdeeds have yet to be litigated. The statute of limitations for criminal prosecution has long passed. Civil litigation is still viable, as is a congressional investigation because there is no statute of limitations on criminal acts committed by elected officials and the vice president was a U.S. senator at the time.
Because of Clinton’s and Biden’s status as elected officials, this adds a great degree of severity. I want to make this very clear. This does not diminish the severity of the allegations against Trump and Kavanaugh but rather increases the seriousness of the allegation against Biden and Clinton.
We also must remember the fundamental foundation of our system of justice: innocent until proven guilty. It is as important to protect the rights of the accuser as well as those of the accused.
Where hypocrisy comes into play [is] when individuals dismiss the severity of the proven allegations against President Clinton for an incident that occurred while in the public trust on the public dime only to then express outrage during allegations against President Trump and Justice Kavanaugh for incidents that happened as private citizens is to be once again dismissive of the charge against Vice President Biden while an elected U.S. senator in the public trust on the public dime.
What we have learned from all this is partisan activist journalists, entertainers, political partisans, and those pushing political ideologies only care about the victims of sexual assault, the rights of the accused, and due process when it suits their political ideology.
These hypocrites do a great disservice to our nation and everyone who has ever been wronged. Hypocrites only help to foster division in our society and corrupt the fundamental cornerstone to our society, or innocent until proven guilty. Lastly, this type of deceptive conduct empowers sexual predators and creates an environment where victims of sexual predation are intimidated not to come forward and this is unacceptable.
During this time of need, remember those less fortunate, do something positive, check on the elderly neighbor or someone that 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
May 4, 2020
The truthful news on Gen. Michael T. Flynn is finally out for all to hear.
The crooked F.B.I. went after him to either get him to lie or be able to fire him. Handwritten notes have been found to prove this.
They tried with perjury traps to get him; clearly the government was trying real hard to set the general up. The government had only special violations of every protocol for him, as they were determined to take him out. All this under James Comey’s watch.
The Mueller report had all this information and ignored it. These F.B.I. agents requested that the Flynn case remain open, so they could find something on him.
In God and country,