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Letters to the Editor for August 6, 2020

Wed, 08/05/2020 - 18:12

Fond Memories
Rockland, Me.
August 1, 2020

Editor:

It was with great shock and sadness that I read the news of the death of Rick Murphy from his esteemed peer, Jack Graves.

I worked with Rick at The Star an impossible-to-believe 25 years ago; I remember getting a speeding ticket once and asking Rick if there was anything I could do about it. “Ask for a supporting deposition,” I am pretty sure was his advice. The judge threw the case out of court.

And I remember asking Rick who his favorite once-hated artist was. Without any delay he said, “Elvin Bishop.” (Mine was Gilbert O’Sullivan.)

Ah, Rick. A slew of fond memories, pal.

C.J. MELLOR

 

Gratitude
Montauk
July 29, 2020

Dear Letters’ Editor,

As big as you can, please create caps to express thanks to the Town of East Hampton’s Department of Human Services. I know it is engaged in a whole array of worthwhile activities, but they have really nailed it with its concern for seniors! When the March mandate and closedowns occurred, I learned that meals were going to be sent to seniors so that they could stay at home. Friends actually “raved” about the quality, but I did not participate for I am dense when recognizing how my own years have crept up on me!

A recent bout with the virus has now kept me homebound, and I have finally availed myself of this program. Wow is all I can say. So to the taxpayers (of course!), and the menu planners and the procurers and the preparers and the deliverers, I would like to express my personal gratitude, which I know must be shared by a host of our town’s elders!

Sincerely,

GERTRUDE R. MURPHY

 

Class Act
East Hampton
August 3, 2020

Dear David,

I want to let everyone know that the Springs Food Pantry gets an A-plus for a superb job during this pandemic. As a registered nurse and clinical social worker, I am well acquainted with Covid-19. Nevertheless, I have been going to the pantry every Wednesday for the past three months to pick up food for a friend who gave birth in early May.

 What a delightful experience from start to finish with every safety precaution in place. The young traffic officers direct you in off the highway, a volunteer asks you to line up, the greeter on the stairs gets you inside, then wonderful people check you in. Moreover, the kitchen staffers start to pack up your refrigerator items while two other volunteers take your boxed and bagged food for you. Next, outside the main building, is a gentleman giving you a frozen dinner or frozen fish to add to your groceries. I know that Balsam’s farm donates some of the fresh items like lettuce, zucchini, and cucumbers. Additionally, Nick and Toni’s refrigerator truck was part of the pre-made dinner giveaway for many weeks. However, I am sure there are others who also donate to the pantry, and I wish I could name them all here.

As was previously stated, my main point is that the Springs Food Pantry is a class act. So many cheerful, warm, and caring volunteers in this heat, with the constant threat of Covid-19, working together while treating everyone with the utmost respect. It is such a special place and gives me great hope for all of us as a community.

God Bless the food pantry with all their fantastic volunteers. I know I will miss my weekly visits.

DOREEN M. QUARANTO

 

Stellar Job
Bridgehampton
July 28, 2020

To the editor:

We collect our mail at the Sagaponack Post Office. Before the Covid crisis, visiting this charming little building with its extremely welcoming and helpful staff was always a delight. Since Covid hit our community the three employees of the post office have been inundated with mail and packages and have had to struggle through the extra load all in the midst of a fearful pandemic.

They have done a stellar job under tremendous pressure. We are deeply grateful for the work they are doing and that despite the circumstances, they have continued to be welcoming and helpful. We don’t highlight enough the work that so many are doing to keep us safe and sane: medical workers, store clerks, delivery people, maintenance crews, and, yes, postal workers. They all make living through the crisis a little easier and we are greatly appreciative.

LESLIE CLOSE

TOM GRUNFELD

 

Need Not Fret
East Hampton
August 3, 2020

Dear David:

The town board is determined to change the zoning of the Pantigo Place ball fields to make way for the construction of the Stony Brook Hospital satellite emergency room. The change will result in the destruction of two perfectly situated Little League fields, thus condemning young Little Leaguers and their families to recreational exile at the Stephen Hand’s Path site in Wainscott. Too far away from the young ball players and their families in Amagansett, East Hampton North, and Springs to conveniently access. Young ball players cannot help but be discouraged by the proposed ball field’s inaccessibility.

But you need not fret; Stony Brook has offered the town $ 1.75 million to make our children go away. That money will certainly make any parent happy to drive their sons and daughters across the village and down to Stephen Hand’s Path to Montauk Highway during the springtime evening rush hour. Especially after a hard day of work. But it only gets worse when you arrive to find a site devoid of place and without any nearby amenities, save a serviceable restroom. A park in name only, created with nothing more in mind than getting the children out of the way.

Our local families deserve better. Shame on the town board and Stony Brook for creating this win-lose deal. It’s unconscionable that the effort to find an acceptable replacement site for the Pantigo Place ball fields led to such an inferior selection.

By their actions the town board and Stony Brook show little respect for the families of our community. Let the Pantigo Place ball fields stay where they are until an equitable site can be found.

Keep our children active, safe, and nearby.

CHARLIE WHITMORE

 

Few Tombstones
Springs
August 3, 2020

Dear David,

Last Saturday at the Arts Center at Duck Creek, you and Donnamarie Barnes gave an enlightening and humanizing presentation of the progress that your Plain Sight Project has already achieved.

Your Plain Sight Project has the proper name. As you stated, the East End had many hundreds, maybe thousands, of slaves who included Blacks, Indians, and other ethnicities. Yet, in East Hampton, where there is a sizable number in diverse locations, there are very few tombstones of people who were slaves.

The Plain Sight Project is a review of our history that advances some prior related work. In East Hampton, the town’s Nature Preserve Committee became active in 2008 finding and evaluating noncommercial cemeteries, especially ones on preserves and on private property. There have been great advances from Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island and from the Eastville Community Historical Society in Sag Harbor.

It is known that Sylvester Manor in the 17th and 18th centuries owned many African and Native American inhabitants as slaves. There has been a belief that many “workers”“ were buried there, but they had never received tombstones. Several professors and graduate students from the Fiske Center for Archaeological Research from the University of Massachusetts in Boston did a professional search with special equipment that was able to find buried people without having to dig down to them. Many buried people were found.

We are learning from the Plain Sight Project that East Hampton had far more slaves than has been discussed in the past. The Nature Preserve Committee published a good but incomplete list of cemeteries in 2009. In the report and since then it has been believed and discussed that some of the reported cemeteries included burials that never had tombstones. For the Montaukett Indians in Montauk, which stones are tombstones and which are not, and which are missing, has not been fully determined.

East Hampton does have some old, especially family cemeteries that appear to be full. But some are large and only have one tombstone. As the Nature Preserve Committee reported, there is a large, important cemetery behind a house on Old Stone Highway near Springs School. The cemetery is quite large, 40 feet by 23 feet, yet it has only one tombstone. We should hire the Fiske Center or similar people to examine this cemetery and then do the same work on several other cemeteries that have large open space.

Here is what I think, or I hope, the burial investigators will find. We know that the one visible burial there is Thomas J. Davis, Civil War veteran, who served on the U.S. ship Heliotrope. He was an African-American. He had not been a slave. But what about the family he came from? There is some belief he married a local Indian. Why is there almost 1,000 square feet of cemetery and only one visible tombstone? I believe that his family are all around him.

ZACHARY COHEN 

 

Monuments
Amagansett
July 30, 2020

Dear David,

Something to bear in mind while debating the efficacy of removing monuments of Confederate generals and renaming military forts named after them: Confederate generals were traitors and the reason the South seceded was to protect the institution of slavery. One need only read the state secession ordinances to realize the rebellion was all about slavery and not some absurd romantic notion about defending the homeland. That myth ? the Lost Cause ? was fabricated by apologists, both in the North and South, who sought to downplay both the evils of the “peculiar institution” and the traitorous betrayal of Southern leaders. The names of the forts should be changed, the statues removed, and the rebel flag relegated to the garbage can. We should no more have a Fort Bragg than a Fort Benedict Arnold.

The generals after whom these forts were named were, almost to a man, slaveholders. They knew what they were fighting for, and had no problem stating so. As Henry Benning of Fort Benning fame opined, “A separation from the North was the only thing that could prevent the abolition of her [the South’s] slavery.”

As to the monuments, one only has to look at when and where they were erected. The bulk of them went up in the late 19th century through 1920, the heyday of the Ku Klux Klan, when in the aftermath of Reconstruction white supremacists regained power in the South. They instituted segregation and Jim Crow and 2,500 Blacks were lynched. The other large batch was erected in the 1950s and early 1960s when Southern racists wanted to fight back against the civil rights movement. They were frequently placed by courthouses so Blacks would know who was in charge.

One of the most famous Southern generals was James Longstreet, inarguably the second or third most important commander (after Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson) of the Confederacy. Yet outside a plaque by his birthplace and a statue in the city where he died there are no memorials to James Longstreet. His history was essentially expunged by those who erected those monuments. And why? Longstreet endorsed U.S. Grant for the presidency in 1868, supported racial harmony, and led a predominantly Black militia in confronting a racist white mob in New Orleans in 1874.

If that doesn’t tell what this was all about back then, I don’t what will.

Best,

PETER HONERKAMP

 

Wrong ‘Facts’
East Hampton
August 1, 2020  

To the Editor:

Hello, my name is Debra Fisher. I was featured in paragraph two of the article written by Bella Lewis titled “Distracted By Her 5-Year-Old.” Ms. Lewis never interviewed me, and she got the facts wrong. I write to you today to ask that you please write several corrections to the story:

1.My last name is misspelled.

2.My rear tire was not “grazed.” Instead, my rear tire was plowed into by the driver, Maria Blandon, causing me to fly off my bike and crash to the asphalt.

3.I did not state to anyone that I “slowed down because of traffic,” as I was just biking at a regular pace as I was making the left turn onto Collins following the traffic light (an arrow sign letting all cars and bikers know that they could proceed).

4.Ms. Lewis should have quoted the witness in the police report, Diane Mehroff, who stated that the driver was trying to make the light and sped up to do so, hitting the rear tire of my bike.

5.Ms. Lewis is mistaken when she wrote that I was taken via ambulance to the hospital for just elbow pain, as that is not the primary and major injury I experienced. Yes, I was bleeding from both hands, forearm, as well as my elbow. However, my leg and knee were incapacitated and required X-rays! I could not stand, and the ambulance people required a stretcher to take me away. How could Ms. Lewis have got that wrong?

6.I was severely injured, and Ms. Lewis failed to report this story accurately. Please make a correction in your next paper, as many cyclists are getting hurt and even killed by drivers who drive too fast, too close to cyclists, and are distracted! To report this story with so many wrong “facts” does not support getting the word out to your readers as well as local politicians that more must be done to protect innocent bikers!

Thanks,

DEBRA FISHER

Information about accidents comes from police reports. Ed.

 

Minor Disruption
Springs
July 29, 2020

Dear David,

After experiencing three successive power outages in a 24-hour period ? and during a heat wave to boot ? I can only wonder about the real reasons the self-centered billionaires in Wainscott are interfering with our getting the much-needed wind power from the proposed ocean wind farm.

They and their oligarch buddies from Texas oil are using their fortunes and unelected influence to stifle the laying of a cable from the wind farm to the power transfer station in Wainscott. Their excuses for not wanting the cable to go through Wainscott are suspect.

For one, the windmills will be far away in the ocean off Montauk, 40 miles from their Wainscott properties, not blocking their precious views at all. Second, the laying of the cable will be a short and minor disruption to their insular life.

Burying the cable deep in the ground via Wainscott is the quickest and most efficient option, saving us taxpayers a lot of money. Wainscott extends all the way to Sag Harbor; it is not limited to the few who live on the water. In fact, as outages have shown, all of us in East Hampton, not just in Wainscott, desperately need this new source of power. Our population has grown, putting great stress on our current electrical system. We cannot exist in a warming climate with yesterday’s solutions, particularly those relying on fossil fuels.

PEGGY BACKMAN

 

Shortsighted
East Hampton
July 29, 2020

To The Star:

Please help me understand this. East Hampton, a very wealthy area, has minimal cellphone connectivity. Residents and visitors are desperate for cellphone service for use in emergencies, and regular use is spotty at best.

The powers that be have decided that a cellphone tower in a church steeple is too ugly for the town to agree to. However, the town seems to have no problem with the use of 19th-century technology, i.e., aboveground electric wires, with mediocre service. The steeple was too ugly, but aboveground wires, which ruin the beauty of this bucolic area and are a constant danger to people, are just fine.

Is it that the residents have just accepted the hideous electrical system (which often fails) as just a quaint adornment to the town? Am I missing something?

By the way, if the electric power overlords were to calculate how much money has been spent on lawsuits for damage to people and property, and having to constantly restore power, they might realize how shortsighted their lack of plans is.

This is ridiculous.

KIM OLIVER

 

Comparison
Wainscott
August 3, 2020

Dear David:

I write this in my private capacity, and not as a representative of the town or the town planning board, which I chair. I have resided in Wainscott for over 26 years.

At the Aug. 1, 2020, Zoom meeting of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee, Mayor Donald Louchheim of the Incorporated Village of Sagaponack discussed incorporation, its costs, and its impacts on our neighbor across Town Line Road.

It seems clear to me that in considering the potential incorporation of Wainscott, the incorporation of Sagaponack, which occurred in 2005, does not form a valid basis for comparison. As Mayor Louchheim observed, Sagaponack is a homogeneous community, which cannot be equated with Wainscott.

Sagaponack’s 4.56 square miles cover an area from the Atlantic Ocean to the Long Island Railroad tracks. Wainscott’s 7.3 square miles extend from the Atlantic Ocean north to the boundary of the Incorporated Village of Sag Harbor. Sagaponack has a full-time population of approximately 320 residents and its land use is almost exclusively residential and agricultural; it has seven existing retail uses and a motel, but no manufacturing or commercial uses.

Wainscott’s full-time population is twice that of Sagaponack, and in addition to accommodating all types of residential lots and park/conservation lots, includes approximately 30 lots zoned central business and an even larger number of lots zoned commercial-industrial, near the town-owned airport and off Route 114.

While one might be tempted to argue that the taxes paid by Wainscott’s retail, commercial, and industrial uses would offset any tax increase which incorporation might impose on Wainscott’s residences, it is those retail, commercial, and industrial uses that are most likely to expose Wainscott taxpayers to legal fees that will arise when business plans are thwarted or limited by the application of an Incorporated Village of Wainscott’s zoning laws. These inevitable costs, which are open-ended and could continue for years, will be borne by Wainscott’s 650 full-time residents, with no certainty that litigation will achieve desirable results.

Of course, zoning-law disputes do not arise only in the context of commercial uses. The denial of a variance on a residential lot, as well, can result in the commencement of an Article 78 proceeding in state court. Also, to the extent that an Incorporated Village of Wainscott might wish to bond its obligations, which would merely forestall the payment of debts, legal fees associated with bonding will be incurred.

These expenses can only translate into increased taxes for all Wainscott taxpayers, far beyond that which incorporation’s proponents have been willing to acknowledge. Indeed, Mayor Louchheim reported that the Village of Sagaponack, which has kept expenses to a minimum and has contracted with the Town of Southampton for essential services such as police and road maintenance, has paid as much in legal fees as its annual village payroll.

When considering incorporation, Wainscott residents should bear in mind that even if the costs of contracting for essential services turn out to be more or less equal to the amounts which Wainscott residents pay now in town taxes for these services, the legal fees associated with enforcing zoning laws and defending the decisions of an incorporated village’s zoning board of Appeals, planning board, and architectural review board, which are essential to maintaining the character and heritage of Wainscott, which supporters of incorporation identify as among their chief goals, are potentially uncontrollable, and taxpayers in an incorporated Village of Wainscott will be required to bear those expenses on their own.

Very truly yours,

SAMUEL KRAMER

 

Already Saved
Wainscott
August 3, 2020

Dear David,

As a lifetime Wainscott resident I am fascinated by the group titled Save Beach Lane. I am fascinated because Beach Lane does not need saving.

I ask myself, who are they saving it for and what are they saving it from as I walk or bike on Beach Lane, which I do frequently, marveling at the enormous houses, larger than most in bucolic Wainscott. Ah, then it comes to me, they intend to “save it” from the wind-power utility cable that would be laid underground and out of sight — a cable that would transmit clean electricity for East Hampton Town.

Certainly that seems hypercritical to me. Why are they against it? Many of the Beach Lane houses already have underground utility power cables, buried gas lines, and fuel tanks to heat their pools, underground water mains, outdoor electrical lighting lines running all throughout their properties. They also have buried in their properties large cement septic rings for their enormous water runoff, gray-water catchment, and, yes, even sewage. They certainly didn’t complain when Suffolk County buried eight-and-a-half miles of new water mains throughout Wainscott.

But back to “Saving Beach Lane.” Are they saving it from overbuilding and large house development? I think not. That horse left the barn over 40 years ago because East Hampton Town saw what was on the horizon and up-zoned Wainscott and implemented architectural and square-footage code restrictions on residential lots and undeveloped farmland, giving us our open vistas and preserved land that we enjoy today. We are in an agricultural overlay district with many more restrictions than basic residential zoning. Most recently, the town preserved the Babinski farmland on Beach Lane.

 Beach Lane is Beach Lane. There is not more to be done there. It is what it is: lovely farmland graced by some of the largest, most expensive homes in Wainscott that have amazing views of beautiful farmland, Wainscott Pond, and, if lucky, ocean views. Lucky you! As you can see, Beach Lane was already saved by East Hampton Town.

What the Save Beach Lane group sought to do was not to have the cable from wind power buried down their street adjacent to their front yards, buried underground like all utilities and power lines they currently have running underground on their own properties. This “saving” was more a Not-In-My-Back-Yard (Nimby) issue or Not-In-My-Front-Yard issue. Nothing to do with saving anything or anyone.

So this elite group had no traction and has now morphed into Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott as their new name. Who and what exactly are they going to preserve that the town has not already handled?

They have proposed incorporating Wainscott to what end? Hardly a preservation or conservative measure by adding another layer of government that is unnecessary and unwanted; adding another level of taxation by creating a new municipality instead of remaining a simple hamlet. I see no preservation in this effort. What are they preserving other than their own — Save Beach Lane and Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott — interests?

What I see is a lot of money being spent on ads using catchy phrases meant to dupe taxpayers and residents into thinking this is a worthy effort. They have also hired a New York City law firm, an international P.R. firm, an engineering firm, and a municipal incorporation adviser. So ask yourselves who is spending all this money and to what end? Why do they need saving and from what?

I remain mystified by people who say, “We love it so much here! We love everything about it, so we bought a house.” And then they shape shift into the people who say, “Now that we are here, we need to change everything about it!” Perhaps it is the wrong fit to begin with if you feel it needs changing!

As I leave Beach Lane on my bike, I think, too, about how extremely expensive it is to run a super large house and property like the ones I see. It’s a shame they are usually empty most of the year. Nevertheless, full or empty, the electric meters are whirring away, full tilt, 24/7/365 and the underground power lines remain buzzing!

As for this group’s potential concept of a volunteer government it will never succeed. Wainscott has a hard time getting three people to run for school trustee. So the requirement for board members to sit on a planning board and a zoning board and the time to meet and service all applications, facilitate and process proposals is a pipe dream. The contentious issues of planning or zoning are better left to the established town boards with the legal firepower and institutional knowledge to professionally handle such important issues. Taking turns staffing a government is akin to asking unicorns to recite the Constitution. There will be no success. This is all such an expensive disaster waiting to happen. If they honestly feel like Wainscott is not properly represented within East Hampton Town, I suggest they start by volunteering to sit on any number of the boards available. Perhaps they can learn how municipalities actually function and the time and hard work involved by dedicated neighbors who serve on these boards.

Residents of Wainscott beware: The current iteration of this group is a solution in search of a problem we do not have, need, or want. We do not need saving or protecting. We have been just fine for over 370 years as a hamlet in the Town of East Hampton. Let’s stay that way.

Best,

DOREEN A. NIGGLES

P.S.: As villages across New York State recently are choosing to opt out of their incorporation at higher tax rates and rejoining the former municipalities they once were a part of, this group’s folly in these economic times is extremely dangerous and frivolous and we will have to pay for their experiment at vast expense in perpetuity. There is no going back, and once it is gone it will be gone forever.

 

Best Way to Fight
Wainscott
August 2, 2020

Dear David,

I am a longtime Wainscott homeowner and voter. I am concerned by the effort of a small group to incorporate Wainscott. This effort is being led by the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott. Everything I have read or heard from C.P.W. in its Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee presentations and otherwise, tells me it is a single-issue group dedicated to the defeat of the wind farm cable landing on Beach Lane. C.P.W. mentions other issues facing Wainscott, but it doesn’t say where it stands on them or offer any solutions.

My concern is not the wind farm. All interested parties, pro or con, including C.P.W., have a seat at the table in the discussions with the Department of Public Works. Whatever the department decides, there will inevitably be lawsuits and thousands of dollars spent on legal fees. I have no interest in a future Wainscott village that will have to assume responsibility for these costs, which would mean higher taxes for all of us.

My number-one concern is implementing the hamlet study adopted by the town in May 2020. Debunking the idea that Wainscott gets no attention from the town, Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc released a statement on May 11, 2020:

“Adoption of the hamlet and business studies into East Hampton’s Comprehensive Plan will help protect the unique character of our hamlets and our quality of life,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, who initiated the first study as town board liaison at the request of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee. Former Supervisor Larry Cantwell, upon being elected supervisor, expanded the effort to all five hamlets.

I attended many hamlet study sessions and walked the hamlet with town officials and the firms they hired to prepare a blueprint on how to turn Wainscott’s commercial district from a strip into a well-thought-out, attractive entrance to the Town of East Hampton. With a great deal of input from Wainscott’s diverse residents, the hamlet study recommends design changes to give architectural cohesion to the commercial strip, to add sidewalks and benches to promote walking and social interaction, new landscaping and lighting, and, importantly, a parking lot, desperately needed to relieve congestion. Implementing the study will likely involve up-zoning at both ends of Route 27 — never a popular endeavor with commercial developers — and lead to an expensive but worthwhile fight in the courts.

Is C.P.W. ready to take on commercial property developers whose interests are to control future development? Will a village have more expertise at the ready and financial resources available than the town to control and manage future development? I don’t think so. Again, if incorporation succeeds, it will mean higher taxes distributed over Wainscott’s small number of homeowners rather than the town’s larger tax base.

The hamlet study suggests continuing the planning process, with ongoing community participation, for the 70-acre area commonly referred to as the sand pit. Currently the sand pit is zoned 100 percent commercial/industrial. The hamlet study submitted a “mixed use” sketch of the sand pit to give the town a large park, with playing fields, the hamlet’s first appropriately-sized parking area within walking distance of existing stores, a modest amount of much-needed work force housing, as well as a smaller number of commercial-industrial lots toward the north end of the 70-acre parcel. I am particularly interested in this aspect of the study because mixed-use zoning would materially reduce additional degradation of Georgica Pond’s water, only a few miles away.

Assuring responsible development of the sand pit will require thousands of dollars of legal fees and expert advice, first to even read, much less respond to, the owner’s recently submitted proposed plan and related environmental impact statement. A village with a proposed operating budget of $300,000 is hardly set up to take this on. A village zoning board, a village planning board, and a village building department would each need paid, experienced staff and attorneys to advise them. The idea of a $300,000 village operating budget is disingenuous at best. Think many multiples of that budget for this project alone.

Instead of attacking members of the town board with personal insults, all Wainscott residents would be better served by joining forces to make our voices heard, to let the town board that we elected support our hamlet plan. That’s the best way to fight Wainscott industrialization and enhance Wainscott’s unique character and charm, not only for those fortunate enough to live near Main Street, but also for the majority of Wainscott residents who live year round south and north of Route 27, from the Atlantic to Route 114 and Sag Harbor.

We don’t need another layer of government and more taxes. We have 29 town departments working for us. We have a County Legislature and county executive, New York State assemblyman, New York State senator, and Congressional District 1 congressman. Do we really want more government? More taxes? I say no to incorporation.

ANNIE GILCHRIST HALL

 

Put At Risk
Sag Harbor
July 30, 2020

To the Editor:

I am shocked and dismayed by the flagrant disregard of personal protection protocols displayed by attendees at the high rollers Chainsmokers’ concert in Bridgehampton last week. That the town supervisor attended and did not shut the concert down is even more disturbing.

Attendees should be required to be tested, and contact tracing employed for those who test positive before this event turns into another “superspreader.”

Those of us on the East End who have played by the rules should not be put at risk by the actions of a few, especially those who should know better.

ED JABLONSKY

 

Huge Stain
Sagaponack
July 30, 2020

Dear David,

I agree 100 percent with your editorial last week, “Supervisor at Fault,” re: Jay Schneiderman’s massive lapse in judgment in allowing and participating in the Chainsmokers’ concert event. All common sense went out the window when he issued the permit. All in the name of securing a high profile gig for himself in front of 3,000 people? After the fallout, he tried to pass the buck on responsibility to the concert promoters. This was not only a huge risk and embarrassment to the town’s residents, but to all residents of the East End who are mindful of the precautions we need to have in place right now for any kind of gathering. In fact, the reports of this event went viral on many national news media outlets, putting a huge stain on the reputation of the Hamptons. Schneiderman needs to rub the stars out of his eyes, put the drums down, and resign from his day job now. Our town needs and deserves true leadership by example, and he failed us on this night.

Sincerely,

SLOAN FINLEY

 

Town Responsible
East Hampton
July 30, 2020

Dear David,

I fully agree with the editorial “Supervisor at Fault in Concert Debacle.” According to an article in The New York Post on July 27 (“Cuomo Calls Packed Chainsmokers Hamptons concert ‘illegal & reckless’”), Mr. Schneiderman said, “The organizer was supposed to make sure that people stayed in their square; they didn’t have enough security.” Isn’t the town responsible for ensuring that compliance with social distancing and mask wearing are enforced? For him to pass blame onto the organizer of the event is ridiculous.

Incompetent leadership across the country is why the coronavirus has continued to wreak havoc in the United States. I don’t live in Southampton, but I certainly would not vote for Mr. Schneiderman, and I hope residents of Southampton feel the same way!

RICH MOREY

 

High Fives
East Hampton
July 31, 2020

Dear David,

I would like to congratulate our town board on their swift and steadfast action to get a bill before the governor to end the State Department of Environmental Conservation’s mishandling of sand-mine permits and further digging into our sole source aquifer. Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc has shown his mettle and stood up for his constituents in this dire matter. Clean drinking water is a right of the townspeople. This is all of our water, town water, but private wells, too, which also draw their water from the aquifer.

We cannot let a bureaucracy such as the D.E.C. continue to rubber- stamp these sand-mine permits to do their damage to our aquifer. Enough. High fives all around to the entire town board, and to Assemblyman Fred Thiele for his wise support and for co-sponsoring this water protection bill which passed both houses of the State Legislature. All we need, and we are hopeful, is the governor’s signature.

It is time to return home rule of regulating sand mines to the towns. The D.E.C. has proven their incompetence by allowing sand mines to pollute as they please, with no regard for our drinking water. The people have spoken. The town has spoken. Our legislators have spoken. Our environmental experts have spoken. Now we await the governor’s pen. We hope he does the right thing.

I am proud to live in and have raised my children, and now grandchildren too, in a town that listens to their townspeople and cares about what matters: clean drinking water, and the safety of its community.

In gratitude,

NANCI LAGARENNE

 

Inaccurate
East Hampton
August 2, 2020

Dear David:

I write in response to Trustee Arthur Graham’s “Get Things Done” letter to the editor last week. I won’t go into details, as I just want to clarify some facts. Trustee Graham implies that he and one other trustee are solely responsible for almost all the recent improvements to Herrick Park. That is just not the case.

First, it was Barbara Borsack and I who are responsible for the purchase of the large adjoining property using Community Preservation Funds. We worked long and hard to see that come to fruition. In fact, the purchase of the property closed on July 11, 2017, two weeks after Mr. Graham became a trustee. He had nothing whatsoever to do with the purchase. It is true that the property sat unattended for a while due to budgetary constraints and other considerations. It was I who directed the Department of Public Works to begin cleaning it up this past spring, while giving consideration to the immediate neighbors.

The village is working to make that particular parcel available for passive recreation (walking paths, etc.) in the near future.

I also want to note that none of the things Trustee Graham mentions in his letter would have been possible without the support of a majority of the board. It is inaccurate and unfair for Mr. Graham to try to take credit for all the improvements he enumerates in his letter.

What Trustee Graham fails to point out is that he was appointed by the mayor to sit on the Herrick Park committee as a representative of the Village Board, and to advise the board regarding the committee’s discussions. The board then takes those discussions into consideration before making a decision regarding the park renovations.

I believe that we, as a board, should work together for the good of our village. Mr. Graham would be better served recognizing that fact.

RICK LAWLER

Mayor

East Hampton Village

 

Fish Hooks
East Hampton
August 3, 2020

Dear David,

In approximately six weeks, the residents of East Hampton Village will cast their votes in one of the most contested and consequential elections in Village history. We believe that the governance in the village, over many years, has become stagnant and insular. This is a normal tendency when the same people have been in power for an extended period, which in this case, can literally be measured in decades. In that context, people become resistant to divergent opinions and any suggestion of change can become a source of fear.

We are grateful for the service of the Elms Party leadership but feel a change is long overdue. We need a mayor and a board who not only welcome a diversity of opinion but seek it out. The residents of East Hampton are among the brightest and most creative people in the country. They are a tremendous untapped resource that must be engaged as a full partner in government. The need for a survey, seven weeks before an election, to identify the priorities of village residents, by a mayor and deputy mayor who have held office for over a combined 30 years, speaks volumes.

The Fish Hooks Party, with Trustee Tiger Graham as a candidate for mayor, David Driscoll, as a candidate for trustee, and Rose Brown, a recently elected trustee, envisions the community as a full partner, whose opinions will be solicited and valued. Our core mission is to represent and reflect the wishes of our electorate. We will be transparent and collaborative while optimizing the delivery of services, and dramatically improving both the efficiency and responsiveness of your local government. We feel being proactive, nimble, unafraid and inquisitive are hallmarks of good leadership. The staid, laidback approach is no longer effective in the rapid, ever evolving, context of today’s environment.

The introduction of some simple processes and protocols can help support our efficiency and responsiveness to residents. One example, currently, a resident can express a concern or complaint to a board member, the mayor, a department head, a village employee, the village administrator, or in a variety of other ways. The creation of a simple and accessible central complaint reporting database, which would archive the date a complaint was received, by whom, the nature of the complaint, the assigned entity or individual, the final resolution of the complaint, and, most importantly, the name of the official who contacted the complainant with the final results and the date of that contact. A simple process, such as this, would improve communication across the various entities of government while providing traceable documentation of complaints and ensuring accountability to the public.

We are a party that intends to advance an agenda that creates policy, which is thoughtful, deliberative and consistent with the values and character of the village, policy designed to shape the direction and pace of change. This is the meaning of balanced progress, a middle-ground option, falling squarely between the complacency of the Elms Party and the unbridled mentality of the Newtown Party.

As Election Day draws near, we will continue to use this and other platforms to share our vision and clarify what distinguishes us from the Elms and Newtown Parties and makes us the clear choice for the future.

Sincerely,

ARTHUR GRAHAM,

Trustee

DAVID DRISCOLL

ROSE BROWN,

Trustee

 

Vision and Passion
East Hampton
July 27, 2020

To The Star:

I have known Barbara Borsack for many years. As I think about voting for the critical position of mayor of East Hampton Village, I look for a record of accomplishments and depth of experience in local government. I know Barbara well from our many years as board members of the East Hampton Historical Society, and our shared commitment to conserving the beauty and essence of East Hampton Village. I know that Barbara has what it takes to be the next mayor of the village. She has served for many years in our local government, importantly as deputy mayor. Good governmental leadership requires honesty, integrity, excellent communication skills, confidence to inspire others, resilience, and transparency. She has the vision and passion to keep this beautiful village protected.

Moreover, she has demonstrated her commitment to fiscal responsibility contributing strongly to our current Aa-1 credit rating.  She is open to new ideas and essential realistic improvements. Her decision-making skills, government experience, and capabilities make her uniquely qualified to hold this office.

The alternative candidates will bring us to a different crossroads in this election.

Do we want to keep our residential community’s quality of life? Do we want a thoughtful, revitalized commercial village? We must vote to keep East Hampton the most beautiful village in America. I will cast my vote for Barbara Borsack because of her record and my faith in her abilities and leadership to take us forward.

MAUREEN BLUEDORN

 

Open Defiance
Springs
August 1, 2020

Dear David:

The DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) kids are at risk yet again. And only because the Trump administration is defying the ruling by the Supreme Court that invalidated his attempt to rescind the DACA program in its entirety.

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision invalidating the administration’s attempt to rescind DACA, various courts have ruled that the court’s decision restored DACA to its pre-rescission status. Consistent with these rulings, the Trump administration was enjoined from continuing to implement the DACA rescission, and from taking any other action that would impair the DACA protections that conflict with the courts’ decisions.

Accordingly, these rulings require the Trump administration to reopen the DACA program to all new applicants. Sounds great, right? Well, Attorney General Barr has a different idea. On June 30, he issued a letter to the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (none other than Chad Wolf, who is responsible for fomenting the violence in Portland and in other U.S. cities) wiping the slate clean. So Mr. Wolf can proceed anew with efforts to again rescind DACA.

In the interim, Mr. Wolf announced that the department would, among other unlawful actions, reject all new requests for DACA and henceforth roll back the protection offered by DACA from two years to one year. In so doing, the Trump administration has announced its official defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling and the orders of the lower courts implementing that ruling. This open defiance of valid court orders is nothing short of contempt, and it should be punished as such.

The sad thing is that the news media has been so mesmerized by the fishing lure tossed into the water by Mr. Trump in criticizing a mail-in election process and speciously musing about refusing to accept the election result, it has failed to shine a light on Mr. Trump’s contemptuous actions that have [done] immediate harm to fundamental rights and lack any constitutional imprimatur.

Americans must flock to the polls this November, however that is to be done, and send this lawless regime packing.

Sincerely,

BRUCE COLBATH

 

The Echo
East Hampton
July 31, 2020

Dear David,

East Hampton is still a farming and fishing community, but increasingly a second or first-home seaside refuge for those fleeing New York City. As such, environmental issues are not a luxury for us; rather they are essential to our livelihood.

Federal government policies can help or hinder us as we strive to protect what is important locally. The League of Conservation Voters monitors every vote cast by each member of Congress and rates it as positive or negative vis-a-vis the environment. The most important categories for us are oceans, clean water, and dirty energy versus climate change. A study of the L.C.V. website reveals that on those issues our congressman, Lee Zeldin, has a record of voting against the environment 77 times versus 7 positive votes.

Looking deeper, his positive votes are of two kinds: things like voting against shark finning, which requires no courage since we don’t eat shark fins much, or votes against amendments so crackpot that even large groups of Republicans rejected them. This is maybe not surprising, since Mr. Zeldin relies on the Koch brothers and fossil-fuel interests for major campaign contributions.

It was surprising, however, to see Mr. Zeldin’s performance in the recent hearing discussing the bounty that C.I.A. intelligence believes Russia paid to the Taliban for killing American soldiers in Afghanistan. It has been widely reported that Trump has spoken to Putin six times since our intelligence community exposed that program, yet Trump has not had the gumption to even mention it to Putin. This is unsurprising, as we’ve known since Zelinsky that Trump is, for whatever reason, Putin’s puppet.

But Zeldin wears his support for our military on his sleeve. We might expect outrage. Instead he used his time to misquote and cast doubt on the military and intelligence officers testifying, and to whine about the fact that the public only learned of this Russian program because of leaks of classified information. This is typical lawyering, to suppress evidence rather than address the issue head-on, but a major wimp-out if your job is to protect Americans fighting in foreign lands. The bottom line: Zeldin’s voice is the echo we hear when Trump speaks.

Assuming Trump will fail in his most recent unconstitutional gambit, to postpone the election, in November we can elect Nancy Goroff. As a scientist, she is professionally trained to deal in facts and evidence rather than a lawyer’s obfuscation. She will not be silent when someone calls climate change a Chinese hoax. She will encourage us to follow the advice of scientists on Covid-19, and express her outrage for the purveyors of magical thinking. Most important for a district already contemplating moving Montauk’s town center to higher ground, she will not be obliged to follow the dictates of dark money.

It’s hot and getting hotter. Lifelong Republicans like George Will, Bill Kristol, Steve Schmidt, and many others are pointing to cracks in the foundation of constitutional government that elected Republicans have endorsed with their silence. The Lincoln Project, Republicans Against Trump, and even a bunch of alumni of the Bush Administration, 43 Alumni for Biden, are all spontaneously organized Republicans raising and spending millions of dollars to defeat Trump and all of the toadies who have enabled him. These are not normal times.

DON MATHESON

 

Disgraceful
Springs
August 2, 2020

Dear David,

I sat and watched Dr. Alveda King, as she spoke about the left, including ex-President Obama, take an occasion, such as John Lewis’s funeral, for a political moment. They will grab at any opportunity; that’s understood.

John Lewis should be remembered as a peaceful man, a nonviolent warrior. I’ve been watching the films from the march on the bridge. This was sinful what happened, the beatings so uncalled for. The police should have been punished for this scene.

However, President Obama with his word play took us back to the 1960s when segregation was very much alive and on the books. I feel by President Trump sending in the National Guard, he’s protecting the people, trying to save lives.

I really get sick and tired of listening to politicians remark, everything was fine, summer of love, all went bad when Trump sent in the Guard. How stupid do you take the American people for? Burning buildings, defacing property, beating and killing people, looting, all this is okay.

Let’s not get into voting remarks. As Obama politicized at the funeral, he grabbed at an opportunity to be political. Pastor W. quoted Isaiah:53. Jesus died to protect us, we were healed. This pastor took Isaiah:53 and applied it to John Lewis. What a disservice. This hero, John Lewis, was a good man, and the left showed how disgraceful they could be, especially ex-President Barack Hussein Obama.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO

 

Grossest of Scams
East Hampton
August 3, 2020

To The Star:

Nothing is simpler or more lucrative than scamming the American people. The Art of the Scam is the essential piece of Bannon’s plan to deconstruct the U.S. government. How it works is relatively simple. A piece of government is chosen, say the Postal Service. A campaign about the incompetence and financial losses is orchestrated. There are a few grains of truth in these claims. Then a plan is drawn to privatize the Post Office. Then a group of congressmen and senators make sure that funding for the post office is compromised. Finally, the postal administration is infiltrated (by presidential appointment in some form) and the new leadership begins the process of taking the post office apart.

The P.O. is a double whammy for the scammers. It is quite lucrative, but even more important is that it controls mail-in voting. Once privatized, the unions are disbanded, pensions disappear, and the cost of stamps doubles.

In truth, the P.O. is what America is all about. Historic, prolific, and positive. Everyone knows and trusts the P.O. workers. Yet we will allow it to go down because we can’t differentiate between fact and fiction.

The $600 Covid-19 payment is another example in full-scam mode. We are in the midst of a pandemic. It is not a moment for whiners, wankers, and scammers to debate the merits of virginity. This is serious shit.

Watching an Enterprise Institute economist get schooled on NPR by an ex-Obama economist, Austan Goolsbee, simple and upfront. The E.I. guy said that giving workers more money than they earned was an incentive not to work. (Disincentivizing dodo.) The response was while that is true in a normal economy, nothing about today’s economy is normal. Second, there is no sense of when the economy will return to normal. Third, most of the jobs that were lost aren’t coming back. Consequently, and to the point, almost no one isn’t going back to work because of the additional $600. The E.I. guy wasn’t scamming because he proposed alternative ideas, but the reality of the problem is total bullshit (the Republican position). The problem doesn’t exist in today’s world, and is easily rectified if the economy changes. Additionally, the $600 is keeping parts of the economy afloat, and that is based on demand creates supply reality, not trickledown.

Understanding that the $600 is a lifeline to people who have no other choices makes it clear that the Republican scam machine is devoid of compassion and conscience. It is almost subhuman, or may actually be there.

Scamming has become so normalized in Republican politics that we almost ignore its existence. With a few grains of truth, the grossest fabrications pass for truth. They have been so consistently lying, except when they criticize the Democrats that they are no longer capable of differentiating between truth and lies. This pathology of misinformation and outright fabrication is personified in Trump. It allows us to understand the evangelical attraction to Trump because he is their metaphorical Jesus.

What Trump gives the Republican Party is a level of vulgarity and lack of conscience that facilitates the grossest of scams with a happy face. “I’ve done more for black people then any president since Lincoln, if only these [people] wouldn’t insist on their right to vote.”

We can all throw up together in a country where bile is sold as a cure for Covid-19. We will probably have to pay for it because in our country there is no free lunch.

NEIL HAUSIG


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