We Are Blessed
September 14, 2020
On Sept. 5, I needed help for my husband, John. I called my neighbor Carolyn Blackmar, who is taking her test this week to become an E.M.T., and she came right over and called for help and did what she could to help him until the ambulance arrived. Police Officer Phil Marino, Paramedic Stephan Aran and ambulance Capt. Dustin Lightcap arrived within minutes and did all that they could for him. They were skilled, compassionate, and professional.
Unfortunately, John passed away in the ambulance. Carolyn spoke with me at the hospital and continues with follow-up calls. She will be a great addition to our ambulance service in Montauk.
We are blessed to have such dedicated first responders in our community. Thank you for all that you did that day and every day.
Need Police Help
September 12, 2020
To the Editor:
On behalf of my neighbors half-a-mile in four directions from the intersection of Route 114 and Stephen Hand’s Path, I respectfully request help from the East Hampton police. We are victims day and night of at least three crimes: disturbing the peace, excessive noise violations, and speeding/reckless driving.
This is a busy intersection, especially in August. No complaint. There are heavy trucks grinding through. No complaint. And a lot of cars. No complaint.
But there is no excuse for the behavior of some motorcyclists and other drivers day and night. This minority of motorcyclists and hot-rodders accelerate out of the intersection full-blast and keep gunning it with a long, snarling roar for a mile or more. And we can hear, sitting in our homes, our yards, or trying to sleep, the blasting, insanely rising scream as they keep accelerating.
There is nothing normal about this. We hear plenty of motorcycles passing with normal engine sounds. No, this is some combination of macho, racecourse fantasy, and thrill-seeking with, it seems obvious, some glee in the power to shatter the peace — as once whooping and firing guns in the air defied the peace in towns in the Old West.
Anyone who has sat with friends in the yard, or inside the house, when this sudden totally unnecessary racket shatters the peace knows exactly the intent of the driver: a power trip, to rip through the East Hampton serenity as he passes — finally getting attention.
The police protect us in many ways. I admire them and support them. But of all traffic patrolling they do, stopping these crimes should be a priority: disturbing the peace, excessive noise violations, and speeding/reckless driving.
A police car not readily visible to motorists, assigned a couple days and nights to the intersection to stop and ticket gross violations of the law, quickly would restore our right to peace in our homes. I know that the East Hampton police can do it. They should focus on motorcycles, plus cars and trucks without adequate mufflers or driven as racing vehicles.
And I and many other taxpayers will be grateful. It has been pointed out that “lifestyle” crimes are among the most important to citizens — and that failure to police this kind of attack on civility can encourage other crimes. Because the message is that police take no notice.
If our town officials at various levels see this letter, I hope they will make it a point of monitoring this problem. Those running for election to town office might consider this challenge to our civility. If you have any doubt, then put a noise recorder at the intersection for a week.
We need police help. These are crimes that deeply irritate, deliberately offend, and arouse the instinct to defend our homes. But in that direction, of course, lies bigger trouble.
Let the police take care of it. Again, we will be grateful.
September 14, 2020
To the Editor:
How many ways can you say thank you? I have a golden list of human beings that is endless with so many ways to say thank you. I wish that I could shake every hand until my arm fell off. However, in my heart, I have, and I still have my arm. You all have filled the bellies of many needy folks, especially the children. I have seen the eyes of the needy, and our tears seem to match for grateful and compassionate or just being there before they ask for help. You know who you are, and I know who you are. Thank you so much, and if I see you, expect a gentle pat on the back.
The East Hampton Food Pantry is certainly blessed with hard-working volunteers dedicated to helping the hungry. We have no color, no race, no gender, no religion, nor appraisers, but only a sincere conviction in what we do.
It is laborious, to say the least, these days to keep up with the demands of life; however, for us, lots of exceptional folks truly believe in the welfare of their fellow human beings and that commits us.
We are fortunate enough that we have gotten donations from locals, too, in supporting hunger. Fine local folks raising funds from golf outings to selling cookies or taking extra food off of their shelves and donating it to us. Certainly without them and you, there would be a lot of hungry folks with talking stomachs.
We struggle just about every day, whether it is up-front or deep in the background, we continue our quest rain or shine. What makes me emotional are the people in that background with no name or fame in recognition, just doing what they believe in.
So along comes a couple with their heart and soul in their hands reaching out, not just during the pandemic, but from what I have heard every day. I have experienced firsthand their unselfish faith in helping others that words cannot describe, and their generosity and commitment to buying truckloads of food. I have seen these two people physically unload and stack food supplies, seeing the sweat dribble down their foreheads. They rent refrigeration equipment for fresh-food deliveries, administrating for the check, and recheck for outgoing food pantries. Not just one food pantry, but many from Montauk to past Southampton, working tirelessly to get the job done in feeding the hungry. A huge operation, certainly costly and, ironically, one of our neighbors. They did this all by themselves, a couple of volunteers with a little help in storage space, space for truck deliveries, and utilities from another believer, the Rubinstein family of the Clubhouse, and we thank them much.
Eight months so far and eighteen thousand two hundred and forty-seven (yes you read it right) people, children, seniors, individuals, and families just in our pantry alone. We have touched the lives of want and we filled it as we continue at this moment.
This couple, Dorothea and Jon of J.B.J Soul Kitchen, filled every space allowed with food throughout the Hamptons to feed the hungry and keep at it every day. These heroes have a contagious human spirit that is hard to match, so what can you say? But then again, those who believe in helping others for any cause, a simple thank-you is all they need.
Once again, their open helping hand of good will gives us all here at the East Hampton Food Pantry the true meaning of service to our community. For myself, our board, along with all the folks at the East Hampton Food Pantry, our clients, families, and the Town of East Hampton, thank you.
For the East Hampton Food Pantry
The sound of waves
on an empty beach.
Love’s tears washed away.
Tracks in the sand
The past remembered
Through an hour-glass of time.
Thoughts written on my
heart and mind
Of the sad and solemn kind.
September 13, 2020
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Thank you for publishing the obituary of Capt. Mike Helms Sr. and for lauding his community spirit, wit, and willingness to work to help others. His passing surrounded by loved ones is as heartwarming as it is inevitably sad. But one of the most salient details in Mike Helms Sr.’s full and fruitful life was overlooked: how grateful those of us who live on, or enjoy Three Mile Harbor and its western shore must be to him.
Captain Mike was the founder and first president of the Duck Creek Farm Association, a collection of neighbors he organized and led to fight for nearly two decades to prevent the zoning changes that sought to make the western shore of Three Mile Harbor an endless array of waterfront condominiums and apartments from Duck Creek, the current Maidstone Marina, former home of the Silver Sea Horse and the “Mellow” to Town Dock at Gann Road.
Mr. Helm Sr. incorporated our not for profit association on the 29th of August 1978, more formally organizing the decades-old Citizens of Three Mile Harbor Committee and the Committee to Save Three Mile Harbor, and allying with the Springs Improvement Society.
By October of 1978, Samuel Fuchs of King’s Point Road, our first attorney, purchased our corporate seal at James Marley Stationery, then at 51 Main Street in what we now call the village. But the battle for the harbor front began even earlier. Capt. Mike and other neighbors and organizations were fighting for rational and equitable use of the harbor as early as the late 50s, as your own publications archives show.
In June of 1972, the Springs Improvement Society, chaired then by Michael Alexander, and of which I am a board member now, wrote to the town board, objecting strongly to the “growing commercialization,” of the harbor front and about “changes in zoning which would allow a proliferation of motels and/or condominiums and/or multiple residences,” copying Mike Helm as our association’s president.
Duck Creek Farm Association’s files also contain, among many other items pertinent to our organization’s and neighborhood’s history, the Oct. 19, 1978, clipping from The East Hampton Star recognizing the auction sale of the Silver Sea Horse, on the current site of the Harbor Bistro, and efforts to prevent zoning changes that would have allowed apartments to be built there.
Subsequent presidents such as Guy Frost, whose daughter Jess is the director of the Art Center at Duck Creek, Peter Rothholz, and Robert Olson continued the fight to preserve our neighborhood, and the town’s jewel, Three Mile Harbor. That I waited over 20 years for my current property on the harbor to come on the market, after first seeing it over 40 years ago, is a testament to all of our neighbors’ efforts.
Yet, as the Duck Creek Farm Association’s current president, I can’t help but smile ruefully going through our archives, and noting that the issues of appropriate use, relevant regulation, and truthful environmental review are historical problems as documented by The Star. Currently, a series of Freedom of Information Act requests to relevant town officials and departments regarding the ill-conceived plans to industrialize Gann Road with an unnecessary and spurious hatchery overdevelopment remain unanswered.
Capt. Helms Sr. hopefully will rest in peace, though the fight against the further destruction of our neighborhood may unfortunately have to continue.
IRA M. BAROCAS
Duck Creek Farm Association
September 12, 2020
It might be a hard sell to compare the Western wildfires to the current problems on the East End, but follow my logic.
Wildfires in the West of the magnitude that we are now seeing were and are preventable. Wringing our hands and rending our garments about climate change is not the answer.
When local western governments allowed development in rural areas they began overzealous, preventive fire suppression in these rural areas. As a result, and in conjunction with prolonged drought, deadwood fuel builds up, and, instead of small preventive fires, we have huge, disruptive conflagrations.
On the East End there have been successive decades of overdevelopment and the results are abundantly clear: clogged roads, algae blooms, noisy machinery, huge houses on small lots, armies of helpers (landscapers, builders, housekeepers, etc.), jets, helicopters, seaplanes, noise, dirt, environmental degradation, etc. All these problems are the result of local development policies that have focused on money to the detriment of local culture and a livable environment.
All of these problems were preventable. You reap what you sow.
September 13, 2020
I can almost see two towers from my house near Three Mile Harbor. One is at the dump, the other soars 300 feet in the air, previously known as the Sammons Tower. The third sits behind the Springs Firehouse on Fort Pond Boulevard. These are structures that already exist.
All seem to have the ability to help extend cellular phone signals. AT&T told me they were hoping to resolve some signal issues with a 50-foot church steeple. My cellphone is basically useless at my home, which is where I spend most of my time these days.
I’ve been through hurricanes where electricity was lost for eight or nine days at a time. The main purpose of cellphones when they first came out was for safety. Cars break down, etc. I still think safety tops the list. I think our town leaders should make it as easy as possible for service providers to get on these structures to provide coverage throughout the town.
If Altice owns the old Sammons Tower, go talk to them about providing space as a public service. They only have their franchise due to the good graces of the town and a small percentage fee they pay to help run LTV. The newly hired communications person should be a broker between AT&T and Altice to get this done quickly. I’m no expert on cell tower requirements, but I would hope we’re not just doing a study or updating a 10-year plan. Things have to happen now. I pay both AT&T and Altice hundreds of dollars each per month, but I’m not sure why anymore.
September 9, 2020
I found my copy of the 2002 East Hampton Town Comprehensive Plan. The 2002 comprehensive plan is the last comp plan done in the Town of East Hampton and is the only townwide planning document we have. At the time I was the recreation subcommittee representative to the Comprehensive Plan Committee. We had at our disposal the recommendations of the Needs Assessment Study done by Land Ethics and used it as a template in our final recommendations to the comprehensive plan committee.
The recreation committee comprised a diversity of organizations from East Hampton Town, including the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society, East Hampton Women’s Softball, East Hampton Youth Football, East Hampton Business Alliance, Springs Advisory Council, and so on, 25 different organizations representing a cross-section of people from diverse backgrounds and interests.
They were involved in developing the recommendations, included in the 2002 comp plan, which are prescient when viewed in today’s context. They wrote, “The goal of this document is to provide for a logical, consistent, and purposeful approach to creating and managing parks and recreation services.” Land use is paramount in East Hampton and the recreation committee looked to the future when making its recommendations. This diverse committee presented a roadmap for the creation of an “East Hampton Park System.”
In the 18 years since the East Hampton Comprehensive Plan was completed, few of the recommendations have been acted upon in the hamlets of Springs, Amagansett, or East Hampton.
Considering that the comp plan exists as a living document, it becomes unimaginable that instead of following the recommendations of the comp plan to create more park and recreation opportunities, the town has decided to reduce them by selling our valuable parkland.
Our town board’s justification for making such a move is equally disturbing. The town board claims that a committee of “Little League baseball coaches” approved the scheme to rob our kids of their ball fields on Pantigo Place. Who these “coaches” are is a mystery to me and others I have spoken with.
And I’m still waiting for the documents I requested from the town board regarding the decision-making “process” to relinquish the ball fields.
I want to make clear that this “coaches” committee was by no means a representative committee of our peers. And whereas, some may argue that the town board forced the “coaches” to sell the Little League down the river, they had absolutely no right to give away the underlying parkland, as that belongs to the people of the community of East Hampton and not the East Hampton Little League.
To date, this town board has refused to replace the Pantigo Place Park with any new parkland in town.
The town board has shown little concern for the loss of this prized park, focusing instead on the emergency room annex as if that is all that matters.
Ironically, under “Healthcare” in the Human Services section of the 2002 Comprehensive plan, there are no recommendations for land purchases for future health care expansion, clearly an oversight that is coming back to haunt Parks and Recreation in East Hampton Town.
It is an injustice if the Pantigo Place Park is not replaced with an equivalent parcel somewhere in East Hampton, Springs, or Amagansett. The town must act swiftly to replace in kind this important property before changing the zoning of the Pantigo Place Park.
As this surreptitious scheme makes clear, it’s time for the town to have a parks and recreation board that can effectively oversee the treasured parkland in our town. A board comprising citizens with vision and understanding of the challenges facing the passive and active park needs of our community.
One Reason Only
September 14, 2020
Those who organized Save Beach Lane and its successor, Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, proposed village incorporation for one reason, and one reason only, to defeat the plan to land Orsted’s offshore wind cable at the end of Beach Lane. The incorporation gambit was conceived to oust the Town of East Hampton’s jurisdiction over the planned cable route, with the expectation that the village would be able to veto that route.
C.P.W.’s sales pitch to those not particularly concerned with the cable landing site has been that incorporation will deliver effective local control over anything and everything that might be troubling them, from speeders and reckless drivers to the loss of farmland, from the development of the sand and gravel pit to noise at the airport, from water contamination to the threat of affordable housing, to the school population.
C.P.W. has pledged that the additional layer of government will cost taxpayers little. Their imagined, Potemkin village will be immune to controversy or challenge and thus easily managed by a set of unidentified, part-time volunteers. Apparently, it’s not even going to be necessary to budget for lawyers to defend the village’s decisions.
Since the July launch of the incorporation campaign, we have posed a number of basic questions to try to understand if there is really anything behind the facade of C.P.W.’s promises. Among the questions are: Who would actually lead the new village? Where do the proponents actually stand on the key issues other than Orsted’s cable? How much would a village taking on the “right” side of all issues and providing all of the promised services actually cost?
In response, we were told that more detailed budgeting was in process. We were told that our questions about who would be running the village were premature. We asked who was funding C.P.W., believing it would tell us something about who was likely to end up running the new village and where they might stand on non-cable issues. We were told that it was none of our business and that the anonymity of C.P.W.’s financiers was necessary to protect them from harassment and threats.
In short, our questions have not been answered. We are left to conclude that C.P.W. can’t answer them, or that it is simply stonewalling, or perhaps that it does not consider the questions important because the only issue that matters to them is the Beach Lane landing of the Orsted cable.
All this was put in stark relief by last week’s announcement of an agreement in principle between Orsted and the town and town trustees. Finalization of that agreement would seem to eliminate the proponents’ animating reason for incorporation. Their hoped-for silver bullet would seem to be a dud.
If, notwithstanding this change in circumstances, C.P.W. still intends to push toward a vote on incorporation, it’s time for it to present a realistic budget and to answer our questions. In the absence of having the information we have requested, how can any of us be confident that the new village will represent and serve all of Wainscott, not just those on Beach Lane who started all of this? Can we have any confidence in their being the ones to decide what to do about the airport, the sand and gravel pit, or other development far from the bucolic precincts of Main Street? And can we possibly believe the assurances that taxes will not increase by amounts that will cause hardship to many of Wainscott’s residents?
September 13, 2020
Upon reading “Wind Farm Benefits Deal Totals $29 Mil” (Sept. 10), I was taken aback, since last I knew all was put on hold due to Covid-19. As Councilman Bragman points out in your article, the matter was “coming in front of the board with very little notice to the public.”
He’s right to say it! To me this covert deal, done during Covid times, is not fair to the citizens of East Hampton. With Beach Lane now the only entryway up for consideration, seems like unnamed town trustees have now caved.
Important Town Hall meetings like this, presented online only, should be left on hold until our Town Hall doors are reopened. According to your article, “the developer asserts that the wind farm will generate enough energy to power 70,000 average houses.” No doubt, none of that energy will benefit us! In fact, it’s been said that our energy bills will be going up to help finance this. That’s the thanks we get.
Lastly, what’s $29 million dollars in comparison to the invasion of this huge enterprise in our backyard? Believe me, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
September 13, 2020
Thank you, East Hampton Town Board and Trustees for taking climate change seriously and finalizing the host community agreement with Deepwater/Orsted. The host community agreement covers many items, such as adding facilities and jobs in East Hampton, hiring an individual to facilitate communications with the commercial fishing community, and paying the town and the trustees almost $29 million over 25 years. The town will grant an easement and the trustees will grant a lease so the transmission cable can be brought ashore under the beach and then buried under the roads in Wainscott.
Climate change is upon us. Temperatures and sea levels are rising, forest fires are wreaking havoc on the West coast, hurricanes are becoming more frequent and more severe. The action taken by the town board and trustees shows real leadership. East Hampton is lucky to have them.
JEREMIAH T. MULLIGAN
September 12, 2020
“If you are in denial about climate change, come to California,” Gov. Gavin Newsome said last month.
Last week on CNN, the president of Colgate University lamented that liberal arts colleges have failed to teach the value of personal sacrifice, or even of enduring a temporary inconvenience, to benefit the collective community. He was speaking of individuals’ resistance to using facemasks and social distancing to help control the spread of Covid-19. But he might as well have been speaking of local resistance to infrastructure essential to the operation of the proposed South Fork Wind Farm.
Beach Lane in Wainscott, and its beautiful beach at the end of the road, have been identified as the preferred site for the onshore transmission line. Underground entry of the cable would be accomplished by utilizing horizontal directional drilling, a proven advanced technology that would bury the cable 30 feet with minimal disturbance to the beach.
Likewise the underground transmission cable along Beach Lane would be underground as is the case with commonplace utility installations all over East Hampton, all over Long Island, and indeed all over the Northeastern United States. All of the construction would be accomplished “off-season” during cold weather months when the beach is less trafficked and many second-home owners are entirely absent.
The energy transported by this cable would provide electricity to 70,000 South Fork homes and businesses, and would offset the carbon emissions equal to taking 65,000 cars off the road. The 15 wind turbines doing this work for us would be 35 miles offshore of Montauk and out of sight.
Opponents to the landing site created a Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, who hired attorneys to intervene in opposition to the project before the New York State Public Service Commission. The group is expected to litigate as the project proceeds through this lengthy and rigorous environmental review. More recently the group has launched an effort to create a new village government for Wainscott, which, they hope, could stop the project. But stopping the cable by creating a separate village government is highly unlikely.
The extreme measures undertaken by this group are shockingly disproportionate to the temporary inconvenience they might suffer if the Beach Lane site remains the preferred route for the transmission cable. There are no safety risks here — the emissions from the cable are comparable to standing near your kitchen refrigerator. Environmental concerns are addressed: the State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Town of East Hampton, plus the town trustees are insisting on rigorous environmental protection measures and ongoing oversight.
I am grateful to the town supervisor, town board, and town trustees for their leadership at a moment when there is so much at stake and such well-funded, if misguided, opposition.
Win With Wind
September 13, 2020
Dear Mr. Rattray,
East Hampton’s work on getting community choice aggregation to the town is admirable and in keeping with the town’s stated goal of meeting all its energy needs renewably by 2030.
The town should choose a 100 percent renewable energy model for its C.C.A. One look at the West Coast apocalypse should make it clear that the day for fossil fuels is long past. A C.C.A. gives a community more control over their energy costs, and the ability to spur renewable energy development. We can improve customer value and protect the environment at the same time.
Long Island has ample offshore wind resources, which could provide us with electricity without heating the planet uncontrollably. We are vulnerable to sea level rise here, and the burning of fossil fuels, which has created the conditions for the severe West Coast wildfires literally burning people alive.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling for a Climate Leadership and Climate Protection Act, which states a goal of a net-zero carbon economy in the state by 2050. I hope that will be soon enough.
Explain the Reason
September 14, 2020
What is lurking behind the Trojan horse hedges on Beach Lane? The past few weeks Samuel Kramer has put out undeniable facts of this proposed vote on incorporation. What would this financial burden be to hamlet residents? Could their hidden agenda be making their Beach Lane a private domain and using the cable landing as an excuse?
Mr. Kramer even pointed out the huge costs to dissolve this farce. When it fails, they will flee, and we are left with the wreckage they want to create. This is surely “Ready. Shoot. Aim,” a pending quagmire. Did they research the true costs that doomed the Montauk proposal?
Doreen Niggles points out that the true costs are nowhere to be found? Why is this omitted?
Considering it requires five patrol officers to staff one patrol car. The budget amount mentioned would only pay for one-third of staffing 24-7. The budget balance would be zero on that alone. I suspect the deep pockets will resurrect “Manny Mannequin” to sit in an old radio car as a laughingstock deterrent of days gone by. Plus, when assistance is required, and if multiple police presence is needed, it will be billed accordingly.
We already have a trained police department with already paid for resources. Including the Suffolk County special detectives squads in the headquarters tax. Those taxes will remain a chief, and supervisory staff is required. The additional assortment of additional costs of a spare car and equipment: Could it be near $100,000?
There is no mention of a village hall with a staff, building inspector, code enforcement, zoning board, and attorneys — the costs of running such a place. With the land costs in this hamlet, what will that cost? Where is the estimate to maintain our road infrastructure?
We already have the best highway department and staff on both forks. Steve Lynch is a magician, and how he does it proves that when a professional is in charge, our infrastructure is his priority. When a heavy snowstorm hits, we will get plowed almost immediately. Try that with a one-trick dog and pony show! Hire outside contractors every time at what cost? Every year there is an increase in costs.
These self-absorbed individuals couldn’t care less about the financial impact on those of us who live north of the highway. Many are senior citizen on fixed incomes, and some have expressed real fear that they may be forced to move from where their medical care and other necessities are located. Their life is here, and where do we go? Many are hard working, trying to pay their bills, and this added huge tax will add another burden. Explain the reason why we need another layer of government to add to the burden — Some overblown ego?
Failure to disclose, or hide, the true costs proves one thing that is obvious: Is this not a ploy to have their litigation costs for their failed attempt to stop that cable landing to be spread among every single resident of this hamlet? So the plaintiff now becomes the Inc. V. Of W. That is us! What about the recent decision in favor of the sand pit and how many millions that cost the entire town?
Listen closely, that cable is coming, and your Don Quixote fiasco litigation costs will bankrupt us. The governor, who was refereed to as a “green dictator” in one newspaper, defeated the Phillips Pipeline that would have brought inexpensive natural gas all the way here. And he will squash like a grape any legal challenge you initiate. You will need a gaggle of high-price attorneys and it will empty out our pockets. So try leaving your selfishness and for once, consider that we live here too! We, who you could not care less about, support the local economy 24-7, 365. Most of you are not here year round.
I notice in other areas residents picket to attract media attention to expose what is the real motivation. They will be forced to answer questions. You feel so neglected by the town? Why don’t you move?
So, as those in Brooklyn so eloquently say, “fuggedaboutit!”‘
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
Turn to Wind
September 11, 2020
Dear Mr. Rattray,
On the apocalyptic West Coast, climate change has become immediate and terrifying. We, too, will have our chance to suffer. We must stop burning greenhouse gases and turn to wind, sun and battery backup.
We have within sight the ability to move to clean energy from ample offshore winds. Plus, the Orsted-Eversource wind farm’s enrichment of its community benefits package only makes the deal more of a win for everybody. Supplying 70,000 Long Island homes with clean, renewable energy, the wind farm will also combine with others in the offing to meet Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s goal of 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind to Long Island by 2035.
It’s time to stop arguing about the Wainscott cable landing and get this deal done.
New York City
September 13, 2020
Dear Mr. Rattray:
We watch the West Coast wildfires with mounting horror, knowing that global warming caused by human activities is creating a cascade of the nearly unimaginable: acres incinerated, skies black with smoke, the potential for mass fatalities.
We need to heed this climate disaster’s call to stop using fossil fuels and turn to renewable energy. Offshore wind, Long Island’s local resource and what LIPA is counting on for the bulk of our renewable energy needs, is still a work in process.
Meanwhile, we should be demanding that LIPA add solar energy capacity as fast as possible. Rooftop and larger scale solar is not subject to the delays of wind, and LIPA could add several hundred megawatts of solar power before offshore wind comes online.
September 9, 2020
For several months during last year the access to Methodist Lane in the village was blocked off from vehicle use during the reconstruction of the railroad trestle and surrounding area. Three drop-in United States Post Office mailboxes were on Methodist Lane and had been there for as long as I’ve lived in East Hampton, several decades.
The postmaster of East Hampton Post Office, Jim Gibbons, has stated he will not reinstate the boxes due to “lack of use,” however, that assertion is patently false. According to postal workers with whom I have spoken, the boxes had always been filled to capacity and often were overflowing.
The three postal boxes served a much needed function for the residents of East Hampton — including senior citizens and people who are handicapped — when there are no parking spaces available at the post office, inclement weather conditions, after business hours, on Sundays, and a host of other reasons these mailboxes are essential for our community members.
With the election of Nov. 3 weeks away, we need the three mailboxes to be reinstated. The U.S.P.S. is on the verge of being shut down, and voters are rightfully anxiety ridden about their mail-in ballots being received and accounted for in this vitally important election process.
I implore Mr. Gibbons to return the three mailboxes to their proper place on Methodist Lane as soon as possible. The residents of East Hampton should not find it more difficult to send their correspondences, both personal and for business. We should not find it more difficult to vote by mail-in ballot or absentee ballot either.
SUSAN MCGRAW KEBER
September 8, 2020
To the Editor,
I was appalled by your coverage of the “Back the Blue” rally. The gratuitous pro-Trump photo in the set was disgusting. Shame. If not apologized for within the week, I will cancel my 18-year subscription.
Was I a Dupe?
September 10, 2020
I served in the United States Coast Guard from Dec. 19, 1950, to Dec. 23, 1953. This was during the Korean War. We are still in a state of war with the government of North Korea. I was lucky in that my tour consisted of half the time stateside and the other half in North Atlantic on the Cutter Rockaway, a former destroyer escort. Other Coast Guard personnel were in Korea (small boat, landing barges, river patrols, etc.). While I personally did not know of any Koreans that I was mad enough to want to kill, I was fortunate enough not to be confronted with that reality. My rating was petty officer second class, the equivalent of staff sergeant in the Army.
I, like many of my shipmates, did not want to be in the armed forces, especially fighting a war that we didn’t understand. This was nothing like the war of five years before called World War II, or the “good war.” I would have preferred to stay home, go back to school, and prepare myself for the life that seemed so temptingly laid before me, but I was called to do my duty, for my country, and, by extension, for my community and extended family — just a citizen, like so many others, whose turn had come. Without hesitation I enlisted. I trusted my government and felt that it was just payback time.
Was I a dupe, a sucker, or a dumb kid as our present commander in chief of all our armed forces describes me? He especially, who dodged the draft and rather than hide in shame cloaks himself in the mantle of the superior, smarter, and smug judge of our heroes, alive and dead, who gave their best efforts and lives in the service of our nation, or be like him, cowardly, conceited, and cunning in this lack of patriotism and disdain for anything or anyone whose loyalty is not to him and him only.
The Army and all the leaders of all branches of our military must stand up now, for themselves, as they did to that other megalomaniac Joe McCarthy when Secretary of the Army Stevens joined the counselor attorney Welsh, in saying, “Have you no decency, Senator?”
Indeed, “Have you no decency, Mr. President?” Sadly, oh so sadly, for you and our country, you do not.
LAWRENCE S. SMITH
September 12, 2020
At one point ex-President stated, “Impossible, it would take a magic wand to bring back American jobs.” In 2008 there was 12.8 millions jobs, in 2016 jobs were down by 496,000, eight years. Trump gained in three years 498,000 jobs.
Remember when Obama-Biden went on TV and laughed in your face, claimed those shovel-ready jobs? Laughter. They were not so. More laughter. Shovel-ready. Their stimulus was in the billions and nothing done. Where’s the money?
Now as the virus bill gets blocked, the Democrats said the measure shortchanged too many pressing needs. Would that be Planned Parenthood getting tons of money? Why can’t a clean bill be presented and vote bipartisan? Why, take care of the citizens. We need term limits; get these gems out of office.
In God and country,
September 14, 2020
Dear Mr. Rattray,
As you know, I have a special fascination with numbers. Could involve dates, miles, charts. (Did you know that Lil Nas X’s country/hip-hop crossover song, “Old Town Road,” was Billboard’s longest charting number-one single in history? Fantastic!) Or that my grandfather was born 12 years after the end of the Civil War? Or that you failed to acknowledge my birthday this year for the 13th year in a row? Shame on you, Mr. Rattray, 876 months means nothing to you? And all I’ve ever asked for was a Star T-shirt! (Medium, thanks.)
Anyway, this fascination with numbers and my 40-plus years running a business are probably at least part of the reason I was hired last year as a consultant for the Brookings Institution. Actually, one of my colleagues who does analytics for them recommended me for this part-time gig, and I have to say, it’s been a fascinating third “career” so far (though it barely pays, I should add).
Several months ago Brookings asked me if I could assist in the analysis of Donald Trump’s tweets since taking office. I thought it would be an interesting study, since we’re normally having no more than an emotional response to the president’s midnight messaging. And now I’d be provided with the entire @realDonaldTrump archive. Over a million words what fun!
In doing my research I quickly discovered that The New York Times had previously analyzed Trump’s tweets in a fairly detailed story published in early November 2019. The editorial team assigned to this task sorted through 11,000 tweets (from day one till Oct. 15, 2019) and created a spreadsheet displaying the various categories representing most frequently tweeted topics. Their findings would surprise no one, I’m guessing, but seeing the results in print was alarming (to me) nonetheless.
Over half of Trump’s tweets have “attacked someone or something.” The majority of those attacks were against the Democrats, of course. Next big attack category, the investigations. Almost a thousand attacks were made against news organizations, and over a thousand against immigrants and minorities. Hundreds attacked previous administrations as well as ally nations. Just over 1,700 promoted conspiracy theories, 2,026 praised President Trump, 758 praised or promoted Fox News. The details continued into lesser categories (praise for dictators, bragging about crowd size, etc.).
Honestly, I was unsure what I might add to the facts that are simply a matter of public record. I’ve estimated that, to this day in September 2020, the president has now tweeted approximately 21,000 times (the actual figure was 20,200 as of mid-July). I’ve also assigned a time-per-tweet number, arbitrarily at two minutes. (This number is based not simply on typing time, but a modest average time it would take to formulate a thought. In my case it could be days, so I’m being extremely generous here. You’re welcome, Mr. President.) Thus, at two minutes per tweet, we have 42,000 minutes of tweeting time since taking office. That’s 700 hours. Or 17.5 workweeks, based on a 40-hour workweek.
I didn’t feel this was enough to take back to the Brookings Institution, Mr. Rattray, so I reached into my anecdotal observations of the music industry for a useful analogy. And it hit me like an 808 kick in the head. When Springsteen goes out on tour, or the Stones, or Billie Eilish, they’re playing the music their fans love — the music that fills the stadiums with the ones who got them there, who sing along, and buy the merch. They’re playing to “their base” so to speak. Not everybody’s a fan, but it doesn’t matter they’ve sold millions of records and it’s standing room only in the venues. “We luv you, New York!” “Merci, Paris!” “Obrigado, Rio!”
Once you’re elected president of the United States, though, you can’t just play to your “base.” You’re president of 331 million people . . . even if they don’t all like you or agree with you. Imagine this country, our country, as a stadium. You need to be addressing the people in the rafters, not just the front rows. The folks standing behind the stage, not just in the corporate boxes. The ones watching from the parking lot, too. That, for me, is what’s most problematic about this president. The only message for the ones who disagree with him is you’re losers, unpatriotic, weak, fake. And all of this from the one individual in a position to pull the country together, along with the free world, who chose, instead, to simply play to and sell his merch to his base.
In the early months of Donald Trump’s presidency I wrote four letters to his senior adviser, Jared Kushner, expressing my hope that, with the brutal campaigning over, the president would soften his tone and work for the good of the entire nation — that there would be zero chance he would lose the support of the ones who elected him. Letters sent in good faith. No reply. Not even a form note! No surprise, I suppose.
Forty million-plus “fans” that’s a lot of people, Mr. President. It’s just not the whole country, not by a long shot. In fact, the “stadium” looks pretty empty.
I just reread this letter, Mr. Rattray, and I realized that there is some misinformation having to do with my role at the Brookings Institution. I do not, in fact, consult for them. It just seemed like a good idea. Maybe I’ll get in touch. Everything else, however, is true. Look it up!
September 9, 2020
His name was Mark Anthony Urquiza. He was the healthy 65-year old Arizonan who decided to go to a karaoke bar because Donald Trump said it was okay to resume your normal life. Mr. Urquiza trusted Mr. Trump and paid with his life after contracting the Covid-19 virus. Among the last things he said to his daughter, Kristin, was that he felt betrayed by Mr. Trump.
Little did he or the rest of us know the extent of Trump’s betrayal. We now have Mr. Trump in his own words admitting that he knew just how deadly the Covid-19 virus was. And that was in the beginning of February! In the following months he did nothing to warn us of the danger the virus posed. Nor during those months did he lift a finger to wage what should have been a national struggle to quash the pandemic. In fact, his callous calculation was, in essence, to deny the virus’s existence and, in dereliction of his duty to protect the nation’s health, to assure us that it would miraculously disappear. The sickness of that calculation is that his deadly deception finds its root in the notion that downplaying the deadliness of the virus was politically expedient. Now, only after almost 200,000 Americans have succumbed to Covid-19 have we learned the depth of Mr. Trump’s depravity.
It is equally appalling that no one in his administration had the moral backbone to expose the threat Mr. Trump’s calculation posed to the American people. Even worse, Mr. Trump’s G.O.P. cheerleaders in Congress have betrayed their constituents by failing to demand more from the Trump administration, and instead farcically extolling Trump’s handling of the pandemic. In so doing, they have been accomplices in the mounting death toll.
Mr. Trump’s amorality has been apparent for years, yet now the G.O.P. shockingly has chosen to embrace it. In its convention a few weeks ago, the G.O.P. eschewed adopting a formal platform, instead sadly sacrificing its goals for fealty to Mr. Trump. That the G.O.P. would harness its future to the misery that Mr. Trump has visited upon the nation demands that voters think long and hard before pulling an election lever for a G.O.P. candidate this fall.
The only way we can honor the tragedy that has befallen America is to remember in November.
Had No Plan
September 13, 2020
To the Editor:
After listening to the Woodward tapes there is an enormous sense of relief that our intelligence service is still one of the best in the world. The idea that the U.S. was the only major country not to know the full details of the Covid-19 virus was really scary. The problem is what we did with the knowledge.
The analysis the president received regarding the virus provided a scope of plans for dealing with the different possibilities. What most of the other countries did was to follow the guidelines of the World Health Organization and their own health agencies and isolate the virus, which eventually led to a shutdown. When they shut down they had in place an economic plan to deal with the implications. If one shut down without understanding the economic consequences and without a plan it could only be disastrous.
We, obviously, had no plan for anything. So once we began shutting down we scrambled to put one together without considering the next steps once the plan’s benefits expired. Shutting down without a plan was like not having a government. That’s all that government is supposed to do. Nothing else matters. In a pandemic and economic crisis the government is paid and has been chosen to take care of business. See “Obama” for a reference or a how-to-do manual.
Our government blew it. It wasn’t the lack of knowledge and there were dozens of examples to follow all over the world. It doesn’t matter why they blew it. Only that they did. Exposing a frightening level of incompetence.
When we compare the total lack of planning to the attacks on voting by mail and the United States Postal Service it becomes clear that the government knows how to plan. The obvious question is, what are its priorities? Winning the coming election or the health and welfare of the American people.
It appears that the only logical and rational way to avoid problems of this nature in the future and to put the fear of god into our politicians would be to castrate all of the male members of the president’s cabinet and the leadership of the house and the senate. (Pelosi is saved by her gender.) Testosterone-free might make them a little more focused.
Making America great again.