September 19, 2020
To the Editor,
Six months into the coronavirus pandemic, and there the winners of the 2020 U.S. Open stood for the champion-ship ceremony as 50-odd colored streamers dripped sluggishly to the court floor looking tired and scant. The tributes and rituals, as heartfelt and deserving as ever, couldn’t help but appear as simulations of themselves. The vast and mainly deserted stadium enclosed the two dozen or so present and safely distanced from each other with rows upon rows of vacant seats and stands covered over by banners, with genuine but barely audible applause, with statements mainly being made for those watching from afar, and compartmentalized faces on computer screens to compensate for breathing beings animated with muted cheers.
And how else could it be? Only six months and almost 200,000 of our fellow citizens have passed, close to one million worldwide, and in New York City alone, nearly 24,000 souls, with the majority of those lost in the very first months to this most pernicious and tenacious scourge. Yet against the meager and surreal trappings of this well-earned formality and the ongoing real turmoil and hardship and rising death toll across the globe, it was here, in this city where I was born, in this state where I have lived my life, that it was glaringly apparent that cooperation and civic responsibility and common decency raised its call yet again to all of us, hurt, scared, suffering and still devoted to pull together and battle against a monstrous tragedy. And aptly noted by those presiding over the ceremony, it was with such steadfast persistence that perseverance paid off, this time enough to permit the largest international sporting event in the world since the start of the pandemic to be held. It was here in this city where the dedication and coordination of so many became a statement of community beamed to people the world over.
And as I watched the players from a multitude of nations commit to their love of sport and sportsmanship, their integrity and grit never dissipating despite the emptiness around them, as I witnessed the culmination of most hard-fought matches over a full two weeks amidst the absence of so many loved ones and fanfare and fans themselves, I reflected on the fires decimating our western lands. On protests marching for racial equality. On businesses closing, and the palpable pulsing fight for saving our morals and sense of belonging to something that matters, that some things matter, that Black lives matter, that science matters, that truth cannot be bargained or faked when quality of life, character, dignity, and, yes, when the test of sport is on the line; on humanity on the brink of change and catastrophe and clinging to hope; and on the beauty of witnessing that resilience of human spirit to take the hits and come from behind and harness our better selves, mourn, collaborate, and celebrate. And it was then that I could not help but watch the trophies be rewarded to the finalists and champions without feeling the tears well up with thankfulness and pride of being alive, of being a New Yorker, of being part of a place where so many from so many of so many and for so many have proven so much what can be done when we care and see and act as one.
Were No Signs
September 20, 2020
To the Editor,
I traveled to Manhattan and back on the Hampton Jitney this past Saturday for some appointments. I was alarmed and disturbed by the lack of safety protocols being followed on both trips.
Based on what I had seen and read about the Jitney following safety regulations for the Covid-19 pandemic, I was expecting every other row of seats to be cordoned off for social distancing. I was surprised when I boarded at Amagansett to find no such precautions.
There were no signs of the safety provisions that the Jitney notes on its website: no reduced capacity, no visible hand sanitizer. In fact, by the time the bus left Southampton, every row was occupied, which means you have a passenger sitting in the row in front and behind you — so each passenger is sitting approximately one foot apart.
To make matters worse, when the bus stopped in Manorville, about six new passengers boarded the bus. The attendant made an announcement requesting that everyone remove their belongings from the seat next to them because the bus was “at full capacity” and therefore we would need to share the seats next to us. How is this being allowed at a time when we are being encouraged to keep six feet apart especially in a contained small space such as a bus? Yes every passenger was wearing a mask and as far as I saw, kept it on for the duration of the ride. But I felt duped and trapped by the experience. In ads that the Hampton Jitney is running in local papers there is a photograph of passengers sitting in staggered rows — every other row is empty, which implies that they are enforcing the “reduced capacity” that they also list on their website as part of their “response” to the pandemic.
It was as though we were riding the bus in “normal times” and there was not a global health crisis to be taken into consideration. I hope that the Jitney will rethink their response at this time and renew their protocols for reduced capacity in an effort to keep their riders safe.
September 20, 2020
This letter is in support of the views expressed by Susan McGraw Keber in her letter to the editor in the Sept. 17 edition of The Star.
The very popular Methodist Lane mailboxes need to be restored. As Mrs. McGraw Keber pointed out, the mailboxes are essential for a wide spectrum of our citizens: busy moms in vans, handicapped drivers, commuters, workers, etc. It is extremely difficult — if not impossible — to find a parking space at the Gay Lane Post Office-CVS parking lot.
We don’t need less access to mailboxes, we need more. We now require greater availability because of mail-in voting, vehicle registrations, bill paying, and other mailing transactions with expiration dates.
Postmaster Gibbons needs to explain to the community why these very necessary and in-demand mailboxes have not yet been restored.
Exchange in Kind
September 21, 2020
Paragraph six of the zoning change resolution adopted Sept. 15 by the East Hampton Town Board is worth a read:
“ Whereas the New York State Legislature approved the alienation of parkland for purposes of the establishment of an emergency room, subject to the towns compliance with certain conditions, those being that the town dedicates an amount equal to or greater than the fair market value of the released property towards the acquisitions of new parklands, and/or special improvements to existing parklands and recreational facilities”.
Replace in kind is what the state demands.
The town must identify a property to purchase in exchange for the Pantigo Place parkland.
As stated in the town’s resolution, without an equitable exchange it will be illegal to relocate the Little League ball fields.
A straight monetary exchange can never make up for the loss of valuable parkland in East Hampton town. Land is what is important in this debate.
The town is deciding upon Stephen Hand’s Path as a relocation site for the Pantigo ball fields. However, what we really need is new parkland, situated near where the kids are. A true exchange in kind, as stipulated by the State of New York, a transaction that makes our children and our parks whole again.
Our community does not have the luxury of giving up parkland just because the town has not planned for our future. We need to defend and enlarge our parks, not shrink them. Our population is increasing, not decreasing.
Is it coincidental that the only two parcels discussed as possible landing sites for the emergency annex are established parks? Is the town using our parks as a land bank for other wants and needs that might arise due to poor planning? Will we, then, run out of parkland in the future?
Intention to Sign
September 19, 2020
Sad to say, lawlessness remains the order of the day for the majority of the East Hampton Town Board, Supervisor Van Scoyoc, and councilmembers Overby, Burke-Gonzalez, and Lys. Most recently, they have made clear their intention to sign a host community agreement with Deepwater Wind before the environmental review by the Public Service Commission is complete. Indeed, the P.S.C. hearings on the project have not even begun.
To enter into a binding agreement with Deepwater Wind, even if it is contingent upon P.S.C. approval of the Deepwater application, is a clear violation of the State Environmental Quality Review Act, or SEQRA. Anything that commits any government agency in the State of New York to a definite course of action, even adoption of a resolution, is defined by SEQRA as an “action” that requires SEQRA compliance unless specifically exempted by SEQRA itself.
There is a SEQRA exemption for “actions requiring a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need under articles VII, VIII, X or 10 of the Public Service Law,” which includes the Deepwater Wind project. But if the host community agreement requires a P.S.C. certificate, so as to be exempt under SEQRA, it cannot be entered into until the P.S.C. has issued the required certificate. If the action of entering into the host community agreement does not require a P.S.C. certificate, then it requires SEQRA compliance.
This is simple and clear. The unambiguous policy of SEQRA is that there can be no binding action by a government agency until environmental compliance is completed. That the P.S.C. environmental review substitutes for the SEQRA process does not change that at all.
A major purpose of SEQRA is to prevent projects being undertaken based in falsehoods. That is why action is forbidden until environmental compliance is complete, so that the facts can be known to the agency and the public before there is any binding commitment. It is ironic to say the least that those who advocate for the Deepwater project claiming to champion the environment cannot move fast enough to violate the environmental protection laws.
Will Be Overcharged
September 18, 2020
To the Editor,
As some rejoice at the new potential $29 million fee for landing an electric cable here in town, few would seem to ask who is paying for this. While I don’t fault the town for getting as good of a deal as they can, people should realize that it is electric ratepayers on Long Island who are footing the bill. Sadly, $29 million is just a drop in the bucket in terms of how much we on Long Island will be overcharged over the 20-year life of this contract if it is approved.
The cost of the original Deepwater Wind project was projected to be $1.6 billion for a 90-megawatt project. This worked out to 16 cents a kilowatt-hour, which is about three times what wholesale electric power usually costs in the United States. To add insult to injury, LIPA has allowed the developer to increase the price almost 50 percent in its first 10 years of operation. Of course, part of the rationale for the request for proposals for a local renewable project in 2015 was that it would save $550 million in grid upgrade costs for the South Fork. Unfortunately, it would seem that given this project won’t be online till 2024, LIPA/PSEG is spending that money anyway.
Some in our community rationalize that paying a significant premium for these services makes sense given the climate crisis we face, but they seem to ignore the fact that another much larger offshore wind project, Sunshine (800 megawatts), that was approved a few years later and that will likely come online to our grid first costs just 8 cents per kilowatt-hour. Yes that’s right, it is half the price for the exact same type of renewable electricity. Was this some incredible bargain? No, Massachusetts earlier approved a major offshore wind project for 7 cents per kilowatt-hour, and projects in Europe go for 5 to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Given that Deepwater will produce its lowest amount of power during the summer, the South Folk will still have to rely on power from the main grid — the reason for the $550 million still to be spent. However, in an ironic twist, the extra charges don’t stop there. Given that the offshore wind farm will produce its peak power during the winter and the South Fork won’t be able to use all of that power, the utility will now have to spend another $200 million to upgrade the grid to send power back to the center of Long Island. So when you put it all together, ratepayers will be stuck with an extra $1 billion in costs when originally we were supposed to save money.
I know this sounds crazy, but that is actually how skewed the incentives can be for utilities. They don’t get paid for making smart decisions, but are paid cost plus 10 percent regardless of the project. This incentivizes them to make bad decisions, which is what Deepwater is.
Now do we have any choice at this point? Yes, this project’s cost is way out of line given the improvements in wind technology, and the New York Public Service Commission still has to approve this project. Even the current developers have acknowledged this in the fact that they now want to use larger turbines than originally proposed to produce more power from the site — 140 megawatts currently, but that will go up to 170 MW in the next few years again most likely. To justify this, they want to charge only 8 cents per kilowatt-hour for this extra power that was not permitted, but maintain 16 cents per kilowatt-hour for the original amount? I’m not a lawyer, but common sense should require a rebid of this out-of-date R.F.P. that still won’t come online for another three to four years. To be clear, I am not against offshore wind power — it is a necessity, but that doesn’t mean we should grossly overpay for it.
If this contract was nullified and rebid, there might be other advantages besides saving at least $800 million. Given the increase in the size of turbines, perhaps this project should only use 10 tower sites, not 15 as originally planned. This would help local fishermen in our community as it would significantly reduce the obstacles in a prime fishing area and lower the number of undersea cables that some trawlers have been snagging on at Block Island.
Another advantage of forcing a rebid of Deepwater is that both Sunshine and Deepwater are now owned by the same developers who paid the original hedge-fund-backed developer over $500 million for all the work they put in over the years to get such a sweetheart deal. Perhaps in a rebid, these projects could be combined and all the power generated would cost 8 cents per kilowatt-hour, which would still be very profitable for a developer. Moreover, all this power could be sent back to the center of Long Island on an already approved $50 million offshore power cable. This would then save that extra $200 million in grid upgrade costs. So if there is a rebid of an R.F.P. that the developer wants to change and will likely want to again, then Long Island ratepayers would likely save $1 billion.
This has been a very divisive topic in our community, but the facts are that the approval of Deepwater would force all ratepayers to waste $1 billion that should be used to generate other renewable energy sources. To put that in perspective, $1 billion could create at least 600 megawatts of solar today (offset 15 percent of all Long Island electric needs) and that could be operating sooner than 2024. In the long run, Long Island will have to have an even balance between renewable sources such as wind and solar. Therefore, now is the time to stop the boondoggle that the original Deepwater project from 2016 is and use some of that money to better fight climate change.
September 21, 2020
There is no evidence that our East Hampton Town Board or the trustees have done financial analysis, by themselves or by hiring a financial expert, of the true financial effects of Deepwater Wind South Fork. Last week I submitted to the Deepwater Wind South Fork’s legal case a moderately large and detailed spreadsheet (made in Excel software), which showed financial analysis. In brief, that spreadsheet uncovers the Deepwater-South Fork true prices. It shows that the prices are unconscionably high for all Long Island ratepayers, and that they have been hidden or misstated by Deepwater-South Fork or LIPA. Here are further explanations of what was shown and proven using financial analysis.
There are two large soon-to-be-built Long Island projects, Empire Wind of 816 megawatts and Sunshine Wind of 880 megawatts (the same owner as Deepwater Wind South Fork and next to it), and a 40-megawatt portion of the Deepwater Wind South Fork. All of these will start with prices between 8 and 9 cents per kilowatt. But the remaining 90-megawatt portion of the Deepwater-South Fork project would first charge at least 16 cents per kilowatt, and that price would go up quickly.
Referring to its agreement with Deepwater-South Fork, LIPA states that from the 90-megawatt and 40-megawatt outputs “Both prices escalate at an average of 2 percent per year for 20 years.” That statement is drastically wrong from standard financial analysis. The increased revenue for Deepwater-South Fork with their large early price increases will cost LIPA and the ratepayers about $200 million more than if its prices rose with a straight 2 percent annual increase.
Deepwater-South Fork will start with a very high initial price and soon after, possibly in one month, the prices rise dramatically at 5 percent the first four times, and 3 percent the next five times. By contract year five the price will increase by 25.2 percent to over 20 cents per kilowatt. By contract year nine the price will be increased by 40.9 percent to almost 22.6 cents per kilowatt. This high cost will approach being three times more expensive than the other two wind farms that are 19 times bigger than the 90 megawatts of Deepwater-South Fork.
Deepwater-South Fork wants to begin in December 2022. If Deepwater-South Fork begins in a December then its price goes up 5 percent in January, one month later. The contract year-five price, that is 25.2 percent higher, can possibly begin after three years and one month.
The average monthly cost for the 20 years for all ratepayers would be $7.50, which is over five times higher than what LIPA says ratepayers will pay for Deepwater-South Fork. This calculation from my spreadsheet uses inputs from the 2017 power purchase agreement between LIPA and Deepwater-South Fork that was accepted by the state comptroller. That there are 1.1 million ratepayers comes from the 2018 LIPA annual disclosure report. While the monthly payment rate in contract year one starts at $5.85 after 10 years it will have gone up to $8.01.
The LIPA, Deepwater-South Fork, and the state comptroller statements show that total payments for 20 years for the combined 90-megawatt and 40-megawatt would be over $2 billion. That would be at least $980 million more than what Empire Wind and Sunshine Wind would charge for the Deepwater-South Fork portion of their output.
We often do not receive important financial information from Deepwater Wind South Fork or from LIPA, and much of the information we do receive is financially wrong or slanted. I have sent to the East Hampton Town Board and the trustees a detailed financial analysis that shows the hidden, or not yet analyzed, extremely high costs of Deepwater-South Fork electricity. To protect the 1.1 million ratepayers of all Long Island, I will also send the financial information to other Long Island town supervisors, and especially to Assemblyman Fred Thiele, who raised problematic issues about Deepwater-South Fork on Jan. 24, 2019. I believe that I am now proving how correct Assemblyman Thiele was almost two years ago.
The Low Bill
September 19, 2020
To the Editor:
Much has been published about the expense of living in an incorporated village. I own four properties in Sagaponack. For 2020 through 2021 my Village of Sagaponack tax bill for 20 Town Line Road was $164.65. For 10 Town Line Road it was $160.33. For 39 Wainscott Harbor Road it was $53.98. For 374 Narrow Lane East it was $26.46. The total village tax for four properties was $405.42.
Had I cited only one tax bill the reader could perhaps think that the low bill was an aberration. However, with four tax bills to average out it can be assumed that many village taxpayers are paying modest amounts.
If the Wainscott incorporators learn from the Sagaponack incorporators, village taxation should not be burdensome.
September 19, 2020
To the Editor:
Don’t panic. This most recent Sunday Times Magazine’s cover evokes the firebombing of Dresden — but with a blown-up image of California wildfires. The cover title pushes one of the most “politically correct” dogmas of our time: That catastrophic climate change, global warming, is causing wildfires worldwide. And California is burning up. Catastrophic climate change is blamed for hurricanes, species extinction, sea level rise, heat waves, insect-borne diseases, declining seafood catches, etc. Once, the left blamed every ill on capitalism and clamored for communism. The historical record queered their pitch. But the neo-Marxists are here. Now capitalism and the industrial society are blamed for deterioration of the “environment.” (The scare quotes are to suggest that there is no “environment.” The term, from the science of ecology, applies to particular species and their favorable or unfavorable habitat. There is not general species habitat.)
The alleged link between “global warming” and wildfires is dogma. California is not now in drought. California has had historical periods of as bad or worse wildfires. Worldwide, NASA recently reported, there has been no increase in wildfires. In California, if tempera-tures are affecting fires, the issue is weather — not “climate.” (A dissident source of views on climate is the website Watts Up with That, or WUWT, created by Anthony Watts, a retired meteorologist, and rated the “world’s most viewed” site on climate. Check it out.)
Even if President Trump has said it, it is true that California’s problem is forest management. California is in the grip of left extremists. And that includes environ-mentalists. For decades, they have organized, spent, and lobbied for California forests to be untouched by humans, used lawsuit after lawsuit to block logging, brush clearing, and any controlled fires. The forest fuel has accumulated to unheard-of levels, tinder ready to blaze. Any state money that might be spent on forest management has been drained away to fight lawsuits against any human interference with forestlands.
Meanwhile, a population growing (until recently), not least because of millions of illegal immigrants, has moved closer to forest lands, deeper into forest lands. And so the stage has been set for the tragedies that we see, with mounting deaths, destruction of property, incineration of wildlife, and devastation of acres of forest.
Nothing will change the minds of the environmentalists. Nothing. Their worldview is not empirical, scientific, or historical. It is metaphysical. All species, except humans, survive by adapting to their environment. Humans alone, using reason, survive by adapting their environment to themselves, using science, technology, and industry. To the environmentalists, they are the “freak of the universe.” Environmentalists have let slip their horror of humans. Their view of humans as the enemy of the natural order.
To the neo-Marxists (sometimes labeled “postmodernists”), the conflict is not class warfare. It is racial, sex, ethnic warfare. But also, to the “deep ecologists,” the conflict is between humankind and the natural order.
And so, as Marxists once fingered capitalism, the industrial revolution, as causing permanent and increasing poverty, child labor, war, alienation, and every other systemic ill, today the neo-Marxists indict capitalism (what remains of it) as the enemy of the natural order.Today, it is the California wildfires, or hurricanes, or flooding, or the extinction of polar bears, or new viruses from the south. It always will be something. The clash is not over the interpretation of science. The clash is of metaphysical views of man’s place in the natural order. The true struggle is philosophical: man’s right to his distinctive nature and means of survival. Yours,
An Absentee Ballot
September 20, 2020
To the Editor,
On Aug. 20 I called Lee Zeldin’s office requesting an application for an absentee ballot. I was told that they would put it in the mail.
Now that an entire month has passed without that application arriving, I ponder our besieged U.S.P.S. and also my status as a registered Democrat.
I wish those admirable volunteers who register voters outside the post office were distributing the applications for absentee ballots.
The New Godfather
September 21, 2020
If the issue were not so critical to the future of our democracy, the attempt by Donald Trump to portray his administration as the bulwark of “law and order” could be dismissed as hypocritical and even laughable.
There is little doubt that the Trump administration is the most corrupt and criminal regime in the history of our republic-outdoing even the Harding and Nixon administrations.
The last four years clearly illustrate that a neo-Mafia has emerged in Washington, D.C., and its headquarters is the White House. The new godfather is Don Trump who is safely ensconced in his family leadership because of his loyal Republican soldiers and MAGA rally fans.
Even powerful Republican senators like Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham bow to every whim in fear of incurring the wrath of the Don. William Barr, his gifted consigliere, has stifled every attempt to have him arrested and tried for treason. At the same time, Barr has facilitated the enrichment of the Trump organization, Trump family members, and various department heads.
Barr is well aware that Al Capone was undone for federal tax fraud, and he has been successful in hiding his Don’s tax returns from government scrutiny. It is important to note that Barr, as attorney general would be bringing the charges against Trump. The Don’s caporegime have also thrived. Caporegime Mike Pompeo has been most adept at identifying and purging those individuals who have shown any display of honesty and courage. Another caporegime, Steven Mnuchin, has become a media darling for flying with his wife around the world to exotic places and charging taxpayers for his flights and stays at five-star hotels.
However, there have been a few setbacks for the neo-Mafia. One was the conviction of Trump’s bagman and enforcer, Michael Cohen. Cohen was recently released from jail and is currently promoting his tell-all book detailing the nefarious doings of the Don — including his lack of family values and penchant for cheating on his wives. Most pundits believe that Cohen is lucky he is not swimming with the fishes. Another minor setback was the conviction of Roger Stone, who served the Don’s conduit to WikiLeaks and the Russians. Trump took care of this matter with an expeditious presidential pardon. This pardon proved to his soldiers that if an individual did not become a rat he would be well protected — unless the individual was Paul Manafort, who probably knew a little less about the Don’s transgressions than Stone.
Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of Trump was making peace and forging an alliance with the United States’ great rival: the Russian regime of assassins and corrupt oligarchs led by Vlad (the Assassin) Putin. As detailed by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee, there is no doubt that the Don actively sought and received Putin’s aid in a misinformation social media campaign to discredit his opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The very same committee confirmed that during the Trump Miss Universe Contest held in Moscow in November, 2013, Trump had spent an evening and night with two Moscow women who were invited to breakfast with him when he met with Moscow’s mayor the next morning. The evening liaison with the two ladies might well explain why the Don has been so subservient to the Russian Assassin’s demands for the past four years. The Russian gang is great at videotaping embarrassing liaisons, and poisoning political opponents.
In conclusion, if anyone would like to explain to his or her children the adage about the fox guarding the chicken coop, please discuss how Trump has attempted to destroy the rule of law, civility, respect for women’s rights, respect for Blacks’ rights, and respect for immigrants’ rights. At the same time, he has praised American neo-Nazis and Klansmen and Klanswomen. He has approved and condoned the QAnon conspiracy that Democratic leaders and Hollywood liberals engage in child trafficking and actually get together at meals to eat babies to prolong their lives. In addition, by November we will have over 200,000 dead victims of Covid-19 as a result of Trump’s incompetence and indifference.
If you want law and order instead of criminality, treason, bigotry, and corruption, cast your ballot in November for Joe Biden. He might be sleepy, but he is not a crook.
Haven’t Taken the Bait
September 16, 2020
To the Editor,
Your editorial recently in obvious support of Black Lives Matter is disgraceful. And to suggest Russian bots had somehow inflated the figure of 25,000 people on Facebook calling for the defunding of the Montauk Brewery shows that apparently you are still under the now thoroughly debunked Russian collusion delusion. Whether that number is true or not, it very much represents the sentiment of the hundreds of boaters from mostly UpIsland in town for the Trumptilla. Who from the get-go knew that B.L.M. is a Marxist terrorist organization? As to my opinion I think they have actually succeeded in hoodwinking the biggest fraud ever on our country, but I certainly haven’t taken the bait.
All of a sudden I mention the phrase “all lives matter” and I’m branded a racist. How dare anyone shove this nonsense down my throat? From my earliest childhood memories, people whose skin was darker than mine I knew were no different from me, starting with the time my parents left me in custody with Ida, our [Black] cleaning woman. She became my first adult friend in my life. On to our garbage man Hubert Hilton, a [Black] man who took me under his wing so to speak. I used to wait for the truck to come to see him toss a metal can 20 feet back to his partner. He was at one time ranked 10th in the world heavyweight boxing rankings.
I’ve had black friends and acquaintances all my life. But here we are. It’s so screwed up. Professional athletes refusing to stand for our national anthem in solidarity with thugs and rioters and angry mobs. Elderly diners interrupted by shouts, plates upturned, drinks stolen. Throngs with megaphones and laser pointers disputing residential streets at 3 a.m., yelling, “Give us your house.” A parade of B.L.M. placards forcing open the gate of a retirement community in St. Louis and yelling, “We’re gonna kill you.” And when a couple brandished a rifle and pistol to protect their lives the mainstream media paints them as the wrongdoers and the local district attorney brings charges against them.
And the latest horrific incident just this week in Compton: Two police officers shot point-blank in their patrol car. And a group of B.L.M. thugs chant outside the hospital that they hope they die. And even here yard signs sprouting with the face of the Minneapolis man whose unfortunate death at the hands of one bad apple cop is now revered, a career criminal ex-con high (or low as it might have been) on a witches’ brew of methamphetamine and fentanyl (Hennepin County coroner) while trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill, then resisting arrest, just as the Kenosha man who had an active warrant for sexual assault on a minor who refused police orders and reached into his car for what could have been a weapon. Then almost the whole town burns down at the hands of “peaceful protesters” — the protesters of last month at the Hook Mill were just that. But what does the future hold here when the paper of record condones B.L.M.?
September 21, 2020
To the Editor,
In 1997 I had the privilege to participate in a local, peaceful demonstration. It was organized by the East End disabilities group around the issue of discrimination. Despite the passing of the American With Disabilities laws in 1990, many businesses and organizations in East Hampton refused to make their venues accessible as per the law.
Guild Hall was one of those venues. Despite letters and phone calls over a long period of time Guild Hall turned a deaf ear to A.D.A. requirements. Refusing to obey the laws and make the venue accessible. Even the village and the town stepped in without success. So the local disabilities group decided to take it public.
They organized a demonstration in front of Guild Hall during a major film presentation (celebrating “In the Heat of the Night”) and blocked passage into the theater. About 30 people in their wheelchairs and some more friends staged the protest. It got a little boisterous and contentious, and when Guild Hall called the police they never showed.
The organizers had gotten all the necessary permits and had discussed the demonstration with the police chief. Since the demonstrators were 100 percent right and Guild Hall was 100 percent wrong the police went quiet.
For the people in wheelchairs this was a traumatic and courageous action. They were nervous and scared to put themselves out in the public domain. Guild Hall was embarrassed by the demonstration but did nothing. They didn’t care and somehow thought that disabled people weren’t worth the effort.
Some time later Itzhak Perlman was doing a program at Guild Hall. The disabilities group got in touch with him and he got to the Guild Hall board. Two days later the work to make Guild Hall accessible began.
The lesson was really clear. Being 100 percent right with the law on our side we were powerless against Guild Hall. If not for Perlman’s intervention it might still be inaccessible. The cost to Guild Hall was minimal. For the people who needed accessibility it was a slap in the face more than an inconvenience. It made no sense to most of us. 30 years after the passage of the A.D.A. there are still venues in East Hampton that aren’t accessible.
For Guild Hall it was all about the money. A negative Perlman would hurt their bottom line.
So, what do you say to the B.L.M. people about peaceful protests when our government and many of its supporters thinks it’s all a bag of crap? What’s the rationale for peaceful demonstrations? What’s the rush? If you’ve been treated badly for 400 years what’s another half-century?
If you don’t believe in history or science and think that Jesus doesn’t know you are fascists, then B.L.M. is a Marxist fantasy — even though there are no Marxists and a handful of socialists in the U.S. No reason to come to the table to discuss.
But, if you believe in B.L.M. and are a person of color the slope is far more than slippery. Protesting really doesn’t get you anywhere. Silence gets some positive stuff by attrition. Violence, see the Black Panther movement, gets you wiped out. Unfortunately, there’s no Perlman out there who can say the magic words and humanize the country. Admitting to our racist history opens up a Pandora’s box of potential problems.
So, I think about conversations with my father, and if Germans or English or French kids didn’t know about slavery one could call them idiots. They studied history seriously. But when American kids and their parents don’t know about slavery and what it did they are ignorant but normal for America. My father always said that Americans had to be the dumbest people in the world to put up with all the shit that was laid onto them.
So, I learned from our conversations to understand the Q riff about killing babies, etc. Jews were accused for centuries by the church, always the church, of using Christian baby blood in their rituals. We knew, he said, it was a scam, because Christian babies were treif, not kosher, and wouldn’t be allowed in a Jewish home. Besides the white, blond Jesus riff was so absurd, given that Jesus was a dark-skinned, Jewish commie, that Jews often made the cuckoo sign when Christians talked about Jesus.
So, having been persecuted for almost 2,000 years by the Christian church, Jews get B.L.M. Even though the 1619 Project talks about only 400 years of persecution, it’s a big deal. If you aren’t a historically challenged bonehead its really, really simple: We did and continue to do very bad shit to people of color.
B.L.M deserves a conversation. Maybe even a serious one? It doesn’t need a president who spent his life admiring and reflecting Nazi Germany, calling protesters criminals. The East End disability group understood — in 1997 — that there is a genetically defective problem in America that perpetuates the disrespect and abuse and calls it normal.
September 19, 2020
To the Editor,
Why is President Trump suddenly giving $13 billion in long-withheld Hurricane Maria damage aid to Puerto Rico? It would be cynical of me to assume he wants to induce Puerto Ricans living in Florida to vote for him. So I’m guessing it’s because he’s all out of the paper towel rolls he playfully tossed to storm victims to help them soak up some of the flood waters back in 2017. Or maybe it’s because his throwing arm is as injured as some Mets and Yankees’ pitchers’ arms are.
August 15, 2020
To the Editor:
Stories about Emma, the tiniest Tuthill, ring in my head. She would walk down Orient Lane to do her banking in the grocery store. The post office teller window was impossible for her to reach! She got rich and had control over her little town.
Her cousin, normal-size, cute, stayed over the grocery store, and she would visit her for fun and arguments concerning the summer promenade in August. They would argue all winter long about dresses that they would create.
When the promenade would arrive, they felt they would win. The dress Emma made was off-white, crisp, with tiny rose flowers, white collar, and cuffs. She nearly fell over a big cousin standing in front of the grocery store when she saw a stunning dress worn by another small person. It was green satin, dark, with two panels with ruffles of white that bulged out. Panels were on both sides of the dress, and for one so tiny, her waistline stayed perfectly thin, which struck a perfect impression of this pretty redheaded person from the city.
The happiest Emma seemed to be was when she was dressed in her hunting clothes and went hunting through the woods of East Marion with her full-grown brother-in-law. She dressed in boys’ clothing and put her long hair under a pan. She’d turn the handle to the back of her head and call herself Johnny Appleseed. Loud booms would echo, and they were shot at from the bay area!