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Letters to the Editor for September 3, 2020

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 11:37

Common Bond
Hampton Bays
August 31, 2020

Dear David,

Welcome. You now live on Long Island. You made this impactful life-changing move.

What do you really know about your new home? Every town has a unique and colorful past. Let’s pick a popular town for the purpose of this exercise. What do you know about Bridgehampton?

Do you know about the Killer Bees, that exceptional New York State championship record-holding basketball team, which hailed from one of the state’s smallest school districts?

Do you know those beautiful bucolic farms were the topic of Edward R. Murrow’s documentary on the 20th-century horrors of migrant farming: “Harvest of Shame”?

You have made your primary residence here. You registered to vote, enrolled your children in school, found the best market, hardware store, dentist, and vet. This is now your full-time home.

What do you know about this place you now call home? Like all small towns, there are facts that would shock, amuse, inspire, enrage, and baffle you about your new home.

In order to understand your community I encourage you to join and support your local historical society.

Paraphrasing one of Maya Angelou’s brilliant quotes: Information helps you to see that you’re not alone, that there’s somebody in Southold, Great Neck, Amagansett, and somebody in New York City who all have wept, who’ve all longed and lost, who’ve all been happy. So the historical society helps you to see not only that you are not alone, but that you are not really any different from everyone else. There may be details that are different but a human being is a human being.

You emigrated here, and with that move you have brought your personal heritage. What legends, customs, and objects did you bring that your ancestors gifted to your family? Why do you continue to keep that celebration, worship, food, and artifact? How are the traditions coming with you different from those who already live here?

They aren’t. Heritage is a diverse but similar common bond that brings us together.

Your personal stories are not different from the stories you will find in that little historic house museum you drive by but have not yet stopped in. That place represents your community’s past; its very being denotes it is significant in some way. That house museum witnessed wars, plagues, changing morals, inventions, economic booms and busts. This place you call home was Native American land, a mill town, a shipbuilding port, the largest agricultural producer in the state, a railroad stop.

Its stories will elevate you and appall you and help you understand not only how your community came to be but also how it morphed to the social and ethnic patterns that we see today. Understanding this history and the development of your neighborhood helps to identify what is important from the past to preserve, why things became this way and how they can be maintained or should be changed.

You are part of the new history of your town. Go introduce yourself to your historical society. Tell them your story. Take your children and all your family so they understand that they, too, have an ownership in this new place and are part of its local story.

Support your historical society — with time and money — so that the site can grow to be the impactful educational tool it needs to be to serve its mission.

You are the newest participants of Long Island’s vast and rich history and its greater role in the American experience. Stake your claim by sharing your story and supporting your regional history stewards.


Executive Director

Robert David Lion

Gardiner Foundation


Renewed Faith
East Hampton
August 31, 2020

Dear David,

I want to offer now a very belated thank-you to an East Hampton gentleman named Pete.

On Wednesday, Aug. 19 I had a doctor’s appointment in Southampton. It was raining and that traffic was creepingly slow on the back roads. My car overheated, which I had never experienced, so was unsure if the clouds of vapor signaled some awful disaster.

I pulled over and within seconds a man approached the car, had me shut the motor and get out. He was so calm, reassuring, patient, and kind that I felt safe and rescued. Pete offered to take me home to East Hampton, but, as I felt secure, I opted to keep my appointment. He drove me to the doctor and spoke on the phone with my son to ensure my return journey.

When my son and I later went to inspect the “defunct” car, we discovered that Pete, who had inadvertently kept the key, had returned, closed a window I had left open, and left the key in the ignition. Simply above and beyond!

This experience has been the source, in these so troubled times, of renewed faith in the goodness of which we are capable. I blessed Pete a few times before we parted, but I would say that he is blessed in his own right.

A very grateful,



Our Wish
East Hampton
August 29, 2020

To The Star:

I am sure I speak for many in our community in expressing appreciation to the retailers, including those who harvest produce and seafood, for accommodating our wish to socially distance during this difficult time!

We will remember your support by remembering to shop locally!



Fine Places
East Hampton
August 29, 2020

Dear David,

Thank you to the following stores. I want to say thank you for the service you get when you go to the store. You are greeted with a smile, and how are you today and can I help you with anything? If they don’t have what you want they will go to their best to get it from you. It is a pleasure to be treated so nice. 1. Corner Store 2. Springs Hardware 3. One Stop market.

They are fine places.


P.S. White’s also.


Not to Allow
East Hampton
August 24, 2020

Dear David,

I’m concerned (no, I’m alarmed) that students will be going to classes, commingling with others who may have the virus and may or may not be showing symptoms. Worse, these newly infected students will go home and infect their family, neighbors, and friends.

Further, I’m worried about my own safety since parents will be taking these students around with them to shops, drugstores, grocery stores, banks, etc.

I understand that parents want their kids to go to school and get out of the house. I would, too. But I hope they will not take students who may or may not be showing symptoms around with them in the community.

My hope is that the schools will ask parents not to allow students to circulate once they have been in the classrooms.




Would Be Helpful
East Hampton
August 31, 2020

Dear David,

There has been an explosion of new fishermen on our local shores and waterways, which is great for the sport. However, many of these new anglers are likely unfamiliar with current New York State saltwater fishing regulations covering minimum size and possession limits. For example, how many snapper fishermen know they may only keep three fish of any size under the 2020 rules?

It certainly would be helpful if the Town of East Hampton Marine Police posted New York State fishing regulations in English and Spanish at popular fishing spots and marinas. This simple task would benefit the health of our local fisheries and save some anglers from embarrassment and fines.



Old Gas
East Hampton
August 28, 2020

To the Editor,

How can you dispose of used old gas when refilling a generator? I called the East Hampton Recycling Center, and they take it only one day a year in November. Any suggestions?

Thank you,



Willful Disregard
August 31, 2020


As the new influx of people has descended here, I notice a willful disregard for our codes, which are in place to prevent degrading of our way of life. It seems people just disregard our codes, and do what they want. Our code enforcement officers are pressed to keep up with the violations, and we need to put teeth in their bite. Pocket-change fines are a thing of the past. Each new infraction requires an additional summons to reflect the total disregard.

In my own neighborhood, code enforcement cited a homeowner for repeated violations over two years — for illegal fencing and overclearing. Large mature oak trees were cut down to create a mini parking-lot-size area.

Natural Resources was notified yet they have no enforcement powers. The only thing missing is the inflatable wiggling worm.

Last weekend at 3 p.m., a remaining large tree was cut down, blocking the roadway, despite the issuance of a prior violation. The timing was an obvious defiant poke in the eye, as an “I can do what I want.” Code enforcement was notified but was unavailable. The previous admonition and citation were totally ignored.

This has to be addressed, and real fines issued as a deterrent. This rampant destruction will lower our quality of life, and we will have the aesthetics of the wasteland farther west. Once it is gone, it will be forever.

Yours truly,



Voting by Mail
August 29, 2020

To The Star:

Voting by mail should replace voting at the polls in its entirety. The two institutions that can definitely be trusted are the County Board of Elections and the United States Postal Service.

The money saved by eliminating the need for poll workers could be used to offer free postage on the envelopes used to vote by mail. The person voting would also have more time to consider what they are voting for, and would not be confined to the hours of the polling place. It would also prevent unwanted entry to schools and churches by anyone trying to harm someone. In addition the voter would not be harassed by someone trying to place unsolicited campaign literature into their hand.

The additional revenue would boost the Postal Service and perhaps keep it afloat until we, as a country, are able to vote online. Voting by mail would solve the registered voter problem and guarantee safe passage of the ballots to the County Board of Elections. It might even prevent further spread of the Covid-19 virus.



Balanced Progress
East Hampton
August 31, 2020

Dear David,

Now that we are getting down to brass tacks in this village election, I want to make a few points about the alignment of the Village Board. If the voters elect me mayor, my first task will be to appoint Rose Brown as deputy mayor. Rose brings a valuable perspective to the board as a working woman who is raising three kids in our village. We will continue to work together on the initiatives we brought to the forefront — Herrick Park renovation, wastewater treatment plan, improvement of our infrastructure, cleanliness of our beaches, code updatings, vibrant village core, parking systems — all while maintaining a sound and responsible budget.

I have worked closely with Rose for almost three years. We think alike, we work well together, and I value her opinions and suggestions highly. You would be hard pressed to find a more intelligent and harder working board member than Rose.

This brings me to the next decision: Who would I appoint to fill the board seat that I will be vacating if I am elected. I have thought about this long and hard. This isn’t the old days with their old ways, and I have decided that I cannot appoint any of the unsuccessful candidates in this election. I will consult with the full board about who gets the seat. It will be a process of selecting a person who thinks first of the village residents we represent, with suggestions from the board and from the village at large. We, as a board, will decide who will be appointed, everyone will have their say, and that person will serve with the full support of the board.

This appointment will run until June 2021. At that time, there will be a special election for this seat, where the village voters will make their decision. We are lucky to have residents of this village with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences with a different view of how to take on problem solving. I would hope that we would look to those with a perspective on governance based on collaboration, not competition, a skill that we value. The mayor in my administration will be one voice of five on the board, not the only voice that gets heard.

Please vote for balanced progress for our village. Vote for the Fish Hooks Party of Tiger Graham for mayor and David Driscoll for trustee.

Thank you,



Our Entire Lives
East Hampton
August 29, 2020

Dear Editor:

All of us who live here and love this village make a choice to be here and have a sizable investment in our homes. Some candidates running for office in this election have said, “East Hampton should be more like Sag Harbor or Montauk.” However, we embrace our distinctions, and we believe village residents choose East Hampton because of the peaceful enjoyment of our homes, the quiet nights, and the beautiful scenery, the world’s best beaches and open spaces, and gorgeous homes, large and small.

We believe that this is one of the most desirable places to live in the country. Rick Lawler, Ray Harden, and I have worked hard to balance the costs of keeping our infrastructure strong and secure while at the same time achieving an Aa1 credit rating. It has taken years of careful planning and commitment to preserve our scenic vistas, beautiful historic properties, open space, and the unique village greens. Iconic places like Hook Mill, the North and South End Cemeteries, the Sheep Fold, Town Pond, and Herrick Park make this a unique and special place. Because we recognize the importance of these properties to the character of the village, we have dedicated our support to continuing that effort by preserving the Gardiner lot and windmill, the Dayton farm, land adjacent to Herrick Park, and the Dominy shops and homestead, just to name a few. These are some of the unique properties that define the character of this village.

During the course of this campaign some candidates have proposed changes for the village that would dangerously change the village in ways we do not believe in or think village residents want. Such proposals have included an expansion of music venues, ongoing street fairs, commercial expansion into residential neighborhoods, and paid parking.

We love East Hampton because we live here. We’ve all lived here our entire lives, welcoming each new resident to enjoy it with us. We are East Hampton Village, and we hope you’ll vote Row C on Sept. 15.



Candidate for mayor


Candidate for trustee


Candidate for trustee


Valuable Insight
East Hampton
September 1, 2020

Dear David,

We often speak of our commitment to an administration that will be both collaborative and transparent. Effective communications are essential to the free flow of information both to the public and across government entities. Clear, direct communication is also necessary to ensure transparency and collaboration.

Quite surprisingly, the current state of communications, even among the Village Board members, is sub-optimal. There have been occasions when trustees became aware of government actions or decisions by running across an article in the local paper. We intend to introduce some processes that will minimize such occurrences.

Each board member is assigned to act as a liaison to the heads of the various village departments. They act as troubleshooters, advocates, advisers, and serve as a resource to their assigned department heads. Often they attend meetings with department heads and generally work to facilitate the efficiency of operations and address any pressing needs. Currently, the liaisons may or may not choose to share information on issues of interest or report back to the full board. There has been a bit of a history of some liaisons guarding the issues rather than sharing them with fellow board members. We believe a fully informed board, conversant in all the issues, will clearly be a more effective board.

We will introduce a process that calls for each liaison to conduct a monthly briefing to the board detailing issues of consequence, recapping any meetings, describing current conditions, and highlighting needs or developments within their assigned departments. This will help break down silos and keep everyone fully informed of all issues, as they occur across government.

We also intend to introduce another process, which will enhance communications moving forward. Each year, prior to drafting the proposed budget, we will invite each of our department heads to brief the mayor and the full board with a state of command presentation. This would include an overview of their department’s mission, operations, equipment, personnel, deployment, critical needs, accomplishments during the year, and challenges and goals for the upcoming year. They will also have the opportunity to speak to their anticipated capital requests for the upcoming fiscal year, and will be encouraged to touch on any other budgetary concerns. They will be able to make their case and highlight their needs, in priority order, directly to the board and the mayor. We are quite fortunate to have highly skilled and devoted leaders in these critical positions, and we will all benefit from having them share their thoughts.

This process will insure that the board and the public have a full understanding of the function and operation of each department, and the benefits and consequences of approved or disapproved budget requests as perceived and related by each department head.

We strongly believe in the value of participatory governance, and recognize that the free flow of information is crucial to its success. The adoption of these simple protocols will significantly improve intra-governmental communication, while affording the public the opportunity to gain valuable insight into the entities that serve them.

The public and board members alike will be in a much stronger position to weigh in on the proposed budget after having received a comprehensive first-hand briefing from each department head.

We will continue to share ideas that we believe will improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness of your board.

Stay tuned. More good things to come!


Candidate for Trustee

Fish Hooks Party


What We Need
East Hampton
August 31, 2020

Dear David:

With the East Hampton Village Board election fast approaching, I’d like to introduce myself to those I have yet to meet. My name is Ray Harden, and I am running as an incumbent for village trustee. Having lived in East Hampton for 55 years, I am deeply rooted in the village. I’m co-owner of Ben Krupinski Builder with Stratton Schellinger. I’m an active member and ex-chief of the East Hampton Fire Department, deputy fire coordinator for the Ninth Division of Suffolk County, member of the East Hampton Town License Review Board, ex-vice chair of the Village Zoning Board, and most recently I was appointed to fill the open position as trustee on the Village Board.

Before being appointed, I was asked several times to run with Jerry Larsen. And while I appreciated his offer, I had to politely decline. My decision came after I carefully reviewed Mr. Larsen’s agenda. In doing so, I found that Mr. Larsen’s vision for the village is largely unclear, and therefore his plan for tackling issues is without direction. As someone who cares about the future of our village, I could not in good conscience put my energy and support behind such an unsubstantial platform.

A few weeks later, I was approached by Barbara Borsack and Rick Lawler to run on their ticket. As I did with Mr. Larsen’s offer, I thoughtfully considered their positions. After much consideration, I determined Ms. Borsack and Mr. Lawler have the best intentions for our village, and a clear path for how to get there.

Ms. Borsack’s and Mr. Lawler’s position on the village’s three main issues stood out the most to me, and are worth highlighting here. The first is the village sewage treatment system, which they are in the process of implementing. A sewage-treatment system is essential to the village, as it improves our water quality and allows for more wet uses in the village core.

The second is in regard to the village inns’ hosting special events. To do so, Ms. Borsack and Mr. Lawler agree, special permits must be acquired. And third is village parking. The pair has been working on procuring license-plate readers, which would help alleviate any parking-related tension. Everything Ms. Borsack and Mr. Lawler spoke to me about is exactly what we need for the village businesses to thrive, while protecting the community.

Given their high level of experience, Ms. Borsack and Mr. Lawler are the most qualified candidates to serve the Village of East Hampton, and I’m thrilled to be running with them. I strongly encourage village residents to vote the Elms Party, Row C, on Sept. 15.


Candidate for trustee


Sued the Village
East Hampton
August 31, 2020

Dear David,

The editorial “Scanning the Candidates” in the last Star was very interesting as I have watched with increasing dismay Jerry Larsen’s very expensive campaign for mayor. I have received two or three fancy, full-color brochures per day, as well as weekly invitations to cocktail parties to meet him. It is the most expensive campaign that I have ever seen in the Village of East Hampton.

Until the editorial, I was wondering who was paying. To whom has he made promises (in addition to those mentioned in the editorial) at the expense of village residents? Who is he really going to represent? Do we really want someone as mayor who has sued the village (impacting village insurance rates and thus taxes). It is frightening to think what will become of our lovely village with him at the helm.

Some change is needed to move forward, but that is better achieved by people who are true village residents and who will prioritize the interests of the residents.

Best regards



Carefully Studied
East Hampton
August 31, 2020

Dear David,

I write to express my total support for Barbara Borsack for mayor of East Hampton Village. Those of us lucky enough to live in one of America’s most beautiful villages must consider carefully who will be the best custodian of the village, its heritage, and its future.

I own a village business and agree that the village could benefit from more fizz. But that doesn’t come from a series of low-rent Newtown Lane street fairs. It will come from careful deliberation of an upgrade of the wastewater system - hardly the fun of planning a parade, but the sort of dense, complicated issue that Barbara has carefully studied over the past 30 years of her public service.

One of many things we have learned during the pandemic is that mayors matter. Governors matter. Experience matters. Judgment matters. I have absolute faith in, and am so impressed by, Barbara’s experience and her judgment.

Barbara can fly the plane and she can land it in a field. We need her comprehensive command of the issues to oversee the complex decisions that will be made in the coming years that will affect all of us.



Deserves Better
East Hampton
August 30, 2020

Dear David,

Thank you for your Aug. 27 insightful editorial, “Scanning the Candidates.” Outside of Mr. Larsen’s tenure on the East Hampton Village police force, and his current successful, elite security business providing services to some of the village’s most expensive properties as clients, what Village Hall roles make Mr. Larsen a qualified candidate to become the next East Hampton Village mayor?

What are Mr. Larsen’s priorities, or at least “visions” that would embrace all village “neighborhoods?” As mayor, how does he plan to manage what he refers to as a “village of no”? Change can be an ambiguous and misleading platform during a campaign. More is not a plan, or a working strategy.

Yes, David, I agree with the editorial’s conclusion that “Mr. Larsen as mayor is out of the question.” Now let’s move on! East Hampton Village deserves better than a leadership built on campaign accusations.



On the Way
East Hampton
August 31, 2020

Dear David,

Without a doubt, the sidewalks of our village are in need of repair in many locations. On Mill Hill Lane, our beautiful sycamores are some of the most likely culprits when damage occurs. Before the Covid lockdown, Dave Collins, superintendent of public works, had come to our street and walked with me, taking note of the areas that needed repair. Dave explained how some places could be ground down but others would require a total replacement of the affected area. He said he would prepare a proposal for the village board so that a bid could be sent out for work to be done on Mill Hill and in the village. Just recently, each one of the places we discussed was marked for repair. Now that this kind of work is back on a more regular schedule in this case, help is on the way, and I am confident that Dave will make safe, village sidewalks a priority.

We know the wheels of progress often move slowly, but an East Hampton Village Board under the leadership of the Elms Party candidates, Barbara Borsack, Rick Lawler, and Ray Harden, will continue to work diligently to protect the safety and quality of life of all village residents.

Thank you.



August 24, 2020

Dear David,

On behalf of the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation and speaking for the Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, I would like to take issue with and make some corrections to the argument stated in your Aug. 20 editorial and Mr. Charlie Whitmore’s letters to the editor.

First of all, your editorial heading “Hold Off on Hospital Site” is misleading. The facility will be a hospital satellite emergency department. Second, we are certainly empathetic with Mr. Whitmore’s concern. While the Little League ball fields are most important for youngsters, they can be easily moved to a more suitable site, which the town will obviously find for them.

This Pantigo Place location for the proposed satellite emergency department is critical for residents of Montauk, Amagansett, and Springs, etc., who when dialing 911 now for an ambulance have to travel all the way to Southampton in horrendous traffic. According to E.M.S. volunteers, it now can take at least 1.5 hours to drive an ambulance from Montauk to the Stony Brook Southampton emergency department, resulting in a round trip of at least three hours for the ambulance and its volunteers. In the long run, this new emergency department in East Hampton will mitigate traffic going west to the hospital and returning, inasmuch as they will have to go only as far as Pantigo Place.

It has been determined by our local health professionals and Stony Brook Southampton Hospital under the auspices of the State of New York that this site is critical for handling the current and future load of patients needing emergency care. This will be an around-the-clock, 12-month operation, serving the entire population. The ball fields are used mainly in the spring, summer, and fall, afternoons and early evenings only.

Our needs assessment studies show that there is an overarching demand for a local emergency department which will service 911 calls. Occasional medevac transport may be used for extreme trauma cases. It should be noted that fewer than half of 911 calls result in the need for hospital admission, lessening the burden on our E.M.S. volunteers. Why drive to Southampton if you don’t have to?

It is also noted in your editorial that there may be a Montaukett burial ground extant nearby. If so, this area should be treated with great sensitivity and proper archaeological protocols.

With the planned future relocation of Stony Brook Southampton Hospital to a site west of its current location at Stony Brook Southampton College, it is important that the development of the proposed East Hampton satellite be accomplished now. An additional driving time of 15 to 20 minutes to the hospital can make the difference in successful patient outcomes.

It all adds up to a crying need for this facility to be sited where it is now planned, behind the current East Hampton Healthcare Center, concentrating many of our medical needs in one location. It might be added that in addition to the medical offices and the planned satellite emergency department, there are municipal government offices nearby, including Town Hall, creating a medical/governmental complex that will better serve our community.

When initiated over 20 years ago, the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation in its mission stated that our end goal was to provide improved health care and accessibility at all hours to the entire community throughout the year. We are excited to be a part of this endeavor, as we believe that this will be the most important project undertaken in the Town of East Hampton for the foreseeable future.

We do hope that this letter will allay most of these concerns shared by some among our citizenry.



Board of Trustees

East Hampton Healthcare Foundation


Couldn’t Hurt
East Hampton
August 28, 2020

To the Editor:

Concerning the fields for Little League baseball on Pantigo Place, I can’t help but wonder about the large parcel south of the highway just to the east of Cross Highway, which now contains an unutilized commercial building, a large parking lot, and used to have an extensive retail department store housed in a series of older buildings, which I believe were torn down long ago. It was at one time considered, and rejected, as a site for what is now the Stop and Shop. I believe the correct address is 341 Montauk Highway.

I have no idea whether this site is large enough for the Little League baseball fields, and have no idea of its ownership or zoning category. As I drive by it daily, and the location seems rather good for that use, I thought it couldn’t hurt to ask.




Just Bad Choices
East Hampton
August 31, 2020

Dear Editor:

I was entertained reading the town board’s explanation for the attempted relocation of the Little League ball fields from Pantigo Place to Stephen Hand’s Path from last Thursday’s meeting. As quoted in The East Hampton Star, “In terms of recreation, the Stephen Hand’s site was selected through a community based committee.This is not something that was ramrodded through. . . .”

Wait a minute, what committee was that? The rubber-stamp committee? And what planning process are they using? Process? Was there an inventory of existing recreational conditions in the Town of East Hampton available to them? And a townwide needs assessment study as well? Please, provide me the minutes of the meetings.

I have so many questions to ask. The town board claims that this committee examined a number of sites, and ultimately decided on Stephen Hand’s Path in Wainscott as the go-to site for the East Hampton Little League.

Hey, hold on, it’s the East Hampton Little League, not the Wainscott Little League.

And on what merits did they choose this desolate and uninviting location? Did they search for an alternative site for the proposed emergency room annex as well? What criteria and “guidance” were they given by the town board? What was the property list they worked off of in their “search” phase?

Why were all of the other sites eliminated? Was Timbuktu on the list as well?

Oh, sorry. The Little League is on Pantigo Place now, and they have been there for decades.

They were there first. So why isn’t your “representative” committee looking for sites around town for Stony Brook Hospital instead? I’m sure that you can find something suitable for them. Why is the town board picking on the kids? Because they don’t fight back?

East Hampton can and should have both adequate health care and a thriving Little League. But not one at the expense of the other. The Hobson’s choice regarding who gets the chosen parcel has been created by our town leaders and their ad hoc planning tactics. It’s beyond absurd to attempt to send our Little League to Wainscott for reasons I and others have already articulated. And remember, it’s the East Hampton Little League. Only because of the lack of foresight and planning done by our town are we being forced to make a choice. We need not be forced to choose who gets the favored parcel. We can accommodate both comfortably.

But to do that takes strong leadership, careful planning, and vision. All are in short supply in this case. Hard choices must be made by the town board. Appropriate land can be found, land that will satisfy both the needs of the emergency annex and the East Hampton Little League. But, instead of standing up, and making the hard and difficult choices, the board searches desperately for political cover and a way out of this conundrum anywhere they can find it.

In lieu of an equitable solution, the East Hampton Town Board seems determined to take the coward’s way out and bully the East Hampton Little League into moving to Wainscott. Way to go town board, cowardly schoolyard bullies. The lack of competent planning is starting to take its toll on our community. Not only is there absolutely no planning, present or future, for parks and recreation but there is no planning for health-care services either. And this issue makes it clear to all. Leaving us with just bad choices and conflicts that are the fault of our leaders.

Sad, indeed.



555 Montauk Highway
East Hampton
August 27, 2020

Dear David,

I agree with those opposed to the Pantigo Place location for the Southampton Hospital annex; 555 Montauk Highway in Amagansett should be the location for the new hospital. The property is owned by the town, is not currently used for anything (like baseball), is in a lesser congested traffic area, and, as it turns out, is almost exactly halfway between Southampton Hospital and Montauk Point!

In addition, the location is much larger — nearly 15 acres based on my measuring on Google Earth, which would allow for (the inevitable) expansion in the future.




Desperate Need
August 25, 2020

Dear David,

I read with interest your reasoning behind why the emergency facility should not be built where it is currently proposed at Pantigo Place, and that a ball field there is of more importance to the community. I respectfully disagree with your point of view.

The health care needs of East Hampton, Springs, Amagansett, and Montauk are very acute, and with a growing population from Covid, we are in desperate need of such a facility with good access for everyone. The money that is being used to construct this facility is raised from private individuals in this community who recognize the need and are willing to make it happen.




Global Warming
East Hampton
August 30, 2020

Dear David,

The summer months have been very hot and humid, with temperatures consistently above normal. With many of the pandemic crowds sheltering in place and needing air-conditioning, demand for electricity increased dramatically. Temporary diesel generators, such as those at the Cove Hollow Road substation, were called into action.

Diesel fuel is a fossil, and byproducts of diesel fuel include carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). CO2 causes global warming, as the heat generated by the sun is retained by the earth’s atmosphere and its oceans. CO2 in the ocean interferes with fish reproduction and shell formation. Increased air and water temperatures result in more powerful hurricanes. Climate change is melting the ice cover at the North and South Poles, which is causing sea level rise.

SO2 and NO2 create acid rain, which is harmful to humans as well as plant and aquatic life. SO2 and NO2 can cause respiratory illnesses and allergies, ranging from coughs to asthma, COPD, cancer, and emphysema. Wind power is the most environmentally friendly source of electricity generation. Wind power generates no CO2, SO2, or NO2.

We need South Fork Wind’s 15 wind turbines 35 miles east of Montauk not only for electricity, but also to protect our health and our environment.



Taxing Carbon
East Hampton
August 27, 2020

Dear David,

Elizabeth Halliday’s letter to The Star of Aug. 20 is not well informed on the issue of a carbon tax. She is against the idea, particularly “Fee and Dividend,” which is a careful formulation of a carbon tax designed to solve a specific problem with a straight tax on carbon. Ms. Halliday writes: “. . . these additional taxes will just make everything more expensive and swell the government bureaucracy to administer it.”

Since nobody likes taxes, why even consider taxing carbon? The simple answer is it would save trillions of dollars for society. Climate change is already assessing billions of dollars annually in external costs to society: California forest fires, Federal Emergency Management Administration cleanup, and infrastructure damage from hurricanes, flooding from inland megastorms, health care costs and deaths from breathing emissions, childish attempts to hold back the ocean by dumping sand on eroding beaches, crop failures from storms and drought.

Trump’s border wall and armed border guards can be attributed to climate change. Central American refugees are attempting to enter our country to escape starvation. Climate change has made their farms too hot and dry to sustain agriculture. Does anyone believe we’d be in and out of Middle East wars were it not for the oil under that land? As we continue to rely on fossil fuels, all of these things will get worse year after year as the planet’s temperature rises.

Ultimately, unchecked climate change will result in major coastal cities around the world being inundated and abandoned, with all of the human suffering and cost that entails. In that context, it is clear that a carbon tax, to the extent it can slow that process, is the ultimate cost-saving program.

Ms. Halliday sees these disasters accelerating. She voices strong support for the South Fork Wind Farm and writes, “I believe the best way to reduce carbon emissions is to utilize forms of energy that do not produce carbon emissions.” Circular, but true. Scientists have been telling us this for 40 years and more, yet nothing commensurate with the size of the problem has changed. Four reasons: 1. Most people don’t understand the urgency of the problem. 2. Change is frightening and difficult. 3. People tend to choose the least expensive option. 4. It’s human nature to focus on the immediate (dinner!) and ignore what seems a distant threat. An escalating carbon tax would increase the financial incentive to conserve more and switch to non-carbon sources of energy. Basic economics: As a thing gets more expensive, people use less of it.

But there is a serious problem with a carbon tax that led to the idea of “fee and dividend.” The lower one’s income, the higher percentage of that income is spent on energy. An unmitigated carbon tax places an undue burden on the poor, even though the poor use far less energy than those on the upper scale of income. And the poor have little or no control over the source of power they use.

Fee and dividend assesses a fee on all fossil fuels based on the emissions each fuel produces per unit of energy. The fossil-fuel company must add that fee to the price of fuel. So yes, it is more expensive. But all of the money is then returned to every household in equal monthly dividends. If, for example, the total amount collected amounts to $300 per month per adult in the U.S.A., then each American would get a $300 dividend per month. This would be more money than the increase in cost of living for the poor, so they would be better off. The more affluent, who consume more energy but have the resources to conserve and choose other forms of energy, would have an increasing financial incentive to change behavior. Most significantly, government and industry would be financially motivated to stimulate the technological innovation and infrastructure that is required to replace current forms of energy.

In the computer age, administration of this program would be inexpensive, less than 2 percent of revenue generated, so no large bureaucracy needed. Fossil-fuel companies are already required by law to report their production and imports to the government. The government already doles out money on a monthly basis to a large percentage of the populace. Folding the fees and dividends into this system would be child’s play for computer science.

As in all things, the devil is in the details. Economic modeling shows that, properly engineered, fees and dividends alone could reduce fossil emissions by 52 percent in 20 years, add jobs, save lives, and stimulate the economy. There are several versions of this type of plan making the rounds in D.C. The Republican version throws in a sly present for fossil-fuel companies by saying, if we do this, we should hold them immune from liability for the fact that they’ve been knowingly lying to the public for 40 years to protect their profits.

Ms. Halliday wants “incentives and support for individuals and businesses that are researching, developing, installing, deploying, and investing in all forms of clean and renewable energy.” In the next sentence she expresses her preference for Republican strategies. Is she unaware that Democrats have supported these strategies since Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the roof of the White House? Republicans have fought against them since Reagan removed those panels the day he took office. Republicans have rolled back the meager progress achieved by Obama. Where would the money come from to support these strategies? A carbon tax? Any Republican who supports such measures is immediately primary-ed and kicked out of office. If you hear of a Republican program to fight climate change, please read the fine print.

To be clear, a carbon tax is not enough, but it is one piece of a puzzle that will require changing the way we do everything if we hope to slow the snowballing climate catastrophe. It is infinitely less expensive than business as usual. As we fail on climate, so do we destroy our economy. It’s happening now, it’s accelerating, and it cannot be reversed.



Cautionary Tale
August 31, 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.

Wainscott residents may soon be asked to vote to incorporate as a village. If incorporation is not the success that its supporters promise, dissolution may result.

In 2010, New York State enacted General Municipal Law Article 17-A, which provides for the dissolution of village governments. Since then, no fewer than 20 incorporated villages have dissolved ( Most of these were upstate villages of long standing, whose residents may have merely wished to shed an unnecessary layer of government.

However, one of those recently dissolved villages, Mastic Beach, was located in Suffolk County. During its short existence — it was incorporated on Sept. 21, 2010, and dissolved on Dec. 31, 2017 — Mastic Beach found itself in far worse financial condition than supporters of its incorporation had promised. As reported in The New York Times: “Proponents of the village had estimated that the initial annual operating budget would be less than $600,000; instead, the first budget was more than $3 million.” (“Long Island Village Votes to Disband Six Years After Incorporating,” Nov. 26, 2016, Page A-19.)

Mastic Beach’s experience with incorporation may provide a cautionary tale for residents of Wainscott. To be sure, Mastic Beach was faced with genuine problems of its own, such as absentee landlords and boarded-up homes, and its population is many times that of Wainscott. However, the hazards of incorporation faced in Mastic Beach should resonate in Wainscott today. As described in the Mastic Beach dissolution plan, which was issued as part of its dissolution process pursuant to General Municipal Law Section 774: “Stemming from a feeling amongst residents that the hamlet was largely neglected by the town and that incorporation would give the community local control over issues which were diminishing their quality of life, the hamlet incorporated in 2010. Specifically, residents wanted more diligent code enforcement to address the growing numbers of vacant homes and illegal renters. Voters for incorporation believed that the move would be ‘tax neutral,’ i.e., have no impact on the taxes of residents in the newly formed village. Unfortunately, the village’s need to provide services cost more than a ‘tax-neutral’ budget allowed. In addition, the village experienced governance problems in its early years, coupled with a series of financial issues and debt, a bad Moody’s bond rating, and most recently, the non-renewal of public official insurance. Further, its 2016 budget did not adequately fund village operations, including but not limited to, road maintenance, code enforcement, staffing, and special events.”

Dissolving an incorporated village is a complicated process, arguably more complicated than incorporation, and does not end with merely issuing a dissolution plan. It involves a petition, public hearings, the preparation of plan (which can be a big expense — have a look at the Mastic Beach dissolution plan, it certainly cost taxpayers plenty), transferring or eliminating village employees, selling village assets, canceling village contracts, and determining how residents will continue to be furnished municipal services following dissolution.

But most important is satisfying the village’s debts. General Municipal Law Section 790 requires that: “The outstanding debts, liabilities, and obligations of the dissolved local government entity shall be assumed by the town in which the dissolved entity was situated and shall be a charge upon the taxable property within the limits of the dissolved entity, collected in the same manner as town taxes.”

In other words, if things don’t work out as supporters of incorporation promise, and an incorporated Village of Wainscott is dissolved leaving unpaid bills — like, say, for the lawyers it hires to fight the cable landing under Beach Lane or to oppose Article 78 proceedings — that will be a legacy of debt that Wainscott taxpayers will be required to bear for years to come on their own.

Very truly yours,



Marching Forward
East Hampton
August 29, 2020

Dear David,

Thank you. The editorial about the Montauk Brewing Company, and people, local and from away and possibly Russian bots, boycotting them, was spot on, sadly. How anyone worth their salt claiming to be believers in a kind god of their choice, or Jesus, who we know was a man of all the people, and a dark-skinned man at that, could attack a local guy’s business is just outrageous. Plus, one of the brewery guy’s dads is a retired cop. Insane. It isn’t if you support Black Lives Matter; you’re against all police.

To quote my changed line from a movie: “We don’t hate cops, you idiot!” We abhor injustice and racism. Get it? Unbelievable, the blatant ignorance of local and from-away people who visit our lovely hamlets. Disgusting. I am a retired cop’s daughter myself, and come from a multi-cop family growing up, none of whom ever took out their guns and none who ever shot anyone, or god forbid kneeled on their neck till they expired. God help us.

I was taught, and my dad, a “greatest generation” tough guy who grew up in the streets of New York City, was taught, “You are no better than anyone else.” No one was a hypocrite. Oh sure, there were prejudiced people in the neighborhood, and they were called exactly that. We called them on it. It was not tolerated in my house growing up. “Don’t call me a Guinea or a Wop, I’m Italian, Swedish, and Irish. And we are all American born, so shut up. That is what I would say. And I was no toughie. But we did not abide it. And I won’t abide it now. It is not done.

I will “unfriend,” delete contacts, lose addresses and landlines for relatives and “friends” who are racist, refuse invitations to gather when it’s safe with obvious racists; the works. I am so very done with the hate. Don’t like it? Too damn bad. You lost me at “they’re ruining our country.” No, you are! I walk with my head held high, as I was raised and raised my children to do. We are all the same inside our cells, and we all are free children of the universe or the god of your choice. There’s no place for hate in our hamlets. You don’t get to come here for your full-time, part-time, life out here, or cushy vacations, to shitstir hate and vitriol in our hamlets. I mean, how dare you.

Montauk is my heart for over 40 years. You don’t get to sully her with hate. You just don’t. We are loving people with bright spirits and emotionally more intelligent in our hearts than a million of you morons. Go away. Or get with it. We are spreading love and tolerance. Get used to it. And have a good look around and see who is actually ruining the hamlets out here. People selling opioids to kids, and preying on women, and getting arrested like a turnstile back in jail/back out, local and from-away real dirtbags and criminals. And entitled assholes who drive like they have no trajectory for rules or our small roads. Wake up. Nobody with African-American skin did those crimes I just mentioned.

All local white trash and visiting and entitled, or as a friend likes to say, “trash with cash.” Wake the hell up. No one is coming to your pristine suburbs to take your stuff. I’d be more worried about the mentally unstable who are stockpiling automatic weapons in their houses. Good thing the play dates are not happening due to Covid. Jaysus. Yeah, here comes the Zombie Apocalypse, you better prepare. Idiots. Grow up. Smell the cappuccino, people. You’re being led by the biggest thug of all, who sits on his throne in the White House. Russia’s pimp. God help us if he gets elected again. I can’t even go there in my mind. So I won’t. But I also won’t listen to one more iota of lies and hate from anyone defending this band of haters locally, and the from-away visiting vitriol spreaders.

I did not grow up and live through the ‘60s to go back to a time of hate. We are marching forward to peace and love and fairness and justice for all. “Let go or be dragged,” as Buddha says. Let go of your hate, your deep-rooted prejudice, based on nothing but fear and ignorance; let go of your unkindness. We are better than how many of us have behaved in these hamlets and country these last four years, and well, maybe, all your life. How’s that working for ya? Exactly.

Let’s do better. I know no god who preaches hate. That’s on you. That’s man-made. People either love or they hate. You choose your own adventure. And if you don’t understand why this is happening in the streets, and why there are protests and riots, why it’s so terrible, pass the chardonnay or gimme another Bud. Look to yourself. Are you listening? Do you capiche that oppression hasn’t changed for one race of people in this country? And when people aren’t heard, they lose it. They revolt. Women did just that to vote. We had to. And to be treated as equals, not your joyride, or sick, twisted idea of how it is. We took to the streets. We will again if necessary.

Haven’t you ever lost it? Don’t be fooled by the Foxes. School yourself, instead of adding to the muck and mire. Or as my sainted mom would say when people were unwilling to listen, and barely did she ever utter a swear word, but pushed to her limit she would reply softly, “Good luck to you and go shit in your hat.” Amen, Mom.

For peace and love and unity,



Clear as Day
August 23, 2020

To the Editor:

I must respond to the terrible lie that Kamala Harris is an “affirmative action” candidate. They say that Kamala Harris was given an advantage because she was a woman of color.

Yes, I must concede that Joe Biden publicly pronounced that he would choose a vice president only among women of color. But to do otherwise would be racist, as I will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I believe that we should judge people not by the color of their skin (or their gender) but by the quality of their character, as Martin Luther King famously proclaimed. That is why in my business I always only hire Black women. So I can get the people of best character. It proves that I am not racist.

I have another brilliant point to make here. Affirmative action is designed to help people having to work their culture out of slavery, as a sort of leg up. Kamala Harris’s ancestry includes no former American slaves. In fact, on her Jamaican side, it includes a slave owner, one of the oppressors. So how can it be “affirmative action” to give her a job based on the color of her skin? You see?

It is clear as day that if you don’t judge folks on the basis of their gender and the color of their skin, you are racist.



Trump’s America
September 1, 2020

Dear David:

It’s called projection: the projection of one’s flawed performance onto an adversary. Mr. Trump

(a master projectionist) is now projecting his vision of what Joe Biden’s America would look like if Mr. Biden is elected president in November. And it’s all a big lie: Mr. Trump’s view of a Biden America does nothing more than attempt to tar Mr. Biden with the failings of Mr. Trump’s America.

Mr. Trump would have us believe than in Biden America our country would be ravaged by a pandemic that the Biden administration would be incapable of combatting. It is, however, Trump’s America in which more than six million Americans have been infected with the Covid-19 virus, and to which more than 180,000 Americans have succumbed. And there is no end in sight. In fact, in Trump’s America combatting the virus has, because of ineptitude, been replaced by the march toward “herd immunity.” Experts posit that this hands-off approach by Trump will result in at least 500,000 dead Americans.

Mr. Trump would have us believe that in a Biden America anarchy and chaos would reign. Well, it is Trump’s America that has fomented civil unrest worse than any we’ve seen in 50 years. Civil rights abuses, egged on by Mr. Trump, have led to widespread, largely peaceful, protests. Yet, goaded by Mr. Trump, vigilantes in military garb and assault rifles roam streets of our cities gunning down innocent protesters. And Mr. Trump remains mum.

Mr. Trump depicts a Biden America as failing our troops, leaving them potential victims of foreign forces. Yet it has been Trump’s America that has seen foreign sovereigns offer bounties for dead American soldiers. And Mr. Trump has refused to extend our troops his protective hand.

Mr. Trump claims that a Biden America would destroy jobs. In fact, eight years of the Obama-Biden administration created more jobs than the Trump administration. Even worse, Mr. Trump’s bungling of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the economic wreckage that has caused, has destroyed tens of millions of jobs, pushing the nation’s unemployment rate to double digits ? something not seen since the 2008 recession.

Mr. Trump assails a Biden America as anti-industry and anti-labor. Yet it is Mr. Trump’s America in which petty grievances have spurred Mr. Trump to focus his wrath on America’s greatest companies. For example, Goodyear Tire Company has a policy prohibiting political speech on its factory floors. Because this meant that workers could not wear MAGA hats, Mr. Trump savaged Goodyear, calling for Americans to boycott its products. He didn’t care that such a boycott could harm Goodyear or cause the loss of workers’ jobs. In Trump’s warped mind, Goodyear dissed him, and Goodyear would pay, regardless of the cost.

In Trump’s eyes, a Biden America would decimate health care for all Americans. Yet, it is Trump’s America that would deprive tens of millions of Americans of health care provided under the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Trump is pressing litigation that, if successful, would end the A.C.A.’s protections ? and only because it was the product of the Obama-Biden administration.

It’s called projection. Just remember in November.




In Awe
August 20, 2020

Dear David,

The most refreshing few days in politics since Barack Obama left the White House. To be able to see men and women speak so eloquently. Colin Powell, Cindy McCain, President Obama, etc., etc. I am in awe of all the folks who spoke at the Democratic Convention. Honesty, hope, intelligence, family values, and honesty. Trump supporters are not Republicans. They are dividers, racists, radicals, violent people, spewing hate.

I wish I could go to sleep and wake up on Nov. 4 with a new president. Someone who deserves the honor.



August 31, 2020

To the Editor,

In the United States the cause of much failure is the inability of our leaders to lead. The cause of failure right now is trading what we want most for what we want now. Common sense in our politicians has become so rare it should be classified as a super power. We need leaders who have the patience to listen, the courage to speak honor to follow and the wisdom to lead. You cannot dream of success you must stay awake and achieve it. Negative thinking can only produce negative outcomes. People who don’t change, just reveal who they really are.

The job of government is to protect its citizens and regulate corporations, not protect corporations and regulate citizens. Wisdom is to profit from the past, we must plan for the future and live in the present. There will always be things known and unknown, but in between lie the doors of perception. The heart of America is good, fertile ground. It is up to us what we plant: hate, fear, or hope! You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep. People know you for what you do, not what you plan to do. During these times there are things we don’t want to happen, but have to expect. Things we don’t want to know we have to learn. When we vote we must consider the abilities of who we are voting for. We should vote for someone who is not afraid of being different, but of being afraid of being like everyone else. It is commitment in the face of conflict that produces character.

Such a person is Lee Zeldin! His education speaks for itself.

He graduated from William Floyd High School, then went on to the State University at Albany. Next he went on to Albany Law School, becoming at that time the youngest attorney in New York at the age of 23. He served four years in the U.S. Army. In 2006, while assigned to the elite 82nd Airborne Division in support of Iraqi Freedom, he was deployed to Tikrit, Iraq. In 2007, his active duty, over he transferred to the Army reserves where he was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

After four successful years in the New York Senate, in 2014 he was elected to the to the United States House of Representatives to represent New York’ First District. Throughout his six years as our congressman working on both sides of the aisle he has accomplished so much.

He secured house passage of four proposals to save Plum Island. Secured $65 million a year for five years for the Long Island Sound Project. Ushered into law Adult Day Health Care Act. Also, Lee secured a new veterans’ health care clinic on the East End of Long Island and reauthorized the Zadroga Act for our 9/11 first responders. He steered the Department of Energy’s new $2 billion electron ion collider project to Brookhaven National Lab, injecting billions of dollars and an extensive number of jobs into New Yorks First Congressional District.

Lee Zeldin’s objectives are for the protection of America, suporting our veterans and first responders, the education of our children protecting our environment, and so much more. He deserves our vote!   



Just a Snapshot
August 31, 2020

Dear David:

The G.O.P. embraces robbing women of their long-fought-for right to vote.

For decades, American women fought for the right to vote, the effort culminating in the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920. Three years ago, more than 100 East Hampton women (myself included) gathered at the Mary Groot Manson house on Main Street and marched to the East Hampton Library to commemorate the centennial of women’s suffrage rights in New York State.

Now, the Trump administration has made a mockery of the remarkable achievements by America’s suffragists. First of all, Mr. Trump, proclaiming to honor women, granted an unwanted pardon to Susan B. Anthony, absolving her of the crime of trying to vote. This tactic was widely decried as a purely political ploy. Then, in what has become a Trump mantra on so many subjects, he baselessly claimed to have done more for women’s rights (not to mention those of Black Americans) than any president in history. Leaving aside his scorched-earth campaign to deprive women of the right to choose, he and the G.O.P. have made a mockery of protecting women’s rights.

In one of the most hideous examples yet, on the eve of the centennial celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the G.O.P. invited Abby Johnson to speak at the Republican National Convention. An arch anti-abortion activist, Ms. Johnson also advocates the adoption of “head-of-household” voting. Under this voting system, only the head of a household would be permitted to vote. This system historically has barred women, people of color, and many household members over 18 years of age from casting ballots.

Picture a household in which the husband is a Republican and the wife is a Democrat. In Ms. Johnson’s view of the world, “they would have to decide on one vote. In a Godly household, the husband would get the final say.”

So, this is just a snapshot of the misogynistic attitude embraced by Mr. Trump and what has become his G.O.P. There now is no formal G.O.P. policy platform, just a free pass to Mr. Trump to continue the cruelty his administration has visited on virtually all Americans, and certainly those who do not sit at Mr. Trump’s table of privilege.

It was only at the very last moment that Ms. Johnson lost her speaking slot.

Remember in November.




August 30, 2020

Dear David,

As recommended by President Don Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the recent Republican National Convention, it is time for loyal Americans to take back their city streets from the agitators, anarchists, socialists, commies, gays, transgenders, colored people, mutants, and zombies who are doing their best to destroy the institutions that Americans have historically cherished, like institutional segregation and racism, mass shootings, lynchings, the N.B.A., the N.F.L., and major league baseball. Both Trump and Pence warn that the suburbs are next.

At present, suburbs are crime-free oases, where housewives can clean house, cook, walk their babies, watch “The Price Is Right,” and shop without worry. This could easily change if you know who moves in.

I would recommend that all Americans renew their memberships in the N.R.A. (Do not believe that leftie fake news that the leadership will be doing jail time soon.) It might be a good move to visit your local gun shop and buy a couple of AR-15s and shotguns. Good American companies like Colt and Smith and Wesson deserve your business. I would also recommend that our State Legislature be bombarded with calls to pass a “Stand Your Ground Law” as they have in Florida. This law gives you permission to shoot anyone who yells at you. Can you imagine how cool this would be when someone cuts you off on the Long Island Expressway?

Do not believe anything you read or see on TV other than Fox “NotNews” regarding Covid-19. It is all a Democratic deep-state conspiracy conjured by baby-eating liberals to besmirch our great president. We all know that Don Trump has been great in stopping the virus despite the 185,000 deaths. So sad!

Please save our streets, our communities, our churches, our beaches, our schools, our libraries, our bars, and fire pits at Gurney’s. Vote Republican and show your colors in November.

For God and country,



Quarter Million
August 28, 2020

To the Editor:

If Donald Trump wins his desired “four more years,” that would give him 1,461 more days as president, which would be 35,064 more hours, 2,103,840 more minutes, or 126,230,400 more seconds.

That scares me, especially when I consider that on his watch, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer’s knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

Mathematically, four more years would give president Trump almost a quarter million (239,980) times the length of that period of 8 minutes and 46 seconds with his own knee on the neck of our nation.

Perish the thought!



More Fluff
East Hampton
August 30, 2020

To the Editor:

Watching George Will, a longtime conservative Republican standard-bearer, and Steve Scalise, Republican House member from Louisiana, on the news was a painful, head-scratching experience. Will is straightforward, honest, and really smart. Scalise is a delusional cretin who parrots lies and bullshit. Will was once the essence of what Republicans stood for. Scalise is who they are today — a feckless mix of white-bread Neanderthals who are incapable of separating truth from fiction.

If one takes Scalise’s comment that we just experienced the greatest economy ever in our history as an example, it is easy enough to understand the problem. The economy is mostly about numbers. Numbers can be fooled with, but always come to the surface.

While it is unfair to compare Trump to Obama, let’s try. Obama inherited an economic disaster, which threatened to send the country into another great depression. With virtually no support from Republicans, he guided the reconstruction and not only put the economy back on its feet, but instituted a series of programs, destroyed by Trump, to safeguard the economy from future disasters. When you combine the level of growth with the disaster he inherited, it is easy and verifiable to state that Obama led the greatest economy in our history.

Of course, Obama would never make that statement. First, because it has no real value, and second, because it was why he was elected. His job. Trump, on the other hand, inherited a strong, steady economy. He also had a Republican House and Senate for his three years prior to Covid-19. He had the benefit of a huge tax cut and significant easing of environmental and business constraints. He needed only to show up to continue the same level of job and Gross Domestic Product growth, but he didn’t. G.D.P. in Obama’s last three years was 2.4 percent. In Trump’s pre-Covid-19, 2.5 percent. Obama’s economy created 1.2 million more jobs than Trump’s. The stock market grew by 54 percent under Trump, and 38 percent under Obama. But the stock market barely touches 30 percent of the population, and hardly reflects the economy.

Real income declined for 60 percent of the economy despite a small hit from the tax cuts, because local and state taxes increased along with health-care costs to more than wipe out the pittance from the tax cuts. The national deficit rose from $585 billion in Obama’s last year to $985 billion in 2019. Interest rates reached the lowest level in recent history, and the Fed poured huge amounts of money into the economy.

So if one is to fairly analyze the Trump economy’s 2.5 percent G.D.P. growth, plus 2.1 million jobs each year, it’s not bad. But when one factors in the strong economy he inherited, the $1.5 trillion tax cuts, the lowest interest rates ever, and the Fed contributions, 2.5 percent is closer to 1.5 percent. Comparing the mediocrity of the last three years is more in line with Carter than with Obama.

In truth, the greatest economy ever, with no infrastructure, unstable trade wars, and little or no income and wage growth, is the greatest line of B.S. ever.

Given the Trump history of a $400 million inheritance and six bankruptcies, it is unsurprising that his stewardship of the U.S. economy was more fluff than substance.

George Will’s sadness is the collapse of the Republican Party. Steve Scalise’s lie is the ascendance of bullshit.


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