October 10, 2021
Kudos to the town board, which last month threw its support behind naming the Amagansett Youth Park in honor of Lee A. Hayes, an extraordinary man who lived to be 91 and spent most of his life here in East Hampton.
What Mr. Hayes will long be remembered for — and well he should be — was his service to our country during World War II as a member of the fabled Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-Black aviators in the United State military. But the America that Mr. Hayes returned to as a civilian after the war would not accept a Black man, regardless of how qualified, to serve as a commercial pilot.
It would not be until 1963, when the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Continental Airlines had discriminated on the basis of race, that commercial airlines began hiring their first Black pilots. By then, of course, it was too late for most of the Tuskegee airmen.
I don’t pretend to know much about the life of Mr. Hayes, nor the many here in the Hamptons who knew and loved him, but as a fellow veteran of a different war, I have nothing but admiration for the life he led and for his service to our country.
Thank you, town board, for honoring his memory.
His Whir of Words
October 9, 2021
My mother, Nellie Laporte, once said that time moves faster as you get older. It was something she said and was only half-heard, let alone believed, by my younger self. She did not know anything about Einstein’s theory of relativity, but those wisened by age and experience don’t need that. They speak with the emphatic and simple truth that comes from within.
A few days ago, I visited the grave of Robert T. Long Jr. and was taken aback by the fact that he died 15 years ago. I returned several times to make sure I had not misread the date on his headstone. I needed to know why this seemed so unbelievable to me.
Robert Long was a wordsmith who devoted his life to poetry. We used to travel Long Island going to poetry readings in which he often participated. When reading his poetry, Robert projected an enthusiasm for his words that made them cling to you. His books of poetry — often done in collaboration with his best friend, the artist Josh Dayton — came most fully to life if one actually heard him read from them. Robert often said, “Poetry is meant to be read aloud,” and that’s one of the most important memories I have of him.
Robert’s book “De Kooning’s Bicycle: Artists and Writers of the Hamptons,” showed that Robert was, as Baudelaire said, “always a poet, even in prose.” He was praised for his sensitivity to the deep state of turmoil that often exists in many artists’ lives. His sensitivity and authenticity came from his own experiences as an artist in the midst of the turmoils of life.
I discovered why I was disoriented by the 15 years since Robert’s death. Robert was present. When he spoke to you, he was there speaking to you, and his focus was on that singular conversation. Robert was passionate. He was passionate about poetry and about writing in general. To him, writing was a craft that gave rise to talent and resulted in excellence. I discovered that his presence and his passion still exist, not in a physical form but in some ethereal and personal sense.
Robert Long was a good friend. I have some good friends who are living and breathing but who have gone silent because of some faux pas or misunderstanding. As one gets older and life speeds up, there is less and less time to heal old wounds. But one must keep trying until the clock runs out and the buzzer sounds. My friendship with Robert never had this level of drama. We could be very honest with each other without doing damage to our friendship.
In my experience of visiting Robert’s grave and placing a stone there, I found that bits and pieces of his whir of words made him present to me again. I imagine that Robert is reconstituting himself in fulfillment of the quote by Baudelaire that is on his marker: “The dispersion and reconstitution of the self. That’s the whole story.” It’s the presence and passion of Robert that keeps him alive within us though he were dead.
Carl Fisher House
East Hampton Village
October 10, 2021
Was he a racist and an anti-Semite? We can only judge him by his actions, and he is purported to have engaged in both racist and anti-Semitic dealings.
Although someone can be involved in historic and meaningful activities positively impacting a community, when we pull back the curtain, we can find disturbing issues. That is the case with Carl Fisher.
As accomplishments we can point to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Lincoln Highway, the Dixie Highway, Miami Beach, and Montauk, all impactful.
However, now in the era of social justice movements, like Black Lives Matter, and the continuation of hate crimes against many groups, including Jews, we need to take a deeper dive into the allegations made about Carl Fisher’s racist and anti-Semitic actions. For example, it is reported that he would prohibit Jews and Blacks from his Miami Beach hotels and placed restrictive covenants in deeds preventing Jews and Blacks from owning his land. This appears to be well documented in Miami, and it’s reported that his Montauk properties restricted ownership to whites only. In Mary Gossman’s 1996 oral history, she reported that the Montauk harbormaster was directed by Fisher to investigate palatial yachts to prohibit the entry of those owned by Catholics and Jews.
The Town Board of East Hampton should seriously investigate these matters, and if these actions are true, they should think again about spending $5.5 million on his “historic” property in Montauk. Sure, there are many properties that have been acquired by government whose former owners had questionable actions in their day, e.g., former slave owners. However, in 2021 should $5.5 million dollars from the community preservation fund be spent to celebrate this man and acquire his property without fully understanding what type of man Carl Fisher was?
What is the plan for this property? Will the town board issue a request for proposals, or has the town board already committed this property to the Montauk Historical Society? Will this become a showcase of the ostentatious and glamorous lifestyle of the 1920s? Will it showcase a man who for his own personal ambitions and gains developed opulent properties and restricted its use to whites only, and for that matter only certain groups of whites? Is Carl Fisher a man we want to elevate in stature at this time in history?
Thank God for the stock market crash of 1929, which wiped out Carl Fisher’s resources. If he had continued in his white gentile-only policies would Montauk have become a segregated white community for aristocrats?
By the way, I don’t see the town board or the Montauk Historical Society clamoring to rebuild First House, preserve buildings on the Air Force Base, designate as a historic district Shepherd’s Neck’s Workingman Housing (created for Carl Fisher’s worker bees), renovate the Hilda Lindley House (a former United States Army fire control station), or preserve the observation bunkers at Shadmoor State Park. Perhaps the interest in the Aiken house, listed in 2018 for $9.5 million dollars and still on the market, goes beyond historic interests, and attempts to capitalize on a loose interpretation of the community preservation funds so the Aikens can sell their property.
Please think again, East Hampton Town Board, and get input from the Jewish and Black community before you take further action.
October 12, 2021
To the Editor,
I had always assumed that the Visigoths were long gone. Silly me! The vandals are alive and well, having just destroyed the long-admired George Roberts house on Middle Lane.
The parvenu thinking responsible for this architectural carpet bombing is, no doubt, resolute in the very mistaken belief that whatever is to be built will be a stunning improvement with its minarets and whiz-bangs — the home gym, the media room, the enormous swimming pool that nobody swims in, and the blinding stainless steel kitchen known as the Land of Shiny Devices, where only caterers dwell.
In a paroxysm of bourgeois logic, the entrance has been relocated from Middle Lane to Further Lane — a laughable blunder that exchanges elegant understatement for nouveau-riche pretension.
The one ray of hope in this otherwise sorry tale of cultural erosion is Charles Darwin, who would probably agree that beasts dumb enough to foul their own nests are usually destined for extinction.
October 10, 2021
I recently visited the East Hampton Healthcare Center to have an X-ray of my foot taken. Upon going into the X-ray room, I explained to the technician that I had just had a serious back operation and might need a little help. Camille, the technician, was the soul of kindness, taking extra time to make sure I was as comfortable as possible and safe.
After the X-rays were taken Camille Bent down, picked up my shoes, put them on and tied them for me. It was so far above and beyond anything I expected, that I wanted to publicly thank her for restoring my faith in human kindness.
As I was leaving, my purse turned upside down, dropping everything out and onto the floor. I must have exclaimed (expletive deleted) and the entire staff came out to help. Once again, my faith was restored.
So thank you to the entire East Hampton lab on Pantigo Road for being so kind. I hope I can return the favor someday.
October 11, 2021
To the Editor,
Belated kujds to Susan McGraw Keber, who, as chairperson for the trustees’ clam event, coordinated and outfitted the affair perfectly. Long lines for the soup, clam pies, and clam bar and a good time were had by all!
A Recent Obituary
October 10, 2021
To the Editor:
In my 30 years as a reader of The Star, I have read a lot of local obituaries, and they usually reveal one or another kind of fulfilling lives: a fine family patriarch or matriarch who has brought up children who did well in local schools and have gone on to meaningful lives of their own; often people who have migrated here from their places of a lifetime of work for a long final chapter, in welcome but hardly inactive retirement; or lives cut short in automobile and other kinds of accidents; or a long career running a local business, or teaching in the local school system, and from time to time a young person who life has been cut short by accident or illness.
But I was taken aback by a recent obituary of a clearly appealing and active open-faced young man who “died in his sleep of a drug overdose.” I’m left without words by this, speechless, my eyes welling with tears. The weight of this on his family and friends must be close to unbearable. At some point I will find an opportunity for an act of kindness, which I will do in memory of his — to me inexplicable, but deeply sad — departure from our world.
Heart and Soul
October 11, 2021
To the Editor,
Matko Tomicic, executive director of LongHouse Reserve, was dismissed from his position without notice from the board of directors on Sept. 4 (midday) of Labor Day weekend 2021 for no reason other than the board wanted more control. The whole staff walked off their jobs immediately for two days in protest.
I have known Matko for over 30 years and have followed his career. I want to comment on his integrity, goodness, and work ethic. I met Matko when he ﬁrst came to the United States. I knew him when he assisted Henry Geldzahler, the art curator and New York commissioner of cultural affairs. And I remember when he started to work and help create the vision Jack Lenor Larsen had for LongHouse.
LongHouse would not be what it is today if Matko were not there to manifest Jack’s vision, along with the incredible staff. Matko is the heart and soul of LongHouse and has dedicated his many years of service to keeping that vision alive before and after Jack’s passing in December 2020. What I have seen is that he worked 24-7 and gave everything to keeping LongHouse going. Not only is he an excellent fund-raiser, Matko is also kind and considerate to all who work and visit LongHouse. He is an asset that cannot be replaced.
I ﬁnd it shocking, sad, and morally wrong what the board has done by removing Matko Tomicic from LongHouse.
October 11, 2021
I’m one of the “have nots.” I’m not on municipal water. I, like many of you, have been getting letters from PSEG WorryFree to ask to enroll in their HomeServe to pay for repairs to our water line. But I don’t have a water line! I’m on well water. This is a total scam trying to get PSEG customers to pay for a service they don’t need. Don’t fall for it.
My first experience with the haves and have nots was a few years ago working for the Ladies Village Improvement Society Fair as chairwoman for the cake booth. At that time the State Agricultural and Health Departments required that all home-cooked baked goods donated to the fair, such as delicious scones, cookies, cakes, and pies, had to be limited to those cooked from homes on municipal water. That knocked out most donations since many parts of East Hampton are not on municipal water.
If you’re a have not like me, don’t be tempted to sign up to PSEG WorryFree.
Been No Discussion
East Hampton Village
October 11, 2021
I am a neighbor living in close proximity to the proposed brewery and beer garden on Toilsome Lane. I have great concerns as to the effects the project will have on our residential area and the quality of life in the neighborhood due to the increased traffic and noise that will be the result of this project. The amount of increased traffic on Gingerbread and Toilsome Lanes will increase the risks that already exist due to the almost 90-degree curve on Toilsome just before the proposed brewery, not to mention that there may be drivers coming from the tavern who have impaired abilities from consuming alcohol.
Furthermore, there has been no discussion as to the hours of operation, the maximum allowed occupancy of the tavern and beer garden, the allowed level of noise, and the impact of a bar in this primarily residential neighborhood.
This project should not proceed in any form until these important questions have been addressed.
October 11, 2021
To the Editor,
As an interested bystander from Sag Harbor, it feels like the same elements of haphazard zoning laws and restrictions are rearing their ugly head in East Hampton. In our town we have observed a burgeoning disregard for the preservation of wetlands, harbors and building codes resulting in a continuing, outrageous misuse of vacant or abandoned property.
Two cases in point: the Watchcase Factory and the two new three-story buildings opposite our post office, completely blocking views of Sag Harbor Cove, plus future plans to relocate the Bay street Theater to a much-larger venue on property occupied by several small businesses, plans calling for a much larger building. All of this will put even more stress on our decaying sewage treatment facility which empties into the waters of Sag Harbor.
Although a brewery may not seem to have the same effect on the local ecosystem, it will most likely impact the quality of life of longtime residents of the area due to noise, smell, unruly customers, and traffic congestion.
October 10, 2021
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I am a resident of the Town of Southampton, but I am an avid reader of The Star because I am deeply concerned about the unnecessary environmental damage being caused by helicopters, jets, seaplanes, and other aircraft using East Hampton Airport now that the grant assurances have expired.
I read with interest your article last week titled “Neighbors Say Brew Restaurant Shouldn’t be Allowed.”
I understand there are two competing interests involved here. The owner-developer, after a long hiatus of over 30 years, would finally like to generate some income from his property. He has been paying taxes and insurance for those years without much to show for it. On the other hand, the neighbors have enjoyed the peace, quiet, and relative traffic safety living next to a large piece of unused property. Do you think Mr. Diamond would like a beer hall built next door to his residence?
Reading your article, I see both points of view. The village code also seems a bit unclear whether the intended use is permitted.
It seems as though attorneys have already lined up on both sides causing untold expense to both the town and neighbors. Instead of ultimately depending upon a court ruling, which will be harsh to one side, why can’t the village and the neighbors sit down and negotiate a middle ground acceptable to both sides?
Since a beer hall is so terribly invasive to the neighborhood, perhaps Mr Diamond could consider building a more neighbor-friendly business on his property. No one would go away jumping for joy, but at least some justice might be found.
Not a Moron
October 9, 2021
To The Editor:
Christopher Diamond wants to build an inappropriate brewery and beer tavern next to my home on Toilsome Lane, and even though I am using all my resources to fight this terrible intrusion of our quiet residential neighborhood (see "Brewery Battle Is Looming," The Star, Oct. 7), Mr. Diamond is not a moron.
Why is he not a moron?
On Sept. 20, Jeffrey Plitt’s wrote to The Star in reference to the 17 Toilsome Lane Brewery: “. . . what moron would welcome a beer barn next door to them or in their neighborhood.”
I guess that’s why Mr. Diamond is not considering building the two-story, 140-seat brewery next to HIS house, but instead is attempting to build it next to my home on Toilsome Lane.
Therefore I am assuming that Mr. Diamond is not a moron.
October 9, 2021
It was the beauty of the beaches that brought me to East Hampton in 1960, and the thought of losing them to rising seas and the threat of violent storms frightens me more than most things. That’s why I’m so thankful when I see the planning this town board is doing to buy and preserve hundreds of acres of open spaces and farmland, especially those that are close to water.
I am also grateful for the sand replacement work on Ditch Plain and other Montauk beaches. I am grateful to live in a town with leaders who are using science and careful planning to protect the health and vitality of these beautiful places and life as we know it here for us and for the future.
Does Not Add Up
October 9, 2021
I was encouraged to learn of the purchase of the 33 acres north of the Amagansett Library parking lot recently. I enjoyed exploring that area as a kid growing up in Amagansett in the 1950s and ’60s.
Though the price tag was steep, I feel it was worth it. And best of all we own, outright, 17.5 acres of the 33 total acres, purchased with $16 million of the $28 million total.
My only concern came when our town board stated that it was their desire to lease the 17.5 acres of town-owned land out to a farmer.
So, just for fun, I decided to pull up the United States Department of Agriculture website to review the statistics on agriculture in New York State.
According to the U.S.D.A., there are approximately 1.8 million acres of agriculture lands in New York. The average price of an acre of cropland in the state is $3,170. Additionally, the average annual rental price charged per acre of cropland, per growing season is $59.
It was reported that we paid $914,000 per acre for the 17.5 acres that we own outright. We paid a whopping 288 times more than the average price per acre for farmland in New York State. I prorated the rent based on an average of $59 per acre per growing season, or 288 times $59, and it came to around $17,000 per acre, per season, or $289,000 per season for the entire 17.5 acre parcel. If we had to borrow the $16 million, $289,000 would only cover loan repayments for several months, and provide us a negative return on our investment.
According to the U.S.D.A., during New York State’s good years farmers harvested 110 crates of sweet corn per acre. That’s between 6,000 and 7,000 marketable ears per acre. At the local price of $1 an ear that is a gross income of $6,000 to $7,000 per acre. Not nearly enough to even cover the rent on an acre.
How about a $4 ear of corn, anyone? Baker’s dozen, $48?
So the likelihood of any realistic agricultural rental agreement is remote. Unless we agree to subsidize the farmer to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars per year. And, please, forget R.O.I.; there will be none.
This 17.5 acres of land was priced and sold according to its highest and best use, which is for single-family housing. I’m no agricultural economist but it is clear to me that the farming numbers just don’t add up.
Furthermore, the community receives little benefit from the rental of this expensive parcel purchased with our community money.
It is clear that this property’s highest and best use will be found in the public realm. And indeed, because we own it, we should make use of it for the public health, welfare, and enjoyment. This property should be used to benefit our children and positively impact as many of our community members as possible. Public spaces do this best.
As a lifelong Amagansett citizen I suggest we focus on our families’ needs first and create parks for our local community!
Stop the Spread
October 1, 2021
I want to start by thanking you and Christopher Walsh for your article about the southern pine beetle, Dendroctonus frontalis. The property owners of this town need to be made aware of what is happening.
Yesterday I watched and documented three pitch, or black, pines and one white pine as they were removed from my property. I am sick to my stomach that it came to this. One of the trees was recorded as being over 80 years old.
This devastation of the Northwest Woods section of East Hampton and Wainscott did not have to happen if the supervisor of this town had bothered to do anything proactive about our now multimillion-dollar problem that will fall to each individual homeowner.
I called my insurance company on a lark to ask if this problem was covered. Eye- opening conversation. It seems homeowners are responsible for tree removal. If they are left standing, die, and fall on their own, insurance will not cover any damage.
When trees were discovered to be infected along Swamp Road and Route 114, those trees and a wide perimeter should have been immediately removed and destroyed. This is the standard practice of the United States Forestry Service for this beetle dating back to 1974 (still researching through the U.S.D.A. website).
Instead, multiple members of the town board listened to an attorney instead of arborists and/or tree experts. Now there are multiple sites of kindling that our fire departments might have to deal with. Some could block the roads to rescue residents.
Why weren’t any adjacent properties notified and solutions discussed to potentially stop the spread of the beetle? When homeowners complained about the felled trees, why did the town completely ignore the destruction it created?
Why did the town tell the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that East Hampton did not need their help, instead just taking money from the state and doing absolutely nothing for the past four years?
Why did the D.E.C. tell the town several years ago that East Hampton was hopeless in the fight against this beetle? Why was the public never made aware of this?
Why in all the years that the beetle has now been in our town, has there not been one flier sent to homeowners as a public service announcement to look at their trees?
The article did shed light on several new aspects of the destruction; the point that piqued my interest the most was regarding the white pine trees. Up until two weeks ago, the town took the stance that the southern pine beetle did not infect white pine trees. Now, its new position is that they are infecting white pines but will not kill the tree so let’s just leave them alone (paraphrasing).
I do not believe this to be true. It will just take longer for the white pines to die. Why would you leave any trees that are infected with this deadly bug in vulnerable areas?
With the town confirming new infected acreage daily, are they contacting neighboring properties about the situation? After all, they send a tax bill to each property, so they are capable of reaching property owners to inform them of the enormity of the problem.
I have heard from multiple tree experts that the beetle is spreading beyond just pitch and white pines. Any tree that produces sap is now susceptible. This includes arborvitae, cypress, and other ornamental pine trees.
The town board recently threw the property owners a small bone, waiving fees for only live infected pitch pines, so if the tree is already dead or it’s a white pine the homeowner must pay the dump fee. Why isn’t the fee waived for any and all trees, alive or dead, that are affected by the southern pine beetle?
My husband and I have now laid out over $10,000 in the last 18 months. This problem now lies in the hands of each individual homeowner. I know of at least two property owners that have 70-plus trees to come down on their respective properties. They will be laying out tens of thousands of dollars of their own money to stop the spread. Can they afford to remove the trees?
The street we live on will soon look like Hiroshima. If you believe for one second that town board members did not know about this catastrophic rate of tree death I have a bridge to sell you.
We need to be declared a disaster area immediately. We need state and federal resources to come in and help us. Clearly this town board’s leadership is incompetent, forcing homeowners in East Hampton to foot the bill for the negligence.
Time is not on our side. We need aggressive action now or there will be no trees left in the woods. Unfortunately, I had little faith that anyone can help us.
October 11, 2021
To the Editor,
The Town of East Hampton has made pledges as far back as 2014 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and more recently declared that there is a “climate emergency.” In the past, it had also dubbed itself one of the greenest towns in the Northeast due to these types of pledges.
Sadly, this grand posturing has resulted in very little actually being done. As we approach the midpoint of this 2030 goal, the town produces more greenhouse gas emissions than it did in 2014. Moreover, the town has set itself an impossibly unrealistic goal, to offset 100 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. New York State has recently raised its target to 40 percent within this time frame, and the federal government just doubled its goal to 50 percent, both are probably too optimistic, but our town’s 100 percent target is just a sign they don’t know what they are doing.
A major problem is that the town has not focused more on solar development; it is a great fit for our area and matches well with our town’s peak demand needs on summer weekends. Given significant technology improvement, it is the low-cost method for renewable electricity generation in the United States. Unfortunately, East Hampton has done very little in this area while towns like Riverhead and Calverton have installed 10 megawatts of solar power over the last four to five years with plans for more in the future.
East Hampton Town-owned buildings and other open land areas might generate at least 2 to 3 megawatts of solar, if not more? What has the town done in this area? It will finally be finishing a 75-kilowatt project at the Parks Department this month that is roughly the equivalent of a dozen residential homes? It claims this will save the town $10,000 a year. If this is true, why hasn’t it installed much more and saved hundreds of thousands?
What is even more galling is that the town has wasted the last four years by paying NYPA for a solar evaluation of its buildings that took two years to produce (this should have been able to have been done in a few months)? and then basically ignored the information for another year and a half? For comparison’s sake, the village somehow installed solar on a few of its buildings as far back as five years ago.
I know some are saying but what about the Accabonac solar project which is one megawatt and went into service a few years ago. Yes, that is thankfully true, but for some reason the town only got 1 megawatt out of the 40 that were proposed for our town to LIPA/PSEG to actually be built? A 2.5 percent success ratio is not good, especially given we are in one of the worst grid-pocket areas on Long Island and there was a serious push even by the utility back then for action.
Recently, East Hampton has suggested our residents try to apply to other municipali-ties’ community solar programs — five have been approved of so far on Long Island. The hypocrisy of this seems to escape them as they have made no effort whatsoever to build one themselves. If the airport were closed, it would provide an excellent site for a significant community solar project (25 megawatts, offsetting at least 20 percent of our use) that could provide the town with perhaps $1 million in annual lease income while also allowing lower-income residents to tap green energy at a 10 percent discount to the utility.
I wish I could say the town’s only misstep has been in the solar arena, but areas like LED streetlights are another obvious failure. The town is at least finally thinking about doing something here, but a recent survey shows only 100 out of 800 lights have been upgraded so far. Many cities across the country took this simple step six or seven years ago, and Southampton completed its own upgrade three years ago. Analysis shows the town would save $50,000 a year by simply changing lightbulbs? Why hasn’t this been done already?
There are a handful of other areas of ineptitude I could go into — a gas leaf-blower ban that recently went into effect years after once again other towns made this decision. Ours, though, only takes effect in the summer, not in the spring or fall, which is really when these noisy and polluting machines are used.
Or the town’s lack of action to put in place more environmentally sensitive building codes as development has exploded. Even implementing the simple New York State Stretch codes that would increase costs by only .3 percent on average for buildings has been debated as being too restrictive for builders by our town.
In the end, if we are to make any headway against the threats of climate change at a local level, the town will have to spend some of its own money and not simply rely on small state grants as it has for years now.
The town’s only stab at this in the last few years, however, was to build a new shellfish hatchery facility while we already have a functioning one? They had set aside $4 million for this and tried to ram it into a residential area in Springs. The plan never got very far given, the state wouldn’t go along and add another $2 million needed for this boondoggle. It would have not changed anything in terms of our sustainabi-lity and it was simply a vanity project that thankfully one town board member (Jeff Bragman) stood up against, as did the local residents in the area.
The worst part about not investing more in sustainability is that the town doesn’t seem to understand that if it did spend on solar projects, on LED streetlights, on electric vehicles, heat pump upgrades, and other efficiency steps, they would actually save taxpayers money in the long run. These things all pay for themselves, given the technology today. Hopefully, whoever wins the upcoming election will take this issue much more seriously.
Land Use Problem
October 11, 2021
To the Editor,
In 1983 the Town of East Hampton realized it had an affordable housing crisis. This is a significant year because it was when I was born. Here we are, 38 years later, and the problem still persists. I’m reminded of a Thomas Paine quote, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” Different context, for the Revolutionary War, but for us a crisis still here 38 years later. Now it’s passed on to my generation, I will not pass this on to my children.
Alas, there is the problematic situation. In the late 1970s it was discussed how we had a land use problem on Long Island, especially on the South Fork. This has gotten expanded by the year, and our last year’s census put us at a 40 percent increase in our town’s population. What do we do? Already residents in Amagansett and Montauk have called for potential moratoriums on building. That brings up my next question.
Catherine Casey, the executive director of the East Hampton Housing Authority, on May 31, 2016, stated “About 90 percent of the town is built out. And 70 percent has been preserved. Only about 10 percent of the land is available for development.”
Where this becomes odd, as I sat at an Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee meeting in July of this year, our town supervisor stated: “We have about only 10 percent left of buildable land” Five years later? New construction all around town and already two apartment complexes now in Amagansett. Still, we hear at 10 percent of buildable land? I believe we have a townwide catalog problem.
I can say since 2018 I now have four new houses on my block that weren’t here my entire life. I’d much rather have the buying of these lands with the community preservation fund, than the development of old post-World War II cottages or bungalows built to give families, my fellow millennials, and Gen Z the chance to thrive, strive, and stay in this community. The lots across from my home could have been four new homes. The town wasn’t willing to shell out the extra 30 grand to acquire the nine lots. Glad we got another second-home owner.
Remember, everything we’ve brought up since March are all the things they are talking about and trying to address: senior center, communication tower, housing, beach access, beaches, fishing rights, energy, airport (which some give two answers on). You want our answers? Then come ask questions at the American Legion, Oct. 24, from 3 to 6 p.m.
Walles, Aman, Karpinski: We are the community, and, as always, the tides are changing.
Republican and Conservative Candidate for East Hampton Town Board
Why So High?
October 11, 2021
I was surprised to see the town supervisor, Peter Van Scoyoc, claim credit for his Covid response when the town — according to data provided by Van Scoyoc — has recently reported a positivity rate three times the county and state average. I’m not sure our town’s experiencing a positivity rate between 9 and 12 percent is something to tout as an accomplishment.
More important, why is East Hampton’s positivity rate so high? The supervisor claims it is because of out-of-towners, but the New York City average positivity rate hovers around 1 percent. The numbers don’t back up his claim. There could be other explanations. Until recently we had only two testing locations from East Hampton to Montauk.
My family is still waiting for P.C.R. test results for a test taken more than seven days ago at the East Hampton testing site. This is unacceptable. Medivolve, the company the town supervisor chose for testing, is currently under investigation by the State of California, and public officials have urged residents to test elsewhere.
Complaints by California residents may sound familiar: Medivolve locations required all three tests (antigen, P.C.R., and antibody) even over patients’ objections, hours-long wait times, delayed or missing test results, and reports of faulty results.
Vaccine access in East Hampton has been similarly bleak. I traveled UpIsland for my first two doses because availability in East Hampton was virtually nonexistent, as did most people I know. Booster shots in East Hampton have been nearly as scarce. As we head into colder days and as eligibility for booster shots becomes more widely available, we must demand the town supervisor fix these problems.
October 4, 2021
I read Mr. Metz’s letter in the Sept. 30 edition of The Star with alarm. The thrust of his letter to less informed readers is the recommendation that they forego Covid vaccines and instead trust monoclonal antibodies, hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin (both of which have been found by the F.D.A. to be ineffective in fighting the Covid virus). His diatribe ignores the fact of his prior vaccination and its effect in thwarting his later infection. This is exactly what the science has been telling us about the effectiveness of the vaccines — if you subsequently get infected, the physical manifestations will be less severe.
To urge folks to trust hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin is dangerous, plain and simple. I write because, in my view, it was equally dangerous of The Star to publish the Metz letter. I understand the position that virtually all reader letters will be published, but I think you should consider revising that policy toward something akin to the position taken by Google under which posts that present viewers with misinformation concerning the Covid virus will not be published, or if published taken down. Your corrective footnote, while necessary and helpful, may not be sufficiently convincing to readers more susceptible to such misinformation.
Now, turning to the East Hampton Airport. I am against closing it. The airport is not the problem, those using it to exploit the town in the pursuit of money are the villains. Several years ago, the town board after aid from Tim Bishop put together a plan designed to limit the use of the airport by jets and helicopters that the East Hampton citizenry found most offensive. If in fact the airport is reverting to town control, there is no reason why that plan (undoubtedly in need of revision to address more recent issues) could not be put in place. I would also be in favor of increasing landing fees for commercial or chartered aircraft to excruciatingly high levels which would curtail demand for air commuting. If lawful, a chunk of that increase could go to tax relief for residents, or educational programs, or other programs beneficial to the community.
October 11, 2021
To the Editor,
The one thing that impressed me in the full page ad of the Facthounds (The Star, Oct. 7) is the quote attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan: “Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.”
This is very true, but totally ignores one important variable, and that is the ability to select which facts to believe, promote, advertise, and which facts to discount, ignore, and suppress.
Let us face it, every politician, from Pantigo to the White House, continuously does exactly that, so does every news outlet, every journalist, and every coalition. One might call it selective reality.
Let us face it also, that the various anti-KHTO airport groups have the stated intention to “transform” our municipal airport into a yet-to-be-defined “thing,” totally unrelated to transportation. If and when this happens, East Hampton will have indeed been “transformed” into a hardly significant little Podunk on the most populous island in the U.S.A., Long Island. That is a fact.
And it would not even be the prettiest of them all. That is an opinion.
October 11, 2021
To the Editor,
As a year-round resident and local business owner, I share my neighbors’ concerns regarding the noise, pollution, and safety issues related to East Hampton Airport. However, I think it’s important to note that by supporting the closing of East Hampton Airport, we are actually advocating (perhaps unknowingly) for our airspace to revert on a year-round basis to what is known as Class G, or “uncontrolled airspace” as per www.faa.gov. Closing the airport doesn’t make our airspace a no-fly zone, but in fact it achieves the complete opposite, resulting in our airspace being unrestricted with materially lower minimum altitudes and required weather minimums.
Closing the airport does not remove the ability for aircraft to operate over our town. Instead, we would be relinquishing control of the valuable airspace above us and the future unintended consequences that will inevitably impact our quality of life and natural resources in the near future. Closing the airport would enable commercial operators to legally utilize any of the various helipads in Southampton, East Hampton, or Montauk and exploit the resulting lack of regulation and airspace control to facilitate enhanced and frequent commercial operations.
Aircraft transiting directly from point A to B over our homes at low altitudes becomes possible (the shortest and most cost-effec-tive route). When the East Hampton Airport control tower is open, the airspace is Class D, with materially higher minimum altitudes and restrictive weather minimums. Rather than relinquishing control of our airspace, the town should move to maintain an operating control tower and Class D airspace year round, with specific hours, and assess fines to operators who land after a set curfew. The town should also work to increase airspace restrictions by upgrading the airspace to Class C to facilitate higher minimum altitudes and weather minimums. These solutions require minimal costs and can be subsidized by airport usage fees.
We all agree that our beaches, waterways, pine barrens, aquifers, native plants, and animals are invaluable natural resources that must be protected. However, we must also consider that the airspace above East Hampton Town (and the entire East End) is an equally sensitive, valuable, and important resource that must also be protected. By closing East Hampton Airport, we would in fact do the opposite by relinquishing all control now and in the future to protect the valuable airspace above us.
BRIAN LA BELLE
October 11, 2021
I am a candidate for East Hampton Town Board, and I have stated in my campaign materials and advertising that if elected I will act to change the status quo of East Hampton Airport. I am writing this letter to inform our voters of what changes I propose.
First, I believe, we must look at this issue in a holistic way. I believe that we cannot simply prohibit helicopter and jet flights into East Hampton Airport without addressing the potential repercussions for Montauk and citizens throughout the town.
Therefore, I propose that the town immediately pursue acquisition of Montauk Airport, and then modify the regulations regarding what types of aircraft can land at East Hampton Airport. I support eliminating all commercial helicopters and jets, chartered or scheduled. I also support a night curfew for all aircraft. We must address the superfund clean-up area and protect the multitude of endangered plant species and meadows that exist there. The airport property is in a drinking water aquifer recharge area, and we must place easements over the property to ensure that all these changes are protected in perpetuity.
The status quo is unsustainable. Our community has been impacted by noise, air, and water pollution from many sources for too long. With grant assurances having expired at East Hampton Airport, the time to act is now. Our community deserves nothing less.
No Issues at All
October 11, 2021
To the Editor,
I write this notation with anger, regret, and remorse. I am mentally and physically tired of what this town has become and what it represents. Along with others, I am tempted to move. It has become a new version of a reality show. For us to take our personal time to fight for something that shouldn’t even be an issue is absurd. I am here to say my piece, and that is all I can do.
I am a true local, a Bonacker born and raised, and raising a fifth generation here. This is my home, our home. It is a privilege to live here, not a right.
Not only has our “local” moniker been taken by transients, “residents,” and the newly acclaimed Covid locals, but now our town is physically shrinking. Places where some of us grew up, and some of us spend our downtime to try to keep pace with the entitled. One section of Napeague is gone, and this is the next hot topic: After the airport, what is next — Maidstone? The long-term lot behind the Y.M.C.A. if you have to leave your car longer than two hours? If you continue to give to the entitled, then that’s all this town is — entitled.
The airport serves a purpose to this town. It not only serves as a means of transportation, but it serves as employment, a source of education, and an emergency exit for someone who could be in a life and death situation.
If the town closes the airport, what will you do with it — create new land and houses for low-income residents, then give it to lottery winners who don’t need it, and create even more feelings of being squished into a sardine can? This town is not meant to have as many people as it already does. We are popping at the seams and creating more residences will create thicker population. Thicker population equates to thicker traffic on the roads, which its already too much to bear. Thicker traffic equates to even more car accidents. It should not take two hours on a summer day to get from East Hampton to Southampton, but it does, and it grows a little bit more every passing summer.
You want to make a dog park? We have one down in Springs, and we still have some beaches. You want to make it a playground? Then go to the schools, like we used to growing up, or Herrick Park.
I live in the flight pattern. Right in Northwest Woods, east of runway 10-28. To look up and see an airplane brings a smile to my face. It’s someone doing something they care about. I have no issues at all with what transpires on a day to day basis.
A number of the so-called complaints against the airport are from the same people doing so sometimes numerous times a day. They bought a house knowingly next to the airport. This cannot be proven, but it is well known among the grapevines. The town doesn’t permit open knowledge of complaints — ludicrous.
Something does need to happen with KHTO, I agree, but it needs to be done in a positive manner. The airport was never meant to be utilized how it is. The jets are too large, and the helicopters are not regula-ted. These two examples give the rest of the pilots and their personal aircrafts a bad representation.
It’s time to set forth true guidelines. Larry Cantwell knowingly tried to go against F.A.A. regulations secretly and it backfired on him. Why? Because he tried to appease the entitled. Now the town can make true guidelines, restrictions, and modifications. And that is okay — as long as it’s fair. Closing the airport is not the answer. The answer of “Oh, they can go to Montauk or Westhampton” is not an adequate answer, either.
Montauk is one of the most difficult airports to land at. It will create even more accidents with uneducated or unknowing pilots. Westhampton will still only create another traffic issue.
Closing the airport only reiterates that the township only cares about the money and the entitled and not the people who make this town what it is. If you close the airport, you will only see more true local Bonackers leaving. Who will help with the structure fires, the car accidents, the true emergencies that our volunteer services take care of? No One. Who will help with the less fortunate: Lions Club, Kiwanis, Food Pantry? No One.
You will be left with the entitled. Entitled Hampton.
Regarding the Airport
October 11, 2021
There is a critical decision soon to be made by the town board regarding the airport.
Close the airport to stop the ongoing air and ground pollution danger to thousands of residents on the entire East End. Our sole source of drinking water that lies beneath the airport has been endangered since the airport first opened. In a 10-year study conducted in California regarding 21 schools in close proximity to an airport, 17,000 tests revealed dangerous levels of lead in the blood samples.
Just off runway 17/34 there is a day school on Industrial Road exposing children and staff to the pollution and other schools as well. The vote is for who and what takes top priority?
The handful who create this assault on the health, safety, and quality of life of thousands who are directly affected should not be a deciding factor.
I often wonder about the number of illegal bathrooms that were installed in some hangars without building or heath department permits? My friend installed the sheetrock in several. One had illegal additions that had to be removed.
How and why is this lopsided imbalance even being considered, that would allow the pollution to continue?
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
Leading With Logic
October 11, 2021
Dear Mr. Rattray,
As you know, over 100 signs posted by members and supporters of the Coalition to Transform East Hampton Airport were stolen or defaced by . . . someone. Sad shit, to put it crudely. This criminal act was reported to the East Hampton Town police, East Hampton Town Code Enforcement, and the town board as well. I’m guessing it’s not easy to find a thief in a case like this.
The bigger issue, however, is how very disappointing it is to realize just how polarizing this matter has become — that of closing East Hampton Airport. And now, a political “hot potato,” as the old expression goes.
What a shame, all the fearmongering about what will or might happen if the airport were to close. A swarm of locusts will descend on Montauk! Loss of revenue to the town! The wealthiest among us will abandon their homes!
Most town officials have been reluctant to state their position clearly. After all, there’s an important local election coming in just a few weeks. However one council member, Jeffrey Bragman, has been willing to state his own position clearly, in his fairly detailed letter in last week’s issue of The Star. And it happens to mirror the exact same proposal I advanced in my own letter of Aug. 22: Close the airport to all commercial traffic for at least one year. (I believe he used the phrase “airport holiday” to characterize this pause in all air traffic.) Bravo, Mr. Bragman, for leading with logic rather than equivocation.
One year. It’s not a lifetime. It took three years to return to some level of “normal” from the Great Recession. Our local and national economy went into shock for over one year during the worst of the pandemic. The skies went silent for many weeks following 9/11. This idea, closing the airport for a year, is the most logical way to study the impact its closure will in fact have on air traffic to other small airports, impact on our local economy, relief to the thousands of residents affected by the incessant noise. And one year to solicit and study forward-looking proposals for those precious 600 acres of town property.
We’re with you, Montauk. You’re not going to be left out of any of these discussions or considerations. We simply need to move forward as an entire community with a better view to our collective future, and stop offering Band-Aids at political gatherings. This matter of closing the airport — it’s going to require much more than a tweak. Close the airport for one entire year. Then see what happens. Then make the next decision, with all the facts on the table. Not up in the air. And thanks again, Mr. Bragman, for taking a stand on the runway.
I’ll be on the bus,
October 11, 2021
Two questions with an easy answer:
What is better for East Hampton: A) Two airports for 1 percent of the people? or B) Two parks for 100 percent of us?
New Political Blood
October 9, 2021
To govern effectively it is important to have a cohesive team, otherwise nothing gets done. But governance by mindless rubber stamp is not the answer. That is what we have in East Hampton. The Democratic party has a stranglehold on our government. Too much power is in the hands of too few. We need change and a carefully thought-out infusion of new political blood in some places.
The town supervisor, Peter Van Scoyoc, tends to be ego-driven, rules the town board with an iron fist, and uses the bully pulpit to push his own agendas and those of certain groups he wishes to curry favor with, rather than looking to the needs of the community as a whole.
We had a chairwoman of the Democratic Party, Cate Rogers, now running for Councilwoman, who for personal political reasons decided that Rick Drew, a three-term trustee, should be denied a spot on the Democratic ticket. Never mind that Rick was enthusiastically endorsed by the Democrats in the three previous elections. This blatant abuse of power was rubber-stamped by the members of the committee. It is not the kind of leadership we need, nor the decision-making process deserving of our respect.
To their credit, the incumbent trustee board functions very differently. They listen with open minds to constituents, discuss issues publicly and in a civil manner, and have the ability to put aside personal agendas, even when it is very difficult, in order to come together and act for the greater good of East Hampton and the environment. That is an example to be followed. The eight incumbent trustees on the Democratic slate are deserving of our votes. Rick Drew, the ninth incumbent’s name, can be found on the Independence line.
Change is possible if we cast well-considered votes. The adage that an uninformed voter is a politician’s best friend, is true. We tend to vote robotically along strict party lines, or based on friendships, or just to make a protest statement. If instead we become informed and alter our voting habits, we can make a difference.
A vote for Jeff Bragman, for town supervisor, on the Independence Party ticket would be a vote for a thoughtful, experienced, open-minded, reasonable leader. As a councilman, he has a record of being there when the community needed him. He has never been a rubber stamp, always having courage to stand up to a bully and the determination to fight for what was best for East Hampton, not his own agenda. This is the sort of even-handed, nonpartisan leadership our town board needs.
When voting for town board candidates, think to diversify. A vote for Cate Rogers is a vote for the same old, same old. Consider instead George Aman, a Republican. He is intelligent and thoughtful and will focus on the big picture. He will be an experienced voice for education, having served as Superintendent of the Amagansett School District and president of the East Hampton School Board. He will also be very mindful of senior citizens’ issues. Consider John Whelan, running on the Independence Party ticket. He will be a willing team player, but not a rubber-stamp. His votes will be determined by taking all sides of an issue under careful consideration.
Rick Drew is running for a fourth term as trustee on the Independence and Working Families slates. His being passed over for a slot on the Democratic ticket stands as a disgrace for the Democratic Committee and an example of what is wrong with the way East Hampton is being run. Rick is a three-term incumbent trustee and has been a valuable asset to the board. He is hardworking, has a flawless attendance record, and has always contributed to discussions with well-thought-out suggestions backed by research and facts. Rick was instrumental in getting the town and trustees more money from the Deepwater Wind project. He is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of our waters and marine life. He has worked on projects to restore marine habitat. Rick has gained the respect of his fellow trustees, old and new.
The above are excellent alternatives to some of the establishment candidates. They deserve to be seriously considered for your vote. If elected, they will begin to make certain that East Hampton residents are more equally and fairly represented. I urge you to become an informed voter, not a robotic one. Avoid the temptation to be a one-issue voter, and refrain from wasting votes on candidates that are unqualified or those running merely to fill a space on the ballot.
Learns From Listening
October 11, 2021
In 2010, I bought my house in Springs. However, it took me all this time to finally register to vote locally. I thought about it throughout the years, but my decision was accelerated by devastating news, which I learned of from neighbors, who were equally outraged.
This summer, The East Hampton Star reported that the Town of East Hampton was going to erect a temporary “COW” tower for emergency use along with a permanent 185-foot-tall one to follow. This was happening two blocks away from my home in the Crandall Norfolk woodlands, and was all but a done deal. It was clear at this point that our town supervisor was not interested in transparency.
As a result of this news, I changed my voter registration from New York City to the local election after seeing how poorly the town board was at hearing my community’s issues with the proposed cellular tower — that is, with the exception of Jeff Bragman, who is the only one who showed empathy for our situation.
It was because of the news of the tower that I attended several in-person and Zoom town board work sessions, and I was not happy with what I saw or heard. Peter Van Scoyoc, along with his allies on the board, all attacked the only person in my opinion who really cares about what people have to say. I felt that Jeff Bragman was the only one listening to us, the people. While at the same time, Peter Van Scoyoc was acting like the schoolyard bully.
Mr. Van Scoyoc’s behavior was condescending. His style is clearly to lead by intimidation. While my experience with Jeff Bragman is that he listens and hears what people tell him from their personal experiences, which he knows is where the real truth lies. He learns from listening, as well as leading by doing the same.
Instead of having secret meetings with wealthy restaurant owners, as is Mr. Van Scoyoc’s style, Jeff Bragman chooses to act on each issue, by supporting the people. We see this by how he contacted the Girl Scouts at Camp Blue Bay when my community was desperately looking for solutions and alternatives.
The people of Wainscott were fortunate to have Jeff on their side when he accelerated solutions to the water crisis and helped ensure safe drinking water. He not only declared a health emergency, but he provided funds for an in-home water filtration system. This is true leadership.
So now we are less than a month away from voting, and as a resident of Springs, I am supporting Jeff Bragman for town supervisor, because his actions are clearly for the people of this town.
For John Whelan
October 8, 2021
I am supporting John Whelan for the position of town board, and encourage others to do so also. He has been appointed to positions for the town over several years. As a result he is savvy in political issues, and is known for his work ethic and character.
He has represented East Hampton Town on the Suffolk County Planning Commission for two years. He has been and is the East Hampton Zoning Board of Appeals chairman since 2014. His opposition in this race does not have anything like John’s resume.
As a working architect, he will want to create eco-friendly affordable housing for local families while being sensitive to the need to preserve our open spaces, protect our natural resources and aquifer, and promote green sustainability. John is running on the Independence line. You can vote for him on this line even if you are a Democrat!
That’s a Plan
October 11, 2021
Peter Van Scoyoc is promising Montauk that there will be no changes to East Hampton Airport that will have an effect on the Montauk air traffic flow. Yet, he won’t announce his plan. What he spews is political mumbo-jumbo, and his statement that a lot more studying of the airport is needed in order to fix the problem is just that. According to Peter, a typical solution to town problems is to do more studying, his safe way to not give a smart, thoughtful, definitive plan.
Peter said the same exact words to Wainscott years ago when their citizens advisory committee had a meeting about the Deepwater Wind turbines on Beach Lane. He stated at that time we needed to study the problem and he wouldn’t do anything until that study was done. And we all know that was a lie, because Peter went ahead and made the agreement without a thought of what he promised Wainscott.
Jeff Bragman seems to get the picture with a well-thought-out plan to a final decision: Have an air traffic holiday, temporarily close the airport for a year in order to regain local control. During that time, all jet, helicopter, and seaplane flights could be prohibited but allow private prop planes to continue to use the airport. An airport traffic holiday in order to evaluate the facts. That’s a plan!
Access to Springs
October 7, 2021
To the Editor:
I am writing to express my sincere thanks to Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and the Suffolk County Public Works Department for their work to improve the Springs Fireplace Corridor with the near completion of the new Springs-Fireplace Road (County Road 41).
With over three years of tirelessly having to put up with endless complaints about how dirty, how unsightly, and how badly the town had allowed the corridor to become, Kathee has guided efforts to clean it up. The new road improves the access to Springs immeasurably, with attractive curbing, a smooth surface, and, shortly, a bike lane north of Abraham’s Path.
Also, town enforcement has improved, with efforts to have new approved plans implemented. While still not perfect, dirt and mud drag-out from private commercial property owners has gotten better. One owner, thanks to efforts of the Springs C.A.C. and Kathee, has agreed voluntarily to improve the parking yard for its vehicles to prevent drag-out of mud and dirt, and we hope that other owners will follow its example.
Finally, the streetscape has improved, with the new rain swales north of Abraham’s Path and plans to plant wildflowers there.
Thank you, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, for listening and working to improve a very bad situation.
October 8, 2021
When we as citizens vote we are taking action in who will make decisions on our behalf which helps to make our democracy work. Kathee Burke-Gonzalez has proven to our community through her eight years of public service on the town board that she deserves our continued support and vote on Election Day.
Kathee has shown in the past that she gets things done. What I am most proud of is 1) Increased mental health services for adolescents; 2) Purchase of a seven-acre wooded lot in Amagansett for the new Senior Center; 3) Collaboration with Bridget Fleming on the reconstruction of Springs-Fireplace Road, connecting sidewalks from North Main Street to School Street; 4) Acting liaison to the Y.M.C.A., which benefits all members of the community enhancing programs like the lifeguard program, East Hampton Ocean Rescue; 4) Acting liaison to the food pantry, which delivered over 80,000 meals to seniors during Covid; 5) Supports not-for-profit groups like Project Most and the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, which greatly benefits the community; 6) Acting liaison to the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee.
Kathee is a born leader and has proven her loyalty and commitment to this town over the past eight years. For these reasons, I ask that you join me and vote for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez on Tuesday, Nov. 2, and help our town continue to grow and prosper under her continued leadership.
October 11, 2021
If you watch town board meetings, you will see that Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez always puts the needs of our town’s children, seniors, and families first. During her tenure on the town board she has increased access to mental health services for our youth struggling with anxiety and depression, expanded health and wellness programs for our seniors, and worked with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital on the citing of a new emergency medical center right here in East Hampton.
It was especially exciting to hear Kathee report last week that the town had closed on the expansive seven-acre property on Abraham’s Path in Amagansett, which is slated to be the site of the new senior center. The new location is spacious, quiet, and far superior to constructing the center on the current two-acre site on Springs-Fireplace Road with its close proximity to the commercial-industrial area. While the global pandemic may have slowed down the acquisition of the new senior center property, it was certainly worth the wait — as the new site lends itself to a much more natural and serene setting.
Time and time again, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez has demonstrated that she is a leader dedicated to the town’s children, seniors, and families, which is why I am proud to support Kathee for town board and I hope that she will receive your support as well.
On a personal note, I worked in financial services on Wall Street before retiring, and now I volunteer in an East Hampton High School business class. Kathee was the only parent who came to the class when we needed business mentors. That made a very strong impression on me!
Please vote for Kathee Burke-Gonzalez in the upcoming election. Early voting starts on Oct. 23 at Windmill Village.
Team of Three
October 11, 2021
To the Editor,
Not everyone subscribes to this newspaper. Not everyone who subscribes reads it, and not everyone who reads it makes it through all the letters to the editor. So, if you’ve made it here, please know you are one of a small subset of East Hampton citizens who are invested in this community.
And so because, in the same vein, not everyone who’s registered to vote in East Hampton votes in off-year elections, this fall it’s extremely important that you vote in the town election for supervisor and town board. Additionally, I’m asking that you take one step further by encouraging every qualified voter you know to get out and vote. Early voting starts Oct. 23, and Election Day is Nov. 2.
Nationally, political engagement may have lessened slightly since President Biden took office. Prior to that, many of us tuned in daily for the news, holding our breath and waiting for the next horrific reveal. But once the nation united to put a new team in place, it’s been easier for many of us to tune out a bit.
But locally, if we are not careful, the progress made by our current town supervisor and board could be halted, if not reversed. It’s common knowledge that the Town of East Hampton is a blue haven in a red county. The town Democratic committee has worked diligently to build voter rolls and to screen and support candidates who support a Democratic agenda that focuses on environmental protections, water quality, land preservation, beach access, support of local business, senior services, infrastructure and transportation, community health services, emergency communications, afford-able housing, equal opportunity, and too many other issues to mention.
I’m asking that you support the Democratic Party slate of Peter Van Scoyoc for supervisor and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and Cate Rogers for town board. This team of three — two incumbent board members and the past town Democratic committee chairwoman — has proved its ability to work cooperatively and respectfully.
In the upcoming supervisor’s race, Peter Van Scoyoc is up against both a Trump-supporting Republican and an Independence (not Independent) Party candidate seeking to split the Democratic vote. If the blue vote is split, we could wind up with an anti-vaxxer supervisor willing to undo the good work Peter and the board have done throughout the pandemic that resulted in East Hampton having the third-lowest rate of Covid infections of any town on Long Island.
First and foremost a leader must be able to work well with others, to build consensus and to sometimes compromise for the greater good. This is why we need Peter, because we’ve already seen that the “I, alone, can fix it” mantra is untenable in a democratic government.
Deputy Supervisor Kathee Burke-Gonzalez gives her all to the town through committee service and public outreach. Cate Rogers will bring her experience in town government and environmental activism to the job. But most importantly, Peter, Kathee, and Cate will build a cohesive, goal-oriented team to carry the town forward.
Please vote the Democratic line all the way.
VICKI LURIA BLATT
Printing Every Letter
October 8, 2021
I personally oppose Virginia Gibbs’s Sept. 30 suggestion that the Star “should rethink your policy of printing every letter you receive”. Although my own letters are never “ugly” or “bigoted” (like the one prompting her request), that might lead you to also stop publishing letters from “out-of-towners” like me — which would “deprive” (?) your readers of my Plainview point of view.
Even though, unlike Manny Vilar, whose Sept. 30 letter stated that he was “flooded with messages, texts, and phone calls after my letter in last week’s East Hampton Star,” I’ve never heard from a single Star reader, and wonder if any Star reader has ever read even one of my letters, much less appreciated my sense of humor, or agreed with my views about injustice?
I also wonder if Virginia Gibbs would consider Bea Derrico’s letter, which referred to both Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton with the (female) B-word, as “ugly, bigoted comments.” Personally, I don’t think the “God” Ms. Derrico signs off with would approve of her scurrilous characterizations. So I will refrain from referring to her favored President Trump with the other B-word.
Around and Around
October 10, 2021
President liar-in-commander Joe Biden’s popularity is falling faster than the leaves on the trees. Have you noticed, or are you just going to keep your head in the sand? Even the Democrats are waking up. How about the border czar? She’s in total hiding. Kamala Harris can’t find her way to the southern border, disappears from her own assignment, and thinks nothing of it. This woman is a total disgrace. She can’t even capitalize on the right time of day.
Can you believe during a wildfire-related visit to Boise, Idaho, Biden claims that his first job offer came from a local lumber and wood products company, but there is no record of being true. There goes Biden lying again. Every time he opens his mouth, lies rotate off the president’s tongue. In 2006 Republicans were in charge of all, just like the Dems are now, and, guess what, the Democrats voted against raising the debt ceiling, including then-Senator Joe Biden. Hypocrisy going around and around includes Schumer.
F.Y.I., Merrick Garland’s daughter is married to an employee of Mark Zuckerberg. Together, these two are pushing critical race theory in all grade schools. Wow, let that sink in
In God and country,
Level the Field
October 11, 2021
If one doesn’t favor either political party and objectively looks at the problems facing the country, there is a harsh reality about how our system works. The bipartisan infrastructure bill is a prime example.
The condition of our physical infrastructure, excluding social infrastructure, is at best dire. Not only are we facing a system that is substantially at present-day risk, but the speed of deterioration is rapidly increasing. If the current need is for $5 trillion in spending; in 10 years it could be $8 trillion.
In response to this problem the Congress passed a bill that spends $100 billion a year for 10 years and is almost ecstatic at the accomplishment. At the same time the Congress, with virtually no oversight, will pass bills totaling $14 trillion for national security. Gross domestic product will reach $288 trillion. The infrastructure bill will be about .3 percent of G.D.P. Objectively, this is pathetic.
Why do we have a Congress? What about our system makes it so corrosive and useless? (For an in-depth understanding of what has happened, someone turned me on to Kurt Anderson’s “Evil Geniuses,” which provides a clear, flawless explanation.)
Mitch McConnell didn’t blink on the debt ceiling; he always knew that it was pointless drivel and decided to have a moment’s sanity. What the infrastructure bill tells us about government is that the core beliefs of one-half of the government has three primary principles: The election was a fraud, Jan. 6 was irrelevant, and Donald Trump is Jesus with an asterisk. Infrastructure, immigration, health care, trade are on page three of the Republican priority agenda and are given little thought and no action.
It’s necessary to understand that in the daily challenges of our political elites there is a limit to how much they can deal with. By limiting their focus to three simple ideas, Republicans work within a functional comfort zone. Unfortunately, infrastructure doesn’t fit into that zone.
So, we don’t debate big government or small government, government as part of the solution or the problem, effective govern-ment for how big a constituency? Even in the middle of a pandemic, where people were dropping like flies and the economy was collapsing, one party resisted every action to provide relief and support. Even the infrastructure bill was too complicated so that all they could think about was the cost not the content,
So, historically we have always been cheapskates but not quite as unifocused. Not so obviously uninterested and ignorant of the issues. There is virtually no relevant substance to our political discourse. We are a mass of babbling idiots speaking in tongues.
What happened during the long period of Democratic dominance and the New Deal was that we abandoned the brutally quasi-human system of phony individualism and moved towards a system of collective conscious-ness. Government led the movement toward workers rights, paid vacations, health care, etc. Government worked more for the general well-being of the majority than it ever did in our history. Government was relevant.
We didn’t depend on government to give us a better way of life. We simply no longer had to struggle with government’s limiting our ability to live a decent life.
So, when we think of good government and hope for good government we are not asking for handouts or gratuities or entitlements. We are asking for the opportunity to deal on a level playing field that isn’t manipulated and scammed by our politicians and their cohorts. We are asking for a share of the massive wealth that has been siphoned off for 40 years.
If fake elections, protecting the Jan. 6 rioters, and sucking Donald Trump’s toes are your priorities then you have no place in our government. We are so intellectually and spiritually challenged that getting vaccinated during a pandemic is an issue, that any diversion from the task of improving people’s lives is an unacceptable disaster?