Skip to main content

Letters to the Editor for October 21, 2021

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 11:34

With Great Interest
Montauk
October 18, 2021

Dear David,

I read Joe Kovler’s letter (Oct. 14) with great interest. His question about the possible racist leanings of Carl Fisher is an important one, and needs to be fully addressed. As we know recorded history seldom covers all perspectives, leaving the stories of many untold, disregarded, or contrived to characterize them as less-than or not deserving. Our local history, from the encounter period on, demonstrates that the dominant culture prevails.

Joe’s question presents a challenge — a valid one. Regardless of the future of the Carl Fisher home, we owe it to ourselves to study the events that helped shape Montauk, and other East End towns and hamlets. As we’ve seen in research into the early days of Sylvester Manor, and the origins of Freetown, there are multiple layers and sundry personal narratives, all relevant and important, that contribute to such chronicles.

Though premature to suggest, I would enjoy the prospect of the Fisher site housing a study center devoted to telling local history from as many perspectives, colonial and indigenous, as were represented in our earliest settlements. While we’re at it, let’s include those new townsfolk who have recently found footing here as they try to build a new life. I’d love to hear their stories, as well.

Regards,

STEPHANIE KRUSA

President

Montauk Historical Society

 

Station Museum
Springs
October 14, 2021

Dear Editor,

I am writing to commend the Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station Museum located on Atlantic Avenue. My mother at 97, with my son and me, found that three generations could equally enjoy a tour of the beautifully restored building on the original location from 1902. Dennis Curles, assisted by Doug Haak, gave us a spirited tour with stories and photos of German spies and heroic saves.

My mother, Norma Edwards, was so inspired that she donated a box in her family that was made from the wood of the Circassian, a ship that wrecked on the night of Dec. 11, 1876, on a voyage from Liverpool to New York. Ten men from the Shinnecock Reservation on the salvage crew were lost that night. I can’t wait to hear Dennis Curles tell the full story on our next trip to the museum.

Don’t miss climbing the stairs to the top tower for an amazing view. It’s certainly worth a visit, and thanks to David Lys and all the others who made this preservation possible.

Sincerely,

SUE ELLEN O’CONNOR

 

Life on Hold
Amagansett
October 17, 2021

Dear David,

Much has been written about Covid-related landlord-tenant problems. The great majority of this has weighed heavily on the plight of tenants and there can’t be any doubt that many have been treated unfairly. Most discussion appears to assume that the landlords are all wealthy individuals or real estate funds.

There are exceptions, however, and I can cite one — a single mom — whose life has been put on hold by tenants on the sole property (that represents the bulk of her assets) who have remained far beyond the expiration of their lease (despite a lease that stated it would not be renewed), do not pay the contracted rent, and have hidden behind changing eviction laws that were put in place to shield renters in far less financial situations.

The single mom owner had hoped to use proceeds from the sale of her house to pay her mortgage, start a business, and save for her son’s education. Instead, she is subsidizing a couple who take advantage of changing laws and an overburdened court system. The owner has appealed to local politicians but received a response only from Lee Zeldin’s office. It’s difficult to know that things like this can occur in our area but they do.

Sincerely,

GERALD PANE

 

Embodied Love
Montauk
October 14, 2021

To the Editor:

I know the mails are slow, but I wonder what happened to the letter from the Archdiocese of Rockville Centre, purportedly mailed Sept. 22. If there were such a letter, surely the bishop would have responded to the phone calls and letters he received recently from the Passionist Provincial, the church trustees, and hundreds of parishioners who are stunned and dismayed. He did not. Maybe his phone was disconnected. After all, the diocese is bankrupt. The Passionist priests who are leaving would not have spent $50,000 to refurbish the rectory, had they received such a letter.

I am disgusted with the politics and deception of the church. Pope Francis has a hard road to travel, as he repeatedly emphasizes inclusiveness and honest communication. How rude of the bishop to have ignored all of us.

Why stay Catholic? Why not convert to another religion? Were I to do so, I would find the same love and care in those other religious communities that I find in my own. We share the same commandments as the Jewish religion. The imam I spoke to told the worshippers to take care of one another. The Sikhs feed thousands daily. Showing love and care for each other is the basis of all religions.

Father Edward and Father Bob embodied love. They welcomed all of us, broken as we may be. They emphasized God within every human. Their large following may have awakened someone’s “green monster.”

Father Bob and Father Edward would be the first to forgive.

VIVIENNE WILKINSON

 

Against More Traffic
East Hampton
October 13, 2021

Dear Mr. Editor,

Hope all is well. I enjoyed your article on Cerberus; please keep in mind a real yachtsman enjoys his maintenance just as much as the cruise. So, as Jen Psaki would say during one of her “Psaki dodges,” “let’s circle back” to the affordable housing quagmire for Three mile Harbor Road.

First and foremost for the left side, I am not a Nimby. I live two miles away. I am however, as stated previously, against any more traffic on Three Mile Harbor Road and very concerned for the health of Three Mile Harbor. According to The Star, this parcel has been on the list of the community preservation fund for nearly a decade and, rather most important, in a special groundwater protection area — hello? With all this coming to light how could a responsible government develop the parcels?

I know we have a need for affordable housing, but the neighborhood also has needs: quality of life and clean air and water. We are also obligated to care for and preserve the land. So the question arises as how do the needs of a few outweigh the needs of many? And yes, Miz Casey, traffic is of major concern, along with environmental concerns. A quick powwow with Suffolk County about a turning lane and a traffic light does not actually reduce traffic nor will it protect the watershed and Three Mile Harbor.

As the people rise up and speak (while we are still allowed to), you can see the concerns are all quality of life, not Nimby. Which brings me to the Zoom bullshit.

In case you haven’t taken note, Zoom is just a way for government to limit public input. Just check the goings-on in Southampton. I also read The Press. There are many ways to have a public meeting and keep people safe.

Your own editorials point the finger to overdevelopment, which calls for a building moratorium or pause. The overbuilding and overdevelopment are your root cause. Elections are on the horizon, let’s see if any current officials or those running for office have the nerve to call down the thunder.

Yours to command,

JEFFREY PLITT

 

Huge Project
East Hampton
October 18, 2021

To the Editor,

Every inhabitant of Springs (dead end) will be negatively impacted by the 50-home subdivision at 289-290 Three Mile Harbor Road and they do not know it yet. Over 7,000 people live in Springs, East Hampton: All will be negatively impacted.

The planning board decided more trees as a blind to certain homes will fix everything on Oct. 6; this week they will vote to approve.

Springs inhabitants can use Three Mile Harbor Road or Springs-Fireplace Road to traverse.

Covid-19 was raging, people were holding on for dear life, and the planning board pushed forward a huge project with no public scrutiny. Fewer than 20 people outside of Town Hall understand what the East Hampton planning board is doing. There are no urban planners in East Hampton, and that area of East Hampton is urban; it’s “the hood.”

We put up an information sign on Three Mile Harbor Road, it and 11 American flags were ripped from their mounts. Police did not follow up, nor did I get a response to my complaint to the captain of our losses.

A home was firebombed on Muir Boulevard in March 2020 when the owner was observed during a suspected heroin deal.  Violence is in the air.

“When the people fear their government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people there is liberty.” — Thomas Jefferson

CLAYTON MUNSEY

 

Hidden From the Public
(The) Springs
October 21, 2021

Dear David,

Recent and pending community preservation fund land acquisitions supported by a majority of the town board have signaled that the community preservation fund program monies are now available “for sale” to the richest neighbors of vacant land. Substantial public C.P.F. monies are being redirected to enable the richest among us to “preserve what’s left” of the land adjacent to their own homes that they do not want to be developed. It matters little to the board majority whether the sites they are targeting were objectively and professionally reviewed and selected by the town planners and the C.P.F. advisory board for prior inclusion in the statutorily required C.P.F. project plan. All that is required is for one or more deep-pocketed, politically well-connected neighbors of vacant land to be willing to “grease” the wheels of environmental salvation by offering to make a substantial “contribution” to enable the town to meet and exceed the price demands of the greediest of landowners.

Moreover, don’t bother wondering who are those individuals receiving excessive payment far above the town’s appraised land value, and those who receive dubious income tax write-offs for digging into their piggybanks solely to improve the value of their own land holdings. Those names will often be conveniently hidden from the public by the town’s refusal to comply with basic ethical norms and public information disclosure standards by identifying the members of limited liability companies involved and the names of the adjacent landowners, those whom the supervisor now gleefully refers to as members of the “general public” who are willing to participate in such “private-public partnerships.” However, these additional private “contributions” are not coming from any recognized charitable entity or from an outpouring of general public support by means of, say, a “Go Fund Me” webpage.

Watch carefully as the town board rapidly (within two weeks of the first public mention of this “deal”) moves toward holding public hearings on Oct. 21 to add these three small vacant building lots (#28, 30 & 32 Green Hollow Road) to the C.P.F. Project Plan and to acquire them. These lots are three of the four building lots created in a highly controversial 2005 open-space subdivision, one that “just happened to sneak by” the impending zone change recommended by the 2005 Comp Plan.

The Subject Property totals 1.92 acres and the proposed purchase price is $6,845,000, or $3.57 million per acre. Unidentified, self-interested neighbors are willing to kick in $2,645,000 to make this “non-starter” a reality. And the town is using the pretext that preserving this small, isolated tract will “create a scenic and nostalgic view shed across [town owned] farmland.” Just drive along Buckskill Road and see for yourself if there is any nostalgic view of farmland through the 50 or 60 feet of thick vegetation along the road verge and the newly erected eight-foot-tall agricultural fence. Moreover, “the horse is already out of the barn,” as there already is one new, nearly finished McMansion at 26 Green Hollow Road. However, I assume when its rear landscape buffer is installed you probably will not see it from the other side of the farmland in any event.

Meanwhile just down the road, at 11 Green Hollow Road, there appears to have been a massive unlawful clear-cutting of many acres of fully wooded land that straddles the town-village border, prior to the issuance of any town clearing or building permit. Did the town even notice, or was it too busy cooking up outrageous C.P.F. deals for the high and mighty?

DAVID BUDA

 

Just Too Dangerous
East Hampton Village
October 16, 2021

To the Editor,

We are writing as property owners at 26 Toilsome Lane to express our deep concerns about the proposed 7,465-square-foot brewery at 17 Toilsome Lane. We strongly object for the following reasons:

As you know, Toilsome Lane is already a high traffic area with a dangerous curve existing at exactly the same spot as traffic will exit from the restaurant-brewery. This makes no sense. We have already experienced tragic accidents on dangerous curves after drinking and parties at night where auto and pedestrian traffic exist. This is just too dangerous a spot and we know it.

The plan as presented includes a beer garden in the back of the project. For clarity, this is not a garden, it is a party area, which by tradition involves loud crowds and live music. Is this environment appropriate across from a pre-existing residential townhouse community that values and deserves privacy, safety, and a peaceful life there — or that already deals every day with traffic problems getting in and out of their home onto the public street?

The project of a beer garden, brewery, and restaurant states it will seat 140 but plans for 63 parking spaces. They must expect a lot of people to make this venture work. With offering music and a brewery, the proposed parking is not enough. As a result, people will park in other existing commercial spaces, the bank or public space, and walk to the brewery. Or they might invade the private parking at the townhouses. Nighttime pedestrians in this area, as noted, is a real problem we have to honestly recognize.

The second floor of the proposed building is planned as a restaurant and tasting area. The village board has recently discussed the potential for loud disturbances at night from second floor decks in a residential area. This petition raises multiple levels of potential noise and bright lights that are totally inappropriate.

The petition clearly states the outdoor restaurant and beer garden are an important part of the plan. This is actually a beer garden restaurant with live music posing as a brewery. When have we ever allowed such a venture in the village? This would set a very dangerous precedent.

The positioning of this plan should be recognized for what it is because the village code specifically states that a restaurant should not include a tavern. A brewery with a tasting and selling area sounds like a tavern to me.

As if all these objections should not be enough, the application should be denied as a matter of law. The village made the unfortunate error in saying that the “light manufacturing” definition should apply, and the project is an “obvious use” for the property. With all respect, the code does not mention breweries and it has never been interpreted this way in the past, as far as I could find. Nor were breweries considered during its history. Jumping to this conclusion without the support of fact, history, or full discussion is just wrong. Do we want to write laws and grant permits on one person’s opinion, where the matter is not clear, without public discussion?

Also, as recently noted by a prominent attorney involved in this matter, federal guidelines state that breweries are not a manufacturing use. Shouldn’t that fact matter in this case?

This village is a special place that we all are trying to make better. It is a beautiful and historic place to live. I appreciate the importance of a vibrant commercial part of our village. We want that. Let’s be absolutely sure that, in granting approvals, we do not allow permits that disrupt residential areas, create dangerous conditions, set a precedent for second floor restaurants, pose potential violations of noise and light regulations, and may be in violation of our present code as written.

Let’s join together to demand a full community discussion and consideration of the many negative aspects of this project.

Thank you,

MIKE and SANDY MCMANUS

 

Held Accountable
East Hampton Village
October 17, 2021

Dear Editors,

As a resident of the Village Towne Houses of East Hampton, on Toilsome and Gingerbread Lanes, I am writing to express my concerns about the proposed tavern to be located on the bend of road near the intersection of Toilsome and Gingerbread Lanes.

My concern stems from the fact that this would be an establishment where as many as 1,000 people could be assembled for an event, loud music will be played, traffic will increase dramatically in an already congested area, patrons will be perilously walking along the roadway late at night where there are no sidewalks, and cars will be cutting through our peaceful complex (the Village Towne Houses) to avoid traffic.

I am not against progress, in fact, I welcome it if it is well-planned and has a positive impact. The presence of Fresno Restaurant and Dopo La Spiaggia in our neighborhood is very positive, but both are on side streets and they are not taverns drawing the kind of crowd that this establishment would attract.

I ask that the party filing this application should, at the very least, be held accountable and that an environmental impact study should be completed before simply forging ahead. I sincerely hope that enough of the residents in this area will express their concerns now and not wait until it is too late. This could change life as we know it in a very special corner of the village. We need to proceed with our eyes wide open!

Thank you for printing this letter.

Sincerely,

DANIEL J. ROBINSON

 

Disgusted and Saddened
Brooklyn
October 15, 2021

To the Editor,

I worked for and with Jack Larsen for 35 years — exactly half my life — as his executive assistant during the Larsen Inc. years, world travels, and numerous books, and as personal assistant during his consultancy following the sale of his company. Over the most recent few years, as his once vast amount of correspondence decreased and his writings slowed, he never officially “retired,” and our employer-employee relationship morphed into a true and lovely friendship. My respect and admiration were solid, and this was one of my most treasured and enlightening relationships.

I was there when construction began on LongHouse, and through the design and development of the gardens. I marveled at his vision and creativity. I was there when Matko was hired, and we developed a very good and mutually beneficial relationship. Now, having read the recent article in The East Hampton Star, I feel both disgusted and saddened at what’s transpiring around Jack’s creation, mere months after his passing.

I don’t know the current board members nor their motivations. But the fact the Matko was unceremoniously fired is shocking and outrageous considering his hard and loyal work for the foundation over all these years; I know how much Jack cared for and respected him. Why is such an abrupt “change in direction” so necessary at this time?

It was my desire to continue visits to LongHouse and to proudly share it with friends and family. Hearing these new developments, I probably won’t ever return.

CRYSTAL COOPER

 

A Strategic Plan
Manhattan
October 16, 2021

To the Editor,

Our recent silence regarding the change in leadership at LongHouse was meant to be respectful to a private situation.

The board of LongHouse and its former executive director, Matko Tomicic, agreed to part ways in September. As a result of our strategic planning process, which began in early 2020, after careful deliberation the board concluded that this new chapter of LongHouse required new leadership. The board commends Matko Tomicic for his years of service and is grateful for his many meaningful contributions.

To respect the privacy of all parties, we do not intend to discuss the board’s decision or the details of the separation. We greatly appreciate the positive impact Matko made during his time at LongHouse.

As an institution, we continue to grieve the loss of our founder, Jack Lenor Larsen. Before his passing, we had numerous conversations with Jack on his vision for the future of the organization when he was no longer here. At this time, we feel it appropriate to share a memorandum from him, dated Nov. 3, 2020, placing the responsibility of LongHouse in the hands of the board:

“In light of my recent medical issues, I have given great thought and consideration to the distribution of my estate after my death. The LongHouse Reserve is my legacy, and its continued success is of vital importance to me. I have been fortunate to have surrounded myself with such wonderful and passionate board members who have carried on my vision for LongHouse. Peter [Olsen, Jack’s partner of 34 years] has also been an integral part of my life, not only on a personal level but also on a professional level with his commitment to and involvement with LongHouse. It has always been my intent that both LongHouse and Peter share in my estate after my death with LongHouse receiving a majority of my estate.”

Beginning in early 2020, with Jack’s encouragement and support, the board commissioned a strategic plan. Jack emphasized that LongHouse should not be preserved as a static object. He told the board numerous times that LongHouse should continually evolve after his passing to ensure its relevance. Experiencing its extensive collections of natural and cultivated species in conversation with art and living spaces, over time and with seasonal changes, is what makes LongHouse unique.

This strategic plan embraces continuity by preserving Jack’s vision while expanding LongHouse’s role across the three key pillars of what LongHouse is about: land, place, and spirit. Priorities include investments in the garden, the conversion of the house to a public space, furthering our commitment to inclusive programming, with a comprehensive plan for financial growth and investment in our staff to support these initiatives. Below is a high-level summary of our first priorities.

•Investments in the gardens spanning additional annual and perennial plantings and labeling, as well as restoration of select gardens and the pond. Environmental stewardship with a focus on sustainable and ecologically sensitive approaches to programming; land management; invasive species management and removal; the treatment of plant disease through the least toxic means possible; and enhanced hard and soft-scaping to accommodate higher attendance and enable increased grounds servicing.

•The conversion of the house to a public space. Inspired by the seventh-century Japanese shrine at Ise, Larsen’s former residence, 13,000 square feet on four levels will be transformed into a house museum with dedicated exhibition and educational space including public access to Jack Lenor Larsen’s permanent collection. It will be the foundation for a discussion of the self and our surroundings — human shelter and design — and how that evolves into a sense of place.

•Furthering our commitment to inclusion and diversity. LongHouse promotes dignity, equality, and diversity through its programs. In implementing the strategic plan, LongHouse intends to pursue opportunities for diversity and inclusiveness in exhibitions, programming, residencies, and fellowships.

•Financial growth and investment in our staff. As LongHouse embarks on this next chapter, we recognize the need for additional resources to support our evolution. Through new development initiatives and public programming, we have put together a comprehensive plan to build our capacity.

LongHouse Reserve is committed to realizing our founder’s vision for the future of the institution. One of Jack’s most important principles was to continually evolve. In that spirit, we look optimistically to the future while paying tribute to our past. LongHouse values the priorities of all members of our community, including our staff, board, donors, and visitors.

We thank you for your continued support of LongHouse and we hope we will have the opportunity to welcome you to our gardens this autumn.

DIANNE BENSON

NINA GILLMAN

Co-presidents

Board of Trustees of LongHouse Reserve

The above letter was submitted on behalf of Ms. Benson and Ms. Gillman by Jonathan Marder and Company, a Manhattan public relations firm. Ed.

 

True to Jack’s Vision
East Hampton Village
October 16, 2021

To the Editor,

The board of trustees of LongHouse Reserve decided in its wisdom to take one of the country’s most admired gardens “in a new direction.” Jack Lenor Larsen has not been dead a year.

Jack dedicated the last three decades of his life to creating a work of art on a derelict piece of property on the East End of Long Island. His vision transformed it: clearing land, planting specimens, building a home reminiscent of the Shinto shrines he saw in his travels, digging holes for countless daffodils, creating his red garden, a stunning pond, a natural amphitheater, installing sculpture, pathways, vistas — not only for his own enjoyment, but for the public’s. He used his life’s work as a model for his greatest and final tapestry, LongHouse, for families and lovers, old and young, first-timers and returning visitors. He filled it with sculpture and collected indigenous crafts. Perhaps, someday, his home would become a museum. That was his dream, too.

I was a corporate sponsor at LongHouse for years. My husband, Angie, built the LongHouse Reserve office that stands adjacent to the house. That’s where Jack’s dream came to life.

For almost 30 years, Matko Tomicic, the executive director of LongHouse, “lived” in that office. No one, other than he, has the dedication, breadth of knowledge, experience, or fortitude to ensure Jack’s plan is implemented. He held fast, always remaining true to Jack’s vision. Over the years his interactions with gardeners, sculptors, artists of all kinds, donors, the town hierarchy, and countless visitors, enabled Jack’s showplace to shine. I know: I watched it grow since the beginning.

Is Matko perfect? Certainly not. Can the LongHouse world succeed seamlessly and without challenges? Impossible. Just like a family, LongHouse became. Matko took his job to heart having wide-ranging, visionary conversations with Jack, his beloved friend and mentor. Jack made it perfectly clear how he wanted things done while he lived and how he wanted things to continue when he died. Jack placed full faith in Matko and could rest easy, knowing that his legacy would continue as he wished.

Enter the board of trustees. Thinking the big thoughts, they left the day-to-day operations, the minutiae, the operational behind-the-scenes work to the dedicated office staff under Matko’s leadership.

What is the board’s job? In a nutshell, to hold in trust Jack’s wishes, not their wishes, to ensure that his vision is realized, not their vision. Yet, in less than a year, the board in its wisdom decided to take Jack’s beloved legacy “in a new direction.” Really? What might that be?

Has there been backlash? You bet there has been. Why wouldn’t there be? The LongHouse community is flabbergasted.

No one is indispensable, but Matko’s departure didn’t have to be this way. Something had to trigger it. It certainly wasn’t his work ethic or knowledge or loyalty or community/artist/horticultural outreach. It wasn’t his relationship with his long-term staff. A part-time board can’t fill his shoes. Nor can a well-credentialed replacement do it instantaneously with no knowledge of LongHouse.

The gardens will soon close for the season. That’s when the real work gets done. An arrogant board, knowing that Matko put into place an excellent, dedicated team, will work that team doubly hard to continue to present LongHouse in its best light. A figurehead will lead them. Not the person Jack wanted. Not the person Jack trusted. Not the person who dedicated 25-plus years intimately aware of how LongHouse operated. But things just won’t be the same.

A new direction? The wealth of knowledge in Matko’s head is irreplaceable. We’re dealing henceforth with revisionist history as the dream dies. The institutional memory of LongHouse is gone. Doubly gone. Abruptly gone. In less than a year. Didn’t take long.

The board did wrong. Admit it. Move out and move on.

Thank you,

PATTIE ROMANZI

 

Unsung Heroes
East Hampton
October 18, 2021

Mr. Rattray:

Here’s to the unsung heroes of LongHouse, the longtime staff who absorbed the high ideals based on Jack Lenor Larsen’s superlative eye and world-renowned design career. It is this small staff who have maintained the garden and house through all these years and now through the difficult pandemic and Jack’s final illness and death. Plants do not take a hiatus during bad times, so the staff had to work as hard as ever so that it could be there for us when the grounds reopened.

Thank you, Bonifacio Rojas, for all your hard labor, both in the garden and in the house. You have been with Jack since the very beginning, LongHouse’s longest employee, signifying that Jack had absolute faith in your being able to accomplish whatever he asked of you, including things well beyond work in the garden, such as building many of its structures and completing projects in his house. Thank you, Wendy, Karen, Florencia, Josue, and all those behind the scene whom I have yet to meet.

And then there is Matko Tomicic. There cannot be praise enough for the person who lived and breathed LongHouse since joining during its earliest years, bringing Mr. Larsen’s dream to reality, working side by side with him, and unifying the small staff toward one goal. Yet his thank-you from this board, a completely uncalled for and cruel firing, an unforgivable act, will forever be a stain on its reputation, credibility, and judgment, and demonstrating a complete lack of character. Shame on you!

And thank you, Alex Feleppa, the former horticulturist at LongHouse, with whom I had the pleasure of taking several garden tours (I particularly enjoyed the off-season one where the concentration was on the magnificent trees, so often overlooked). His huge display of energy, knowledge, and enthusiasm was inspiring. Now, words from his letter resigning from the landscape committee due to the current misdirection from this board need repeating: “. . . a local sanctuary and cultural center is turning into a cold institution driven by ego, status, and self-praise.” Amen.

Let’s make our voices heard. Save East Hampton’s treasure. Save Jack’s LongHouse!

CARLA ASH

 

Set the Tone
Springs
October 12, 2021

Dear Sir,

After 26 years of unwavering dedication, LongHouse Reserve has lost its biggest supporter, its former executive director, Matko Tomicic. Without warning, without cause, he was dismissed. The board letter to the local papers stated that Matko “stepped down.”

No.

Wrong.

Matko was thrown out.

The LongHouse Reserve community received a shocking notice: A new interim director was appointed in his stead. The unceremonious, insensitive, unfortunate, downright ridiculous removal of Matko Tomicic by the LongHouse board of trustees cannot be summarily dismissed.

Having served on that board for a number of years and authored its thrice-annual publication, “News and Views” for almost a decade, I was intimately aware of the comings and goings at LongHouse. Jack would often pop in. Artists and donors, community leaders, and members passed through an open door. Those working and walking the grounds and the office staff intermingled seamlessly with everyone, regardless of hierarchy or position. Why? It was LongHouse.

Matko set the tone. All were family. Each was made to feel valued and necessary, because they were treated with knowledge that bespeaks care. Matko knew them, had time for them, spoke to them about their interests, their families, their love of LongHouse. He welcomed them unconditionally and knew them by name.

Matko’s knowledge of LongHouse and its overlapping focuses are encyclopedic. Under Matko’s leadership and with a dedicated staff, LongHouse evolved over time, from a sleepy garden on Hand’s Creek Road to a recognized masterpiece known the world over. That was Jack’s vision; that was Matko’s achievement. It revolved around trust and competence and, dare I say, love.

This debacle by the LongHouse Reserve board is reminiscent of the children’s story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” or of a shiny, red apple, ready for the tasting but rotten at its core — perfect metaphors for a board acutely unaware of the intensely complicated, intricate, multifaceted responsibilities Matko held; but a board acutely aware of its own self-importance emboldened by their vision, not Jack’s.

This shocking, unceremonious, unjustified dismissal of its executive director has not been well received by anyone but that board — why?

Jack and Matko epitomized LongHouse, its essence, its heart, its soul. Now, both are gone.

The cavalier, dismissive attitude of the board should not go unnoticed or unheeded. The resolution is twofold: the resignation of the board of trustees and the reinstatement of Matko Tomicic as executive director. Onward.

Very truly yours,

MARY BLAKE

 

Rebuild Trust
North Haven
October 15, 2021

Dear David:

“Play it by Trust,” a conceptual art piece by Yoko Ono, is an all-white interactive chessboard that functions as a metaphor for the futility of war. A large edition has been on permanent loan in the LongHouse Reserve gardens for many years.

This conceptual art piece, for me, emphasizes the importance of trust by removing the symbolic colors of the usual opposing sides and territories. I have revisited this piece over many years, and am often asked what it means. Visitors zero in on it, including children, who often attempt to play with it. There is an obvious mystery and attraction to it.

It delivers the message that trust is far more important than actually winning a battle by defeating an obvious opponent. Stripped of labels and colors, peace and progress can flourish, rather than destruction.

The art gardens at LongHouse Reserve, envisioned by Jack Lenor Larsen, have always been a safe sanctuary and a respite from the confrontation of everyday life, an environment of natural beauty and thoughtful art.

This concept of trust also speaks to the relationship between Jack, the founder, and the entire staff headed by Matko Tomicic. Their 26-year relationship allowed LongHouse Reserve to develop into the world-class destination it currently is. A cooperative and thoughtful board, together with many generous donors who trusted one another, added power to further this wonderful place along. Today, I fear that trust has been broken.

This most prominent artistic symbol of peace that resides in the middle of the property has been violated.

What a crying shame and a profound disappointment to the meaning of Yoko’s permanent loan. Can the trust be regained? What remains now is the need to rebuild that trust, rather than an expected confrontation, as would be with each piece on a conventional chess game board.

LongHouse is experiencing a broken trust within its own ranks and with its public donors and beneficiaries.

Shortly after the death of its creator, mentor, and guiding force, the board imposed a sea change in staffing and direction without warning or consultation. The trust that had been the foundation of LongHouse Reserve was shattered suddenly. It is difficult to imagine how this can ever be re-established — but we must try.

“Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.” That old English nursery rhyme may say it all.

ANTHONY CORON

 

Been Upended
East Hampton
October 18, 2021

To the Editor,

As a supporter, next-door neighbor, and friend of Jack Larsen and LongHouse, I am appalled at the firing of Matko Tomicic as executive director. Jack and Matko worked so hard during the past 26 years to make LongHouse the beloved institution it is today. What has been a well-run and managed entity for all these years is now in chaos because of an ill-advised decision by the current board.

As a result of this decision, this institution’s economic and community support has been upended. I am particularly critical of Dianne Benson, who has apparently supported this decision.

I call on others in this community who share this view to support reshuffling the current board to more accurately represent those of us who oppose this decision and to demand the immediate rehiring of Matko Tomicic so as to ensure the continued viability of LongHouse as Jack would have wanted.

RICHARD B. EMANUEL, M.D.

 

Incomprehensible
Springs
October 13, 2021

To the Editor,

There is no question that the LongHouse Reserve is an amazing gem in our community, weaving art and nature seamlessly as if it simply happens. Jack Larsen had a vision that he cultivated with an iron hand and grace.

Jack did not do this alone. His staff, all dedicated to the amazing space and experience they provide our community, has had Matko Tomicic as the steward leading them in Jack’s chosen direction with a steady hand and a solid connection to the public.

It has just come to my attention that the LongHouse has chosen to replace Matko. I am a firm believer that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, so I cannot imagine for one minute that this action has anything to do with his performance. Perhaps there were differences of opinion, I don’t know, but that’s how work and families move forward. Today, when people are refusing to work because the world is in a tailspin, to replace a loyal, effective, enthusiastic director for no apparent reason seems to me to be, well, incomprehensible.

I know none of the players — not even Matko all that well — though he has always been gracious with the literally hundreds of visitors I have sent over the years from the various inns where I have worked.

I have no reason to believe that Carrie Rebora Barratt will not do a fine job; after all, she will be supported by the incredible staff who have honed their facility under Matko’s guidance.

But the question is why. At a time of such great personal, financial, emotional insecurity on the heels of a pandemic that has shattered many foundations; at a time when society has shifted from working across the aisles to building divisive fences, how can an institution created on the unity of space, nature, art, and peace possibly think it not questionable to oust a man clearly dedicated to his work — having performed irreproachably in helping create the institution.

In a time when we need to pull together and treat others as we ourselves would want to be treated, this decision by the LongHouse board leaves me wondering just what really their agenda is. If it smells of nepotism, if it reeks of politics; if it looks like someone’s tossing decency out to accommodate personal desire — all I can say is rethink it, folks. It just doesn’t look good. Doing the right thing shouldn’t be so hard.

Thank you.

RANDYE LORDON

 

By Larsen’s Side
Nashville
October 15, 2021

To the Editor:

Weeks have gone by since the “family” of LongHouse Reserve supporters and friends learned of the shocking way in which the dedicated and longstanding director, Matko Tomicic, was dismissed in an incomprehensibly rude and cruel way by its board of trustees. It would have made the recently deceased Jack Lenor Larsen boil.

For 26 years, Matko Tomicic worked by Larsen’s side carrying out the wishes of this world-renowned designer of textiles who applied the same sure eye to the design of his East Hampton garden. Matko understands the humanitarian values and aesthetic that he was charged with fulfilling and he was dedicated to carrying it on. If there is any doubt what they were, Larsen put them down in his book, “Learning from LongHouse.”

For those of us who took visitors there for decades and went on our own when a peaceful refuge of great beauty called to us, the continuation of what was there as a gift to the community and region is the only option that makes sense and who could possible carry out the vision better than Matko Tomicic, who worked side by side with Jack Lenor Larsen for so many years?

These days, when civic harmony and trust in our institutions is in short supply, when we look for stable values and for the creative spirits who will be the safe keepers of our future, the board of trustees’ callous shredding of the founder’s intent when the LongHouse gardens and house were given to the community, should be resisted.

ANNE ROOS

 

Abuse of Process
Wainscott
October 11, 2021

Dear Mr. Rattray:

There is a popular misconception that South Fork Wind has been subject to a rigorous review by the Public Service Commission. There has been no such rigorous review.

In the two and a half years from when South Fork Wind filed its Article VII application (on Sept. 14, 2018) to when the P.S.C. certified its proposal (on March 18, 2021), my experience has left me with an impression best described as a farce.

Here are a few examples. The presiding officer would not allow parties participating in the proceeding to raise the subject of the price that ratepayers would have to pay for South Fork Wind’s electricity. Astonishingly, the P.S.C. prohibited parties from raising issues related to the South Fork Wind Farm (the actual wind farm is to be built in federal waters and is outside New York State jurisdiction).

The administrative law judge found the subject of whether South Fork Wind could reliably provide electricity in summer to be out of scope. The fact that South Fork Wind’s electricity depends on the intermittent nature of the wind, too, was not relevant.

The administrative judge would not allow test results for soil and groundwater contamination taken from South Fork Wind’s proposed construction corridor into evidence. Whereas, when South Fork Wind provided false information on contamination, it was allowed into the record and never corrected. When evidence was introduced into the proceeding establishing that the procurement process was manipulated to favor South Fork Wind, the presiding officer refused to admit such evidence into the record.

I submitted over 15,000 pages of evidence in the P.S.C. proceeding, mainly from federal and New York State agencies. However, the judge struck from the record more than 13,000 pages of evidence. Before now, I have never witnessed such flagrant abuse of process.

The illegality of the Public Service Commission is the subject of two legal challenges filed in the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Second Department, Simon V. Kinsella et al. v. N.Y.S. Public Service Commission et al. (index number 006572/2021), and Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, Inc. et al. v. N.Y.S. Public Service Commission et al. (index number 006582/2021). The petitions are available for download at oswsouthfork.info.

Sincerely yours,

SI KINSELLA

 

Not Just an Echo
East Hampton
October 18, 2021

Dear David:

I’d like to take this opportunity to endorse Willy Wolter for East Hampton Town trustee in the upcoming elections.

The current trustee board, as you and your readers know, is dominated by one political party. As such, I believe that can lead to group-think and what, when I was a manager, we used to call the “echo chamber effect.” This is where no different ideas get expressed for discussion as no one wants to take that lead responsibility or look like they are going against the team. Thus, everything — including the smallest details — just gets moved along with a rubber stamp and a head nod. This will not happen with Mr. Wolter as a trustee.

Mr. Wolter, a former manager and business owner as well as a Vietnam-era veteran, has over 30 years of living here and frequently goes fishing, both deep sea and line casting, and extensively uses our beaches. He is well aware of the issues facing our coastline, those who fish our waters and/or want to use our beautiful beaches. As a fellow member of the EECO Farm board, I can attest to Willy’s attention to detail and a strong desire to help out.

If we want a voice (and not just an echo) on the trustee board then give a nod to Willy for one of those nine positions.

Thanks for your attention.

Regards,

DON CIRILLO

 

Outstanding Job
Wainscott
October 18, 2021

Dear David,

I am writing to encourage all who care about the health of the town’s water bodies to vote to re-elect the eight town trustees endorsed by the Democratic Party: Francis Bock, Bill Taylor, John Alred, Susan McGraw Keber, Mike Martinson, Tim Garneau, Ben Dollinger, and Jim Grimes, plus David Cataletto for the ninth spot.

The eight current trustees have done an outstanding job over the past two years and longer. They have defended public access to our beaches and have worked closely with Stony Brook University’s Chris Gobler to monitor water quality in our harbors, ponds, and lakes. They played an important and independent role in negotiating the community host agreement with South Fork Wind Farm, from the critical perspective of protecting the town’s water bodies.

As a resident on Georgica Pond, I applaud the stellar work Jim Grimes, Bill Taylor, and Ben Dollinger have done to obtain approval of a 10-year maintenance plan by the State Department of Environmental Conservation, no small feat. Jim, Ben, and Bill oversee letting the pond and dredging the gut, both crucial efforts to mitigate the effects of excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the pond.

I was among the many who attended the trustees’ annual clam contest that was enthusiastically overseen this year by Susan McGraw Keber. The event, which highlighted the culinary delights of our town, demonstrated just how dedicated the trustees are to outreach to the entire East Hampton community. They deserve our thanks and full support in the coming election.

ANNIE HALL

 

Just Begun to Dream
Southampton
October 17, 2021

Dear Editor,

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Four years ago, when Susan McGraw Keber showed up at an Eastern Long Island Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation beach cleanup in Montauk on Black Friday with her bucket and gloves, prepared to do her part for the marine environment in her role as an East Hampton Town trustee, little did she know that day would carry her as an ambassador for a balloon ban to the town, county, and state level over the course of time.

Balloons may be what she is best known for, but Susan has countless accomplishments during her two terms as an East Hampton Town trustee. Some might call her unstoppable, for she has endless energy which she laser-focuses on whatever project she initiates or undertakes. She researches and educates herself, reaches out to collaborate with others, and does not take no for an answer.

Hopefully you and your family enjoyed yourselves at this year’s East Hampton Town Trustee’s Biggest Clam Contest, which under Susan’s guidance was elevated to new levels of festivity. She is not all fun and games, however. A committee consisting of Susan, Jim Grimes, and Bill Taylor was recently successful at passage at the state level of the staggering of terms for the East Hampton trustees, a long-overdue action.

As fellow trustees, and community oyster gardening partners, I consider myself exceptionally fortunate and honored to count Susan as a friend and colleague. We spend much time discussing the similarities and differences between the East Hampton and Southampton Town Trustees, and the multitude of challenges that are facing both historic boards.

Please vote to re-elect Susan McGraw Keber to the East Hampton Town Board of Trustees on Nov. 2, or during early voting, which begins Saturday.

Susan has only just begun to dream.

Sincerely,

ANN E. WELKER

 

Climate Dumb
Springs
October 17, 2021

Dear David,

East Hampton is designated as a Climate-Smart Community by New York State. It has pledged to go fossil-fuel free by 2030. That includes transportation. So I was dismayed when I read in The Star that the town board is hinting on keeping the airport open, with some as-yet-undetermined “restrictions.”

Less than 1 percent of town traffic comes from the airport, but it directly produces 6 percent of our town’s carbon emissions. (There are a lot of emissions of other deadly toxins, like lead and “forever chemicals,” but that’s a topic for another letter to the editor.)

That may not seem like much. But it’s only one of the ways that the airport dumbs down our town’s climate smarts. Another is the giant carbon footprint of the aircraft themselves, constantly coming and going from the airport. A third is the opportunity cost of not being able to use the 600-acre town-owned property for alternative projects that would boost our community’s climate resilience: for example, community solar, battery storage, and a microgrid.

While we’re at it, the town should buy Montauk Airport. Whether repurposed as a park or as a site for more resilience infrastructure (or both), the purchase would overcome the divide-and-conquer tactics of the deep-pocketed 1 percent who are trying to keep East Hampton Airport open.

With his opposition to wind power, Jeff Bragman has not been a climate hero in my book. But so far, he’s the only one of the candidates who has called for closing the airport (albeit temporarily). It’s time for the other candidates to step up to protect our “climate-smart” community.

FRANCESCA RHEANNON

 

Environmental Activism
Amagansett
October 18, 2021

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Though I’m not a frequent visitor to Guild Hall, I did find myself inside the beautiful theater on three occasions in the past week. Mary had bought tickets to two films that were in the festival. One was a foreign language film (I will not reveal the language) that was so slow moving, I began nodding off several times — difficult to believe since I have sleep issues to begin with. The other film was a documentary, “Storm Lake,” about a family-owned newspaper in a small Iowa town, its struggles in this economic environment — hostile to print publications everywhere — and its importance to the community it covers. It’s a brilliant film, directed by Jerry Risius and Beth Levison. I was thrilled to have seen this thing and must say, you did a fine job moderating the Q. and A. with Ms. Levison afterward, Mr. Rattray, so congratulations on that. (I still want a Star T-shirt — get on it, for God’s sake!)

The other occasion for being at Guild Hall was this past Sunday’s celebration of the life of Nancy Nagle Kelley, who passed away in August. It was an emotionally charged and humbling experience to sit in this packed theater, listening to stories and testimony from her family members, friends, and colleagues. Of her indefatigable spirit, drive, warmth, and humor as both devoted wife and mother and conservation activist.

She was indeed an activist of the highest order. As president of the Nature Conservancy’s Long Island Chapter for 20 years, Nancy was responsible for raising tens of millions of dollars and preserving thousands of acres of precious open spaces and marine habitats, a legacy that every one of us will continue to enjoy till death do us part, whether we knew the name Nancy Nagle Kelley or not.

I don’t think I’d ever been so moved by a “celebration” such as this, Mr. Rattray. And I exited Guild Hall asking myself, “What the hell have I done to improve the world around me? I better step it up. Do more. Give more.” (Check back on me in six months. We’ll see if I meant it.)

At the reception afterward in the garden outside of Guild, there was no chardonnay being served. (Why would I make this about me? Jesus! There were other lovely beverages and good things to eat, so never mind.)

Many folks gathered, including some familiar faces, to share their warm feelings about the tribute we’d just attended. Councilperson Sylvia Overby had the good fortune of running into me (she might question that), giving me an opportunity to speak with her briefly — about what? Yes, you got it right first try: the airport! Ms. Overby was incredibly gracious in listening to me speak about the one-year closure idea, but stopped short of saying, “That’s amazing, Lyle, let me get a board vote on it this week!” Actually, I reduced my ask by half, suggesting that even a six-month closure of the airport, from January through June, would inform the town and the concerned folks of Montauk just what the impact might be on air traffic to the small airport on East Lake Drive. And following that brief closure, all parties could make an informed decision on what should happen next with East Hampton’s airport.

She nodded, but still expressed doubts that it was a viable approach, given the intensity of pressure coming from Montauk’s residents and from the aviation people, like Blade.

I said, “Kathee told me that if we closed East Hampton the helicopters would fly straight up 27 to Montauk, impacting the entire town. Why the hell would they do that when they could just fly over the bay or the ocean?”

Ms. Overby replied, “Because that’s what Blade said they would do.”

And I thought, “Imagine the audacity of this corporation and its lawyers, holding a threat like that over the Town of East Hampton, while we attempt to find a lasting solution to the noise and environmental degradation caused by the air traffic over our community.” In my head I used bad language, Mr. Rattray. Maybe that’s not a step in the right direction for me? Never mind.

Later, I went to Blade’s website to discover this list of destinations they’ll be happy to take the metropolitan traveler: Southampton, Meadow Lane (west end); East Hampton, 200 Daniel’s Hole Road; Montauk, 428 East Lake Drive; Quogue/Westhampton (Francis S. Gabreski Airport); Navy Beach, 16 Navy Road, Montauk; Sag Harbor, Long Wharf; Shelter Island, 35 Shore Road; Fishers Island, 500 Airport Road, and Fire Island, Pines Marina.

I’m sure I’m naive, but I find it incredible that the interests of so few can impede the needs and will of so many. Councilperson Overby also notes (and rightly so) that Montauk residents, as well as the town, need to be in talks with the owners of Montauk Airport to engage in what is most definitely a community-wide problem, deserving of a community-wide solution.

So where does it go from here, Mr. Rattray? At Sunday’s celebration of Nancy Nagle Kelley, we heard that she always encouraged looking for the positive, even under the most challenging circumstances. I think if we’re able to do the right thing with East Hampton’s airport, we might think of it as something that honored the environmental activism of this remarkable woman.

Respectfully,

LYLE GREENFIELD

 

Why the Blank Stares?
Wainscott
October 18, 2021

Dear David;

With the upcoming election approaching at warp speed, I encountered several candidates at the recent car show and campaigning locations. I politely inquired as to their position on the airport. I mentioned the sole-source aquifer and the San Jose 10-year airport study in which 17,000 blood samples revealed dangerous lead levels.

They refused to address my question. Just like all, with one exception, they suddenly played the Sergeant Schultz routine.

So I wondered, who was funding their campaign? Is their position that they will continue to allow the pollution of the air we breathe and contamination to our sole source of drinking water? I mentioned the 51 million pounds of carbon emissions currently coming from the takeoffs and landings.

I mentioned the Alliance’s falsehood scare tactics concerning Montauk Airport. Why the blank stares and avoidance? I mentioned that how could anyone vote for a candidate who refuses to take a stand?

We are at a crossroads. So, I will ask the question again: Why would anyone vote for a candidate who refuses to take a stand on this critical decision? Facts have been presented that exposed the lies.

The sole purpose of government is to protect the well-being, safety, and health of the public. So a 1 percent takes precedence over the thousands of affected families? Why the hand-wringing and avoidance?

ARTHUR J. FRENCH

 

Instead of Complaining
Montauk
October 17, 2021

Dear Mr. Rattray,

With respect to your editorial, “Not Curfews Again” (Oct. 14), you note that “only a tiny sliver of people attending the [airport] workshops said its current situation is acceptable, most of these connected to the aviation industry in one way or another, but not all.” Maybe so, but you didn’t cite any authoritative record to support that, which is frustrating. Moreover, you failed to indicate the portion of East Hampton residents and voters who participated in any such workshops. For the one workshop I joined, attendance was sparse — hardly a meaningful data set for measuring public opinion. That’s hardly surprising, as you’ve argued over the course of the year in favor of closing the airport, but seldom (if ever) do you cite definitive statistics supporting your conclusory assertions about public opinion in favor of closing the airport. That’s unhelpful.

By the way, I don’t understand what you have against Montauk, but your implication that Montauk voters dominate the town board’s thinking is actually pretty funny. I understand that Montauk voters comprise little more than 15 percent of registered voters in our town. I doubt, very much, that Montauk, relative to any other part of town, weighs more heavily on the town board’s thinking.

Similarly, your cynical innuendo about political gamesmanship when it comes to the timing of announcements about conservation land deals is just that, but with the authoritative imprimatur of your newspaper, which is decidedly unfunny. Are you trying to discourage the town board from taking the Montauk Airport out of the equation, even though that would eliminate the primary concern of many Montauk residents and voters and enhance a strategic town asset, with new public parkland in an irreplaceable waterfront location, as Barry Raebeck eloquently explained several weeks ago? If there’s a deal to be had with the current owners, it should be announced to the public when the deal is struck. The town, led by Peter Van Scoyoc, is only on one side of that potential transaction and cannot unilaterally determine the outcome or timing.

As to your endorsement of Mr. Bragman’s red herring of an “air traffic holiday,” you — and he — put the cart before the horse. Once the airport is closed for 10 minutes or 10 months it’s exceedingly unlikely to re-open, which is really the point (and very much what Dr. Raebeck is advocating, albeit very frankly by contrast). I’m skeptical that more parkland or conservation land is the answer (our town has other, compelling needs, including affordable housing and light industrial use), but it could be. We don’t know, since the work supporting any such determination hasn’t been undertaken. The better process, albeit one that frustrates those who want action yesterday, is to develop and approve a comprehensive plan for the airport property whether as an airport or otherwise that fits the long-term needs and vision for the town, on the whole.

That vision could be one of zero growth, which you’ve advocated from time to time. But zero growth likely leads to an even higher cost of living, pushing out the working and middle classes even more. That inevitably increases economic and social segregation on the East End and undermines the long-term economic viability and social cohesion of our community. You know this, and so does pretty much everyone else. Another vision would be measured, planned growth that acknowledges the inevitability of change and harnesses it for the health and prospects of our entire community now and far into the future. That requires very unsexy, slow-moving consensus-driven work that doesn’t lend itself to whipping up controversy and division, which (by contrast) your editorializing certainly does — irresponsibly.

Finally, of course, this is about small-town politics. You say, “Candidates for office need to consider what is good for the town as a whole.” Absolutely! I note that the “town as a whole” does not include Southampton and much of Sag Harbor or areas UpIsland. The concerns of our neighbors are certainly worth considering, but they are hardly dispositive and cannot outweigh the interests of the people living in our town. You continue that candidates should “not [consider] how making what is the right decision might harm or help their personal political chances.” What self-serving nonsense is that? That is exactly what happens in politics and, in doing so, our elected officials must take into consideration the valid and sometimes conflicting interests of everyone in East Hampton and not just the demands and complaints (much of which may be entirely valid) of the loudest of us or wealthy political donors (including those from other places) who don’t like aircraft flying overhead.

We have a remarkably well-functioning town, led by experienced, thoughtful, and informed people (including Mr. Bragman, by the way), but you wouldn’t know it by reading The Star. This newspaper should celebrate the thoughtful, deliberate process that town leadership has undertaken (which is normally, as I understand it, what Mr. Bragman would advocate on the town board). Whatever decision is reached will be that much more legitimate as a result. Instead, you bang your drum about politicking and seek to delegitimize the process to bend it to your will. You’ve picked sides in a political conflict driven largely by personal animus and ambition. That’s hardly the gold standard of journalistic integrity. You can and should do better for our town.

Change is inevitable. Instead of complaining about it and wishing you could roll things back to a never-was halcyon past preserved in amber, The Star would do a real service to our community if it dedicated a year or two to studying and reporting on how East Hampton is changing, what’s working and what isn’t and what we might do about it to ensure the long-term health of this wonderful community. You are uniquely positioned to do that sort of deep, thoughtful investigation and analysis, and then tell us what you’ve found. You have not done that with the airport. Instead, I get the sense that The Star has placed the airport at the center of public debate because it is divisive and controversial, and controversy sells newspapers. Sure you can do that — but is that really a service to this community?

To your great credit, you publish letters like mine that are critical — sometimes harshly so — of The Star’s editorials and issues of note. In doing so, you provide a forum for robust discussion among the people who live in, and care about, East Hampton. Thank you for that.

JONATHAN YELLEN

Mr. Bragman’s “air traffic holiday” idea is to stop commercial flights in and out of East Hampton Airport for a year; private use of the airport would continue during that time. Ed.

 

Ignored Montauk
Montauk
October 18, 2021

To the Editor:

I’m sure you know the aphorism about never getting into a spat with someone who buys ink by the barrel, but I cannot resist this time. The Star has consistently supported those who would close East Hampton Airport and ignored the interests of the Montauk community with respect to that issue. I guess that is your First Amendment right. But the paper’s recent editorial was abusive and pushed that privilege to its extreme limits.

The Star wrote “It is clear that the Montauk issue is overstated. In fact, it is being used by some with other fish to fry, such as the hamlet’s incorporation as a village, to stir discontent.” When you write that, you insult our community, You insult the hundreds of people who came to a meeting at the firehouse on Sunday. You accuse those of us who express our genuine concerns about the real threats to Montauk from an influx of aircraft formerly landing at KHTO, of being insincere. The editorial suggests we are not really concerned about increased noise, traffic, safety, or damage to our environment, but that we had “other fish to fry” and were out “to stir discontent.” We are accused of engaging in a ploy to advance some other objective. How insulting.

I have been to many gatherings of Montauk residents to talk about the airport issue, spoken to scores of people opposed to closing KHTO, and have never heard one word about any issue other than legitimate fact-driven concerns about the adverse effect on our community that would result from closing KHTO. Not one word. Yet The Star ignores the irrebuttable facts we have put forward, and arrogantly dismisses our concerns as “overstated.” The editorial goes further, and insults us by suggesting our efforts are not genuine, but really just a ploy “to stir discontent” in order to accomplish village incorporation, a claim you attribute to “some” unnamed person or persons. (By the way, village incorporation would be counterproductive to our goals given that the KHTO decision will be made at the town level, and it was the town board candidates who have pledged to take no action that would result in increased traffic at the Montauk airstrip.)

The suggestion that our concerns about noise and safety are disingenuous and are some kind of ploy smacks of the kind of conspiracy politics unfortunately so prevalent today. That kind of journalism is corrosive to our democracy because, among other things, it values manufactured conspiracies over truth. It degrades The Star, insults our hamlet, and the paper owes us all an apology.

MARTIN LONDON

 

Easy Way Out
Montauk
October 18, 2021

Dear Editor,

In response to your editorial in The Star last Thursday, regarding the Republicans’ absence at a recent Zoom debate, I wish to offer the following.

For starters, the only ones missing the point here is yourself and those who bank on every biased word you have to say. Your comments obviously highlight your leftist position for I’m sure, sucking up to the majority of the readership is of vital importance to you. You offer no real newsworthy information that can shed light on the real issues at hand.

As you know, we had offered well over a month ago an open, legitimate debate that may offer real substance worth debating, as required by our public. Open air, not Zoom, no crib notes behind one’s computer screens, real time spontaneity is more legitimate than what was being offered. Why does the media choose and prefer to reinforce the fear to the communities that an open-air public debate would be a death sentence? As I had previously stated, you cannot run a town from a basement or in hiding, especially since town offices and senior centers are still open. What an example of leadership!

If you had any sense left within you for the need for real investigative journalism during these most stressful times that we are all going through, you may need to look beyond the tip of your nose to see the forest among the trees, so to speak. Would anyone expect a constructive debate when you have two incumbent Democrats bickering and attacking each other on what shoulda/coulda been accomplished over the past several-plus years? If you haven’t realized anything of what is going on in our communities, you may be able to accept the fact that all the pressing issues in our towns today have been borne and owned by the current Democrat leadership.

So if you had sincere concerns for our town’s handling of current affairs, why haven’t you looked into Sylvia Overby’s Florida sabbatical over the past winter, or maybe Peter’s alleged escape to Vermont during the peak pandemic period? On the taxpayer dime. Why haven’t you reported on the twice no-shows of the board and town supervisor at the recent Montauk town meetings regarding the airport closure issues? The latest one yesterday with a large turnout left disappointed once again that representation for Montauk is left empty, as empty as the pledges signed by each current town administrative member, of course, inclusive of Peter Van Scoyoc. Much time, expense, and effort goes into planning such an event. I do, however, give credit to Jeff Bragman for having the guts to show up and offer some commentary to the community, although, not as well received as he had hoped. The issue here runs very deep. Needless to say, you cannot run a ship through treacherous waters with a captain and crew in hiding.

There are so many issues that you could have addressed to offer your readership a broader perspective on local concerns, but you didn’t. Have you looked into the funds held back by this town administration that were slated for distribution to the town essential workers? Or the senior center? Cell tower, etc.? The list goes on.

You seem to have taken the easy way out just to fill print space. And then, you take a shot at national politics and party differences! Well, again, if you realize, we are a small community, there isn’t much room to side with a party, but the person and the issues that need to be accomplished.

We do not need more division, just plain hard work for the benefit of the residents. Action in my book always speaks louder than promises. The Town of East Hampton is in dire need of change if we are to be successful as we move forward. Voters need to elect a proactive team with Joe Karpinski, George Aman, and myself in office to break out of the one-party rule that has become complacent and reactive as issues surface. We are for all the people no matter what race, creed, or color and not just kissing up to the elite or second-home ownership. We’re here for the working families and to ensure human rights for all.

KEN WALLES

Mr. Walles is the Republican and Conservative candidate for East Hampton Town supervisor. Ed.

 

I Do Care
Montauk
September 30, 2021

To the Editor:

To hear Manny Vilar complain about the current town board “working for the 1 percent” is yet another example of the Republican hypocrisy one has seen so many times for too long. Mr. Vilar, your rearview mirror needs cleaning.

Also, the campaign pitch of Ken Walles has the whiff of past Wilkinson platforms and those were dark times, especially for Montauk.

I am most comfortable with the Democrats on the East Hampton Town Board, and won’t vote for any candidate on the Republican bandwagon.

Yes, I do care if you are proud to carry into even a local election the banner of a party that refuses to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection, limited homeowners’ tax exemption for local taxes while giving tax cuts to the wealthy, seeks limits on women’s reproductive choices, denied climate warming, and gave polluters a pass. Need I go on?

PAT LUKASZEWSKA

 

Critical Issues
East Hampton Village
October 17, 2021

David,

I just wanted to thank you for your clarity on the critical issues East Hampton residents face during this election season. You have been spot on, reasonable, and logical in your thinking and presentation. I, for one, appreciate the clarity you have brought to the residents of our community.

I was highly disappointed in our town council’s vague and inconclusive positions on the environment and airport in last week’s debate. We need transparent commitment to significant structural changes. I did, however, become impressed with John Whelan and will be looking for new participation from him on the board.

Thank you for your involvement.

MAUREEN BLUEDORN

 

Top Priorities
Amagansett
October 18, 2021

Dear David,

Given that early voting starts Saturday, I want to share with your readers why I support Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for re-election to the East Hampton Town Board.

Kathee is thoroughly prepared for every meeting and asks thoughtful, deliberative questions to understand the issues. She listens intently to all points of view and clearly has the ability and desire to work with everyone.

During her time on the town board she has made protecting our drinking water, advancing clean, renewable energy, planning for climate change and sea level rise, providing affordable housing opportunities, balancing the town budget, and addressing the needs of kids and seniors her top priorities. Which is why I am proud to support Kathee. We need her compassion, her tireless work ethic, and her ability to build consensus in town government.

Best,

MICHELE DRAGONETTI

 

Proud to Vote for Kathee
East Hampton
October 17, 2021

Dear David:

With the election for the town board fast approaching, I write in support of Kathee Burke-Gonzalez – a true public servant in every sense of the word.

As the liaison to Human Services for the last eight years, Kathee has accomplished much to enrich the lives of our children and our seniors.

Kathee helped expand mental health services for adolescents and has spearheaded programs to educate our high school students about suicide awareness and sexual assault on college campuses. She has worked to expand free health and wellness programs for our senior citizens, and she just recently announced that the town purchased seven wooded acres in Amagansett to construct a new senior center; and she will be embarking on a community engagement process to help identify what the community wants to see in the new center.

But what I am most in awe of are the partnerships she has formed and the relationships she has built with those organizations in our community doing critical work — including our schools, our local food pantries, Family Service League, Phoenix House, The Retreat, I-Tri, the list goes on. The fact that Kathee produced and co-hosted a show on LTV with Adam Fine (principal of East Hampton High School at the time) aptly named “Honest Conversations” speaks volumes about Kathee’s commitment to the youth in our community.

We are so fortunate to have a leader so dedicated to the social and emotional well-being of those she serves. Which is why I am proud to vote for Kathee on Nov. 2.

Sincerely,

JOYCE MCFADDEN

 

Express My Respect
East Hampton
October 17, 2021

Dear David:

Seventy-seven years old, and an East Hampton resident for 48 years, I am here to say, in this profound and personal newspaper, that not only is this town a paradise but it has managed to nurture an incredible government and an incredible supervisor. Peter Van Scoyoc has held this post since 2017 and, if my wishes come true, he will again. My opinion has grown from what I have observed — up close and personal. Solid, tenacious, transparent, and fair-minded, time and time again I have watched him take a stand and do the right thing. Working on the town’s energy and sustainability committee, I have become a wild fan.

I run a climate change website, I care deeply about climate change, the environment, and the quality of our lives. I am particularly interested in what we can do here, right now.

Sylvia Overby has been the town liaison to our committee (extraordinary woman), and the supervisor has been a steady, powerful, positive presence, supporting our every move.

This opinion grows out of a few of the extraordinary actions he has championed (with much important support coming from the town’s Natural Resources Department): the Accabonac Solar Farm, the first megawatt solar farm on the South Fork, was completed. A collaboration with the New York Power Authority resulted in the installation of solar energy systems at municipal buildings; the Parks Department has just been completed. A utility battery storage facility was completed in Montauk, the second such facility on Long Island. Legislation was authorized for community choice aggregation allowing the town to explore the potential for procuring renewable power from an alternative supplier. F.Y.I.: LIPA is at present holding this up. Gas and diesel-powered leaf blowers have finally been banned from May 20 to Sept. 20. Solar-powered, off-grid lighting was installed in the Amagansett Main Street parking lot (David Lys was also a huge champion!), more to come.

A fleet efficiency policy was established to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles for the municipal fleet. Electric charging stations have been installed, from 12 fast chargers in Montauk (at no cost to the town) to level-2 stations at Town Hall and the Amagansett Main Street parking lot, and many more are coming. A climate emergency declaration was unanimously adopted with the goal of viewing all town decisions through the lens of climate change. An easement agreement with the South Fork Wind Farm was signed and a resolution to approve the host community agreement between the town and the South Fork Wind Farm was passed, which will, when the final approvals come through from the state and federal government, yield $29 million in payments over 25 years to the town and the trustees, benefiting all of us. Heating and air-conditioning systems in municipal buildings will, as upgrades and replacements are needed, shift to electric. More code upgrades are coming, too. And, much of this happened during Covid, which, by the way, Van Scoyoc handled so well that East Hampton is way ahead in testing and vaccinations.

I am not used to public service, having run my own publishing and film companies before my current work on the climate change website. I am used to making decisions and swiftly implementing them. I knew little before joining this committee about the need for patience, for listening more and talking less. I have learned a great deal about this from both Sylvia and Peter. He has demonstrated a real ability to lead in an unfazed, deliberative, calm way with a core of integrity and good sense. And, he is courageous — not an everyday political characteristic.

During these last two years, I have also listened (and sometimes contributed) to a number of work sessions. They are long and often complicated. There are generally many points of view. I certainly express my respect and my gratitude to all of our five board members, particularly those whom I have gotten to know the best: Peter, Sylvia, Kathee, and David. I hope I am lucky enough to interact with them for the rest of my time as a resident here.

Cate Rogers is a new Democratic candidate running for the board. I know her from her powerful climate change work and her involvement with Win With Wind. Her election will mean we have another intelligent, thoughtful human with a spine and a determination to make the best decisions. None of us are going to agree on everything but what we do agree on is good enough for me as long as the ethics are always on target: Do the right thing, do it with kindness, do it with wisdom. And, do it now. Because, with climate, we don’t have time to wait.

LENA TABORI

 

Toxic Environment
Springs
October 17, 2021

Dear David,

I have spent years as the president of New York State’s fifth-biggest police union representing State Police officers. After 12 years of dealing with the Cuomo administration, I know what a toxic work environment looks like. By this point, everyone knows how much I love my local East Hampton Town employees’ C.S.E.A. Unit 8330 East Hampton Town and the East Hampton Town Police Benevolent Association.

Throughout the pandemic, they came to work. They kept the Town of East Hampton government functioning while several town board members barely showed up to work. In fact, one town councilwoman conducted Zoom calls from a vacation home in Florida, while another spent weeks in Vermont.

Now I hear the town received the Cares Act federal Covid money, which could be used to compensate town employees, and the town board is refusing to compensate town workers who, on average, earn 30 percent less than the other East End towns.

In what has become a difficult election with Ken Walles, Joe Karpinski, and George Aman mounting a serious campaign challenge, now miraculously, the supervisor is calling for regrading of town employee salaries a full four years after I personally brought light to the poor treatment of town employees during the 2017 supervisor’s election. While I am glad that something is being done, it is disingenuous at best to believe the toxic environment and disrespect of town employees will change by the current supervisor and town board members.

With the supervisor and several of the town board members in office for more than a decade, they have a record of failure and inability to resolve any major issues facing our community. From the airport to the senior citizens center, nothing has been accomplished.

Elections have consequences, and it is time for a change. Vote Ken Walles For supervisor, Joe Karpinski and George Aman for town council.

MANNY VILAR

Chairman

East Hampton Town Republican Committee

 

Played Games
Amagansett
October 17, 2021

To the Editor,

Throughout the pandemic, town employees came to work. Like many workers you don’t think of, they just did their jobs. The Town of East Hampton functioned throughout the new navigation procedures while the town board stayed on and now is back to Zoom. The actual people doing the work for our town were out there getting the job done. They are still working at Town Hall and around town.

Isn’t it funny that now the town has received federal Covid relief money it has played games on giving it to the employees?

That’s okay; the new town budget is out, for those of you who don’t know. I wonder of the buying power of our C.S.E.A. members. How much has it been held back over the last several years with all the current players being in place and going on almost a decade.

The union, from what I gather, is divided into two types of award systems. These so-called performance awards are a one-time payment or another that can happen annually to the same person. It amazes me to look at budgets throughout the years and the same names get reward after reward. Titles for the same people change like clothes day to day, year to year. But so many people work in those departments.

Are we witnessing favoritism at its finest? This happens when management doesn’t know how to manage. They normally drive away the hardest of workers for the ones who kiss their rear. As we fight for the future of our dedicated employees, the oversight to what’s really going on needs to be addressed.

You can keep that status quo, promises that you get told each election year, and sacrifice getting actual results. It seems like common sense and logic. No matter the result, now is the time to not stop holding the feet of your elected officials to the fire.

Nov. 2: Walles, Aman, Karpinski. We are the community and, as always, the tides are changing.

JOE KARPINSKI

Mr. Karpinski is a Republican and Conservative candidate for East Hampton Town Board. Ed.

 

Deep Credentials
Montauk
October 18, 2021

To the Editor,

I am going to vote for Cate Rogers for a position on the East Hampton Town Board. Why? You may ask. Well, it’s basically for two reasons: her deep credentials and her sincere motivation to use them for the benefit of the town and its citizens.

If you are concerned by environmental issues affecting the town, you want Cate on the town board. She’s been immersed in the fight against climate change for a good part of her adult life, not just on a local activism level but in serious training programs led by Al Gore here in the U.S. and abroad. She chaired the Peconic region chapter of the Coalition of Climate Reality and, locally, she helped found Win With Wind to promote offshore alternative energy wind projects. If you are concerned with water quality, coastal erosion, and failing septic systems in our town, Cate has the unmitigated credentials to tackle these issues.

If you want your government officials to put their nose to the grindstone to make government work for you and meet the challenges of expanding population growth and all of its consequences, you want Cate on the job. She has a keen understanding of all the major problems confronting us. Her experience has been forged in key governmental positions: nine years on the zoning board, member on each of the emergency preparedness committee, the nature preserve committee, the energy sustainability committee, and the solarize-energize task force, and she was actively involved in the zoning revisions working group. In short, she knows her stuff.

If you’re concerned about more ineffable skills like leadership strengths, you will be impressed with Cate’s business accomplishments and altruistic achievements. She has over 30 years of experience in running a nationally recognized 7,500-seat arena, while taking the time to form New York State legislative teams, a local Latino outreach organization, and a youth outreach group.

If you want a serious, thoughtful, and experienced person with all the right ethical, achievement-driven, hard-work ethos as a town board official, you couldn’t find anyone more suited for the job than Cate Rogers. She’s the real thing, folks. Vote for her. She’ll do us good.

LOU CORTESE

 

Has Worked Hard
Amagansett
October 18, 2021

Dear David,

As much as anyone I know, Cate Rogers cares about our Town of East Hampton and has worked hard to preserve the environment, support affordable housing, and achieve 100 percent renewable and sustainability goals.

Cate’s experience on the East Hampton Zoning Board of Appeals, her leadership for N.Y.S. renewable energy projects and as chairperson of the East Hampton Democratic Committee have prepared her to serve East Hampton as a member of the town board. Having worked with Cate on the Democratic Committee, I’ve seen firsthand the thoughtfulness, fairness, and determination that will make her a productive board member. Please vote for Cate Rogers on Nov. 2 or during early voting beginning on Saturday.

DAVID HILLMAN

 

Woman of Character
East Hampton
October 14, 2021

Dear David:

For over 20 years Cate Rogers has been steadfastly working to improve our quality of life and the environment in our town. Cate is a unifier and always through her gracious way brings people together. Put in simple terms, she is the real deal and a problem solver.

During her nine-year tenure on the zoning board of appeals as a board member and then vice chairwoman, Cate adhered to the town zoning code and helped preserve and protect the natural resources we as a community cherish and hold dear. For years she has been an advocate for renewable energy projects and climate change and, under the tutelage of Vice President Al Gore, became a mentor in his Climate Reality Project.

As an elected town official and public servant Cate will bring that same energy to upgrade town wide communication with reliable cell service and emergency radio services, build more affordable housing, and support eminent domain proceedings for public access at Napeague Beach.

As a colleague and friend, I support Cate 100 percent. She is a woman of character and will always be there to support and listen. Please join me in voting for Cate Rogers on Nov. 2. A vote for Cate is a vote for our future.

Sincerely

DENISE SAVARESE

 

For John Whelan
Amagansett
October 16, 2021

Dear David,

I am writing this letter in support of John Whelan’s candidacy for East Hampton town board. First, a bit of context for my thinking.

Earlier this year, when I started to hear some arguing between members during town board meetings, I didn’t think all that much about it. At first, I just chalked it up to the idiosyncrasies of small-town governance and politicking, wrapped up in a layer of pandemic anxiety.

But the East Hampton Town Board situation has morphed from sort of charming to somewhat alarming. As the time until the election gets shorter, the arguments get longer; as the days grow cooler, tempers are getting hotter. Oct. 12’s work session was a multi-round slugfest. As the main combatants were going at it, the other board members, who generally remain on the sidelines, were drawn into the skirmish. And some members of the public were also throwing verbal punches, as their well-intentioned concerns about key issues boiled over.

The point of my letter here today is not to dwell on past scuffles or the current divide, but rather to look ahead. Post the election, whatever the outcome of the supervisor and council member races, we are going to need to mend these fractures. I do not expect, nor do I want, town board members to go all rainbows and puppy dogs or to vote unanimously on every motion; there needs to be strong advocacy of opposing ideas and sharp exchanges of contrasting views. And everyone should “fight” with might to uphold standards of ethics and transparency.

Dissent, and even conflict — when managed properly — can be agents of good decision making and progress, but East Hampton must also have a board that can re-establish a genuine sense of unity and shared priorities to focus intently, rationally, and creatively on the make-or-break issues challenging our town as never before. This small town has some big-world problems to solve. And this for me has crystallized why I support John Whelan’s candidacy for town board.

Not only do I believe he has the right experience set, commitment, perspective, interests, and ideas to serve the town well, all of which have been articulated clearly by the candidate himself, but I believe Mr. Whelan is uniquely positioned to instill a renewed constructive dynamic of problem solving and equanimity to the town board and to increase its effectiveness. I say this for three reasons:

First, his collaborative temperament and leadership skills, which are regularly on display in his current role as chairman of the zoning board of appeals, will add distinct value on our town board. I watch nearly all of the Z.B.A.’s meetings (yeah, I’m geeky like that), and it is my observation that this group functions at a rather high level. Z.B.A. members are educated about the facts, consistently have well-reasoned discussion, sort through sets of pros and cons, thoughtfully navigate the fine lines, convey opinions grounded in reasonable basis, appropriately assess the potential consequences of their actions, and convey their decisions in a rational, clear way to each other and to the public. Even when they are in disagreement or displeased with an application, they comport themselves always with respect and patience for each other and for all with whom they engage at the public hearings.

I don’t want to minimize the work of each of the Z.B.A. members and other individuals who are part of the process, as they all contribute to this high level, but I believe it is Chairman Whelan’s leadership and genuine commitment to a fair and full process that is the key driver. My impression is that he sets the tone that dissent is not viewed as an act of disloyalty, but rather as an essential driver of coming to the best possible decisions.

The second reason why I support Mr. Whelan in this election is his extensive expertise around matters of zoning, our town building code, as well as East Hampton’s stunning array of natural resources and the unique characters of our varied hamlets and neighborhoods.

As I have written before in letters to this page, I believe overdevelopment (mostly of second homes) is the biggest and most difficult challenge confronting East Hampton now, and the town board needs to address it immediately, head-on. Jeff Bragman has been calling out house supersizing as a key issue in his campaign for supervisor. But aside from that, so far, the town board as a whole has approached overdevelopment with a shocking lack of focus or urgency.

As sitting chairman of the Z.B.A., impartiality is essential, so we don’t hear Mr. Whelan taking sides or advocating for particular positions regarding development. I do not purport to know what, if any, actions he might propose or votes he would cast regarding development activity or building code as a town councilman. However, why I think he is needed on the town board is that he has been seeing this development siege from the frontlines in real time for the last seven-plus years as Z.B.A. chairman and will be extremely qualified to provide thought leadership on the issue. As I understand it, our Z.B.A. is both a board of restraint and a board of relief. As such, I think Chairman Whelan, more than the other council candidates, understands how to work to balance individual ownership rights with community stewardship responsibilities, especially with respect to our natural resource, environmental, and affordability imperatives.

My third reason in support of John Whelan’s candidacy is my view that he would encourage increased public engagement in our local government. Happily, in the Town of East Hampton the public has frequent opportunity to offer opinions and ideas to the town board at work sessions and public hearings. But there are two issues to address. First, it is still a rather narrow slice of the population that engages on a regular or even intermittent basis. Second, those of us who do take the opportunity to address the board do not always have confidence that though we speak we are indeed heard — it is not clear to what degree our views and insights are considered or if what we present can impact outcomes.

In contrast, core to his message, John Whelan stresses his curiosity and abiding interest in getting to know and listening to new people across the community and hearing their concerns and ideas. I hope voters will welcome John Whelan to the town board because I believe he will welcome us.

Sincerely,

JAINE MEHRING

 

Filled With Rage
Amagansett
October 17, 2021

Dear David,

Four years ago, I ran for office as a trustee candidate on the Democratic Party line, along with Peter Van Scoyoc, Jeff Bragman, and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez. The Democratic committee had selected the Montauk Post Office and the I.G.A. in Montauk for a weekend of campaigning in Montauk. It was a really nasty rainy Saturday when I arrived at the post office.

For some reason, not explained, Mr. Van Scoyoc was very agitated with me. He started yelling at me to leave the post office and that only the three people, himself, Jeff Bragman, and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, should be there.

I explained that the Democratic Party had told me to go there, as no other trustee candidates were expected because of the bad weather.

Peter verbally ordered me to leave the premises immediately, and when I wouldn’t do that he got so angry that he proceeded to get in his truck and drive away. He came back a few minutes later filled with rage that I had not left the scene when he ordered me to do so.

We had a quick conversation about him being a bully, how I would have to call the police if he touched me physically, and how he would act when elected to office and confronted with people who did not agree with him.

When I refused to obey his order to leave the site, Peter Van Scoyoc then proceeded to place himself physically in front of anyone who might talk to me who was coming out of the post office. This was physical harassment, as well. Please realize that Peter is 6 feet 3 inches, and I am 5 feet tall. Can you picture that horrible scene?

Why am I telling this story, you might ask? The answer: Needless to say, I never forgot how petrified and scared I really was at being accosted. That type of behavior is what I have witnessed several times in the past four years, as I have watched Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc address people who did not agree with him at meetings. He is a bully and an ego-centered harasser of those who disagree with him. Not the leader I want for my town!

I am voting for Jeff Bragman for town supervisor in this election because a change is necessary at the top. As a friend of mine recently said, “There is going to be one monolithic, information-suppressing rubber stamp without him.”

Early voting begins Saturday through Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Windmill Village, 219 Accabonac Road, or at your regular polling place on Nov. 2. Go vote!

RONA KLOPMAN

 

Unfit for Office
Springs
October 17, 2021

To Whom It May Concern:

As an East Hampton homeowner, I wish to express my observations and feelings about Peter Van Scoyoc as a public official.

Having attended a number of board and planning board meetings of the town board of East Hampton, I find Mr. Van Scoyoc to be dismissive, derisive, and unfit for public office.

I have witnessed his bullying tactics with disgust, in particular with people he feels disadvantaged due to race, gender, identity, or influence.

Instead of comporting in a dignified manner when dealing with the public — or incredibly, fellow board members — he often reverts to unacceptably juvenile behavior, for example, using a mocking voice and intentionally mispronouncing his colleague’s name as “brag-MAN” in session.

I could go on but I am sure you get the point.

Best regards,

ALEX RODRIGUEZ

 

Mr. President
Amagansett
October 17, 2021

Dear David,

Who does Peter Van Scoyoc think he is?

Joanne Pilgrim, a longtime Star reporter before being hired for the job as Peter’s assistant, now has the title of chief of staff. When hired in 2018, her title was assistant to the supervisor, and that title is still on the town site. Does this mean we need to refer to Mr. Van Scoyoc as Mr. President? Or did they just not have the time to update the town site?

JILL DANIS

 

Only One Choice
East Hampton
October 18, 2021

Dear David,

The 2021 campaign has progressed, and it is clear there is only one choice. The pragmatic and common-sense decisions made by the incumbents and their leadership on difficult issues has earned them the confidence of voters. Peter Van Scoyoc and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez have done much for this community. They are dedicated, long-term public servants and deserve to be returned to office. The whole community will benefit.

Cate Rogers, with her significant knowledge of the existential issues surrounding climate change, would bring significant expertise that would add to the knowledge of the town board. Her dedication is obvious in all the activities in which she is involved. She is tireless in her efforts to bring renewable energy to East Hampton so that it meets its goal of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2024. Her election to the town board is essential.

The trustees are a strong effective team that have excelled under the leadership of Francis Bock and Jim Grimes. We need to support them in the significant and meaningful work that they have undertaken. David Cataletto, who grew up in East Hampton, was chosen by the Democratic Committee as a trustee candidate because of his active community involvement including the East Hampton Nature Preserve, Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving Service Museum, East Hampton Historical Society, and his impressive knowledge of the issues the trustees are dealing with.

The candidates endorsed by the East Hampton Democratic Committee deserve your vote. Vote Row A all the way.

JEREMIAH MULLIGAN

Chairman

East Hampton Democratic Committee

 

Only Jeff
Sagaponack
October 18, 2021

Dear David,

I have read, with alarm, the studies commissioned to project the impact of climate change on the town. Increasing storm intensity and rising sea levels will cause more frequent flooding, inundation at Napeague and other low areas, eventually resulting in the town split into islands. Clearly the town must lead the effort to arrest climate change. That’s why it was so disappointing to read in The Star’s coverage of the candidate debate how Supervisor Van Scoyoc has caved to aviation interests in refusing to shut KHTO.

Only Jeff Bragman appears to have the courage to take action to materially reduce the town’s carbon footprint with a more aggressive plan.

I hope more East Hampton Democrats can follow Bragman’s lead in taking a true leadership role in the climate crisis.

PATRICK SULLIVAN

 

Did Exactly That
Montauk
September 29, 2021

Dear Mr. Editor,

A candidate with the integrity and courage to stand up for the truth instead of bending to the whims of a billionaire? Yes! Jeff Bragman did exactly that for the people of our Tuthill Road neighborhood against illegal expansion of Duryea’s.

Jeff listened to us, saw merit in our facts, and started asking really hard questions of the town board, making several of them visibly uncomfortable. The war isn’t over, but we won the battle. Thank you, Jeff.

Let’s elect Jeff Bragman East Hampton’s supervisor and see what he can get done for us — the real people.

EDNA MCGLYNN

 

Special Opportunity
Montauk
October 18, 2021

To the Editor:

I would like to give my personal view of Jeffrey Bragman as a potential town supervisor: He would be terrific. To an exceptional degree, Bragman combines independence, intelligence, and respect for people and the natural world. His candidacy offers East Hampton a special opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up.

WILLIAM CRAIN

 

Nationwide Effort
East Hampton
October 18, 2021

David,

Sixty years ago, Pearl Harbor was attacked, and we were drawn into World War II; 400,000 Americans were killed during the war and 700,000 were wounded. The U.S. response to Pearl Harbor, 4,000 miles away, was an all-out nationwide effort to build a war machine and protect our country. Two thousand five hundred soldiers and civilians died, and 19 warships were destroyed during the attack. We responded, like any nation attacked by an enemy, with all our energy, fortitude, and self-sacrifice. The overriding national attitude was, “What can I do to help win the war?”

Yet, when Covid-19 attacked the U.S., our response was not unified and not national. All the country’s resources were not extended to deal with the attack. Even when more than 15,000 people died in New York City in April 2020 the response was tepid.

When the Trump administration brought the vaccine to the market people embraced it enthusiastically. Even those who detested and didn’t trust Trump lined up for the shot. We were at war, and everyone was supposed to do their part. (Get vaccinated, win the war)

Today, with 700,000 dead and trillions of dollars lost to lockdowns, the mantra has changed from national disaster to personal preference. It’s not about we but about I. It’s not about winning the war, the logical basis for going to war, but about my rights to do whatever I want. It’s not about the nation, community, neighbors, children, but about me. “I am greater than the whole” is the new mantra.

When future generations will ask, “What did you do to help win the Covid-19 war” what will you say — “I betrayed my country for a sack of lies”?

NEIL HAUSIG

 

Bumbler, Stumbler
Montauk
October 18, 2021

Dear David,

Voters who believed that Joe Biden was going to bring us together are realizing he is not an honest man. Besides being a bumbler, stumbler, he is as phony as they come, you know, the big guy. He is arrogant and very full of himself. Nobody forced his hand as he signed a load of executive orders that killed the Keystone Pipeline, halted construction on President Trump’s southern border wall. Looking to pass a $3 trillion tax hike only proves what a poor president he is. He actually beats Carter.

In his short term Joe Biden has destroyed America. You like the gas, milk, meat, etc., prices — enjoy them. You voted for this fool.

Biden released 70,000 illegals into the U.S. in two months. On Aug. 6, 31,000 were released into parole. Also on Aug. 6, 39,630 illegals were released on their own reconnaissance se and 94,570 illegals via notice to report at city of their choosing. None of these figures have been denied by Customs and Border Patrol.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO

 

No Comment
Bridgehampton
October 13, 2021

To the Editor,

Yes, indeed? Why would the libs give a Pulitzer Prize to those that expose the truth? Tsk, tsk. And libs like our local news purveyors remain silent? No editorial comment except spreading the made-up Trump lies, of course. The lib narrative prevails. Why expose the corrupt when they are of your ilk! Frauds and hypocrites!

No comment prevails when the truth smacks you dead in the face?

TED DAMEICKI


Thank you for reading . . . 
...Your support for The East Hampton Star helps us deliver the news, arts, and community information you need. Whether you are an online subscriber, get the paper in the mail, delivered to your door in Manhattan, or are just passing through, every reader counts. We value you for being part of The Star family.

Your subscription to The Star does more than get you great arts, news, sports, and outdoors stories. It makes everything we do possible.