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Letters to the Editor for October 28, 2021

Thu, 10/28/2021 - 09:45

Will Be Missed
East Hampton
October 24, 2021

Dear David:

East Hampton and all its residents lost a most important member of the community with the passing of Zach Cohen last week. We became acquainted when we sought him out over 12 years ago to help the Group for Good Government (the G.G.G.) soon after its inception. Zach already had a reputation as a most capable analyst of budgets and financial statements, and as a publicly minded citizen willing to devote many hours to understanding the very complicated relationship between the town and the village, as well as the massive deficits then being run by the town. It was a very good choice by us because he became an invaluable aide in explaining the accounting and making suggestions for improvements.

That was just the beginning. We soon recognized other qualities, ones that manifested themselves throughout these years. He demonstrated real concern for the public good in a variety of areas, ranging from the community preservation fund to nature preserves, to affordable housing, to our water supply, and generally to whatever needed attention. He was caring, brilliant, creative, warm, had a wonderful sense of humor and was generous. He never turned down a request from us for help, and his advice was always considered and compassionate.

As smart and perceptive as Zach was, it was his humanity that will remain indelibly etched in our recollection of him. He was a very special human being. He will be missed and remembered for a very long time.

Sincerely,

STEVEN P. SCHWARTZ

 

Truly Humbled
Atlanta
October 22, 2021

To The East Hampton Star,

On behalf of our family, I wanted to extend heartfelt thanks for not only the beautiful obituary but also for the wonderful story you all published about our mother, Susan Bennett. Your staff did an amazing job telling her story and also sharing the vision of what we hope will be a lasting legacy at Springs School with Susan’s Lunch Drawer.

We have been truly humbled by all the love and outreach we have received — particularly over the past couple of weeks — and we can’t thank you enough for your good words about a really good woman. Keep up that great work and God bless.

TIM BENNETT

 

Floating Wetlands
Montauk
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the Montauk community for going above and beyond this past weekend to help the Concerned Citizens of Montauk remove over 3,000 square feet of floating wetlands from Fort Pond. This pilot water quality improvement project was designed to remove excess nutrients in the water column, which have been fueling seasonal harmful algal blooms in the pond.

The islands themselves will be stored for future re-use, and the harvested plants have made their way to the Montauk Community Garden for composting. A few samples will be sent to Hofstra University for analysis to quantify nutrient-removal capacity.

Special thank-you to East Hampton Town, East Hampton Town Shellfish Hatchery, East Hampton Ocean Rescue, Mickey’s Carting, Gurney’s Resorts, the Montauk Community Garden, 7-11 Montauk, Montauk Surfcasters Association, and the nearly 45 community volunteers who donated their Saturday to helping us.

Together, we can help restore Montauk’s waters!

With gratitude,

LAURA TOOMAN

President

Concerned Citizens of Montauk

 

A First Step
East Hampton
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

Excellent move, David, in encouraging your terrific daughter Evvy to speak at a recent East Hampton Village Board meeting about the research she and her roommate, Aunyae, have been doing over the last two to three years on the Plain Sight Project. What an articulate, knowledgeable, natural media pro she proved to be! She has the refreshing, youthful energy and idealism we all need these days — especially in discussing and moving forward on such an important issue with all its possible consequences for our community, state, country, and the world.

The Plain Sight Project is a project conducting research to raise consciousness about the enslaved people who had lived in East Hampton.

The village board should be congratulated on their unanimous support for the laying down of an initial set of five bronze markers as a first step to honor these people’s memory and contributions to the foundational structure of wealth and prosperity of our East Hampton community.

Many thanks should go to the Jewish Center of the Hamptons and Calvary Baptist Church for their joint support of the work required to install the bronze markers, which could replace sidewalk bricks in several spots around town.

What comes next, of course, is an open question for the individuals and institutions of power and authority in the East Hampton community to decide. The symbolic display of the markers is profoundly important, but they are just that — symbols.

We should be open, it seems, in the ensuing dialogue, to discuss what policies, programs, and practices are needed that would make a real difference in the lives of many in our community today who have not been competing on an equal playing field or on one that was ever equal.

Toward that end, it would be helpful to make the distinction between individual racism and systematic racism.

Racism is more than prejudice — it’s about social power and legal authority at a local, state, and federal level — before and after the Civil War — that deliberately made and continues to make decisions, policies, and profits that advantage white Americans.

This is not about taking money from people who never owned enslaved people and giving it to people who were never enslaved — it’s not about taking pay from individual whites to give to Blacks.

Before the Emancipation Proclamation Act of 1862, Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, which freed District of Columbia slaves and compensated slave owners. After nine months, 900 slave owners were paid a million dollars in today’s money for lost property — $300 per slave freed ($8,000 in today’s money).

The Homestead Act of 1862 — for a small filing fee and five years of residence — gave white Americans, who mainly had been peasants in Europe, the opportunity to own land outright. Each family could get 160 acres of land, and 180 million acres were distributed by 1900, mainly to white Americans in the West and Midwest.

Land grant colleges were set up to teach them how to farm, low-interest loans were given to encourage mechanization, and federal subsidies were and are still given today to not farm — all at taxpayers’ expense.

Special Field Order #15 of 1865, a military order by Union General William Sherman, also known by its “40 acres and a mule” name, was an order for land to be given to freed slaves. It was taken back and rescinded by President Johnson after Lincoln was assassinated.

Martin Luther King’s statement that “we’ve come to our nation’s capitol to get our check” should be understood within that social context and as a metaphor about a nation’s debt — to cash a check for what the nation had promised Black people.

H.R. 40 is a bill before Congress designed to deal with the question of reparations today. It calls for a national apology as a beginning way of expressing amends for slavery. It also calls for the creation of a commission that would be charged with studying the issue and making specific legislative proposals to address historical, systemic, institutional racism — de jure and de facto discrimination. It’s about the systemic need to find systemic solutions to make America’s playing field equal. 

The East Hampton village and town boards should take the next step beyond the initial bronze markers and support H.R. 40.  

Again, Evvy, many thanks for your presentation and for saving us all from the probable “grumbling” the board would be “obligated” to express if your dear father had made the presentation.

Moving forward together — not one step back.

Sincerely,

JIM VRETTOS

 

Publishing Hate
East Hampton
October 22, 2021

To The Star,

Time to stop publishing the hate letters! Facebook has gotten on board with this, time for East Hampton Star to do the same!

Do not be complicit in spreading hatred even if byline of hater states “in God and country,” as this does not absolve anyone connected with the words of hatred and nastiness. Stop publishing these hate-filled letters to the editor now. We the taxpayers and peaceful citizens do not need nor wish to be part of this type of nastiness. It does not suffice any good for anyone but the nasty writer.

Your decision, you are the editor, take responsibility. Do the right thing.

Respectfully,

JOAN LAUFER

 

Never Again
Sandy, Ore.
October 24, 2021

Dear Editor,

About Alec Baldwin: The most important rule of all gun safety rules is to never point a gun at another person under any circumstances! That’s a damn simple rule.

Now the best way for Baldwin to rehabilitate his reputation is to pledge to never again act in any movie with any gunplay! He must become an anti-gun advocate! 

America has 4 percent of the world’s population and 50 percent-plus of all world guns in non-military private hands. America’s rates of death by gun accident, and especially gun suicide, are far higher per capita than any nation on earth. 

Because guns are commonly used here instead of pills or blades, the rate of “successful” suicides in the U.S.A. is 10 times the rate in the European Union.

Baldwin must become a high profile anti-gun crusader, otherwise many like me shall boycott his movies forever.

PETER GILL WYLIE

 

Disappearing Charm
East Hampton Village
October 21, 2021

To the Editor,

There is still a bit of charm left in the built environment of East Hampton Village, places like the East Hampton Library, Mulford Farm, Sam’s, and Village Hardware, but that charm is fast disappearing. In fact, the majority of its public spaces and commercial properties are reliably replicated in similarly expensive ZIP codes: multinational stores selling sweaters that cost a mortgage payment, chain grocery markets with a mind-numbing computer-generated voice reminding us on repeat to “place your items in the bagging area,” or tiny shops offering $50 cheesecakes.

Perhaps the brewery proposed for a site on Toilsome Lane is meant to be a respite from all that: a place that serves a beverage so un-fancy, drinking it is a litmus test for the regular-guyness now required for the president of the United States. A business that makes and sells beer sounds like an antidote to the mostly precious, pricey, and mundane offerings on Main Street and Newtown Lane. But a brewery is certainly not a breath of fresh air.

For one, beer production can emit a sour mash smell. For another, it won’t be a yellow-lit tavern behind a picturesque, windowed storefront but a beer garden where the outdoor consumption of alcohol induces loud talk and loud music in what is predominantly a residential neighborhood.

The consensus is that a craft brewery will be popular, at least initially. A byproduct of its popularity means that customers and delivery drivers will increase traffic on a narrow, sharply curved road that already mimics a highway, given the aggressive maneuverings and speed of its drivers.

I am not advocating that the brewery not be built on Toilsome Lane, where I have a home, but rather that there is no place for a brewery anywhere in the Village of East Hampton. The brewery would be better suited to a more bustling center, one with adequate and safe roadways. However, the proposal is in keeping with a plan that has been foisted on the community, one that expands the commercial footprint of the village and adds expensive condominiums. Like the proposed brewery, the plan is too ambitious in scale and concept for the environs of a historic village.

Rather than address the very real problem of affordable housing and public transportation here, there is a plan for suburban sprawl, heralded by tacky banners fluttering on Main Street and announced by concerts on the beach that disrupt the majestic sounds of the sea. Such suburban sprawl offers little for the worker, blue or white collar, the artist, or, incidentally, even those very rich urbanites whose property tax bills on summer houses speak louder than words to elected officials.

But for a feisty newspaper, there is little space or opportunity to share concerns about the proposed brewery and village expansion. Those who question or challenge proposed and actual changes to the body and spirit of the village, including dissenting trustees, are piteously dressed down by a handful of village leaders, who also deprive homeowners of an adequate number or scale of public hearings.

Everywhere, the voices of the powerful grow louder; they bring their lawyers and their tax dollars and enough money that zoning fines amount to pocket change. Sadly, it is no different in East Hampton Village. The public meeting of local government, a hard-won legacy of Colonial America and a cornerstone of democracy, is fading here and with it, the kind of village whose charms were both tangible and philosophical.

The tranquil pond, the welcoming yet stately Guild Hall, the eclectic Thomas and Mary Nimmo Moran Studio, and the lovingly preserved historic houses here are fast becoming stage-set tokens, remnants of a place whose unique geography and history draw people to live, work, or summer in East Hampton Village. The voices of those who treasure a slower, smaller, even kinder village are being lost in the drone of construction equipment, the rattle of 18-wheelers, and the condescending tone of village leaders whose vision extends only to the horizon of their campaign fund balance.

Sincerely,

STACEY STOWE

 

Open Meetings
East Hampton Village
October 24, 2021

Dear David:

It was disappointing to read The Star’s account of my public comments at the East Hampton Village Board meeting. The reporter failed to put my comments in any context. For the record, my comments were the fact that the East Hampton Village government totally disregards the 1974 New York State Open Meetings and Freedom of Information laws. The board, the village attorney, and village administrator continue to wantonly ignore the laws. Does The East Hampton Star condone this ongoing egregious behavior?

DAVID GANZ

 

Dangerous Crosswalk
Springs
October 25, 2021

Dear Editor,

I would like to bring to your attention a very dangerous crosswalk located on Springs-Fireplace Road several yards south of a driveway leading to Pepperoni’s Pizza.

On Columbus Day, a child walking a bicycle westward in the crosswalk was nearly struck and injured. He was not visible in the crosswalk because several cars, S.U.V.s, and pickup trucks were backed up in the northbound lane waiting for a vehicle to make a left-hand turn into this driveway. The child had entered the crosswalk from the east side of the road and walked his bicycle between the stopped vehicles. He suddenly appeared in the southbound lane where cars were traveling at about 40 miles per hour. Vehicles were able to swerve, stop, and avoid hitting the child. I suspect the child felt secure because he was in the crosswalk. However, he likely did not realize large vehicles in the northbound lane prevented southbound drivers from seeing him.

One or more of the following changes should be considered: Relocate the crosswalk to a safer location. Dramatically lower the speed limit near the driveway and shopping area from 40 m.p.h. to, perhaps, as low as 20 m.p.h. Install a flashing crosswalk sign. Place a stop sign before the crosswalk on each side of the road. Install a traffic light. Close this driveway. Another one is just up the road.

Changes to this crosswalk must

be made to protect the community’s children.

Sincerely,

WILLIAM J. CHIRICO

 

Joining the Effort
Springs
October 24, 2021

To the Editor:

As head of a group of local citizens, Corridor Watch, engaged in the effort to keep the Springs-Fireplace Road commercial corridor clean and well maintained, I want to thank Mickey’s Carting for its good citizenship. At a meeting of the Springs citizens committee in May, Corridor Watch complained about commercial property owners not cleaning the drag-out of mud and dirt onto Springs-Fireplace Road. A member of the Springs C.A.C. approached Mickey’s and requested that they repair their parking yard in the corridor, and immediately Mickey Valcich stated that they would do so. Work began in September, and the yard is being repaired and drag-out has been significantly reduced.

In September, Mickey came before the Springs C.A.C. and spoke of his company’s cleanup up efforts. During that meeting Corridor Watch mentioned its monthly litter removal program between Grant Avenue and Queen’s Lane and asked for additional volunteers to join in the October cleanup. Mickey immediately volunteered, and on Saturday, Oct. 23, two men from Mickey’s Carting joined three Corridor Watch volunteers and one student from East Hampton High School to clean the road.

Thank you, Mickey’s Carting and East Hampton High School, for joining the effort to keep Springs-Fireplace Road neat and clean. You are setting an example for other commercial enterprises to do the same.

With a new surface and attractive planting and curbing, Springs-Fireplace Road has been improved and is a much more inviting entry to Springs than before, but there is more work to be done. Washington Avenue needs to be paved to prevent mud and dirt from flowing onto the road, and other commercial operators need to improve their parking yards to prevent dirt and dust from clogging the air and the gutters of the road.

The town ordinance needs to be amended to require commercial properties to clean in front of their establishments. A special tax district needs to be set up by businesses using Washington Avenue to pave the road and no further development on that road allowed until this is done.

Again, thank you, Mickey’s Carting, for setting a good example of corporate citizenship.

ROBERT PINE

 

Neglected to Mention
Springs
October 23, 2021

Dear David,

Among the many improvements made by the Suffolk highway department to County Road 41, a.k.a. Springs-Fireplace Road, is a new sign at the North Main Street intersection directing people to the Pollock-Krasner House. But when it first went up a few weeks ago, there was a problem, two, in fact. Not only was Pollock spelled wrong, but the sign neglected to mention that the museum is four miles to the north, not there at the intersection. Following my distress call to the Department of Public Works, swift action was taken — thanks to Bill and Jean — and the correct sign is now in place, for which I’m sincerely grateful.

With best wishes,

HELEN A. HARRISON

 

An Easy Target
Kings Park
October 19, 2021

Dear David,

My name is Diane Pittel. I have known Carla Bell for 50 years when I became friends with her daughter Dayna. I was made aware of Carla being taken advantage of by the skin-care store. I am appalled.

Carla is a very caring and generous person. She has helped me out of a few situations and even provided me with a condo in Florida so I could go see my dying mother.

Carla was an easy target for these swindlers, they should be ashamed of themselves for taking advantage of such a sweet woman.

DIANE PITTEL

 

Taking Advantage
Great Barrington, Mass.
October 22, 2021

Dear David,

I’m writing to you with regard to the 87-year-old woman who was swindled out of $14,000 for beauty products at a store in East Hampton. In my opinion, this is a criminal act, elder abuse, and overstepping the privilege of being a retailer in a small town.

I would like to know what the village plans to do about a company such as this taking advantage of their residents.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and I hope action will be taken so no other innocent people will be taken advantage of.

JENNIFER BROWN

 

Take Advantage
Huntington
October 22, 2021

Dear David,

I was disturbed by the recent article describing the business practices of Le Caprice at 11 Newtown Lane. If the only way they can make their bottom line is to prey on an 87-year-old woman with cognitive decline, then they shouldn’t be in business. These tactics are extremely unethical and manipulative; they take advantage of people who wouldn’t know better. Their strict “no returns” policy casts major doubts on the so-called “effectiveness” of their products.

How can a town with such strict regulations allow a scam like this to continue?

Best regards,

XAVIER DE CARDENAS

 

Long Been Surprised
Water Mill
October 22, 2021

Dear David,

My husband and I have had a home in Water Mill for some 35 years and for the last 15 years are full-time residents. We think The Star is a fine newspaper. I was particularly interested in the article last week regarding Le Caprice.

I go to East Hampton on a regular basis and have always been annoyed by the young men standing outside Le Caprice (named something else before but the same story) trying to tempt women into the store with a sample of their goods. It usually starts with a gratuitous compliment — “You are looking gorgeous today.” I am 71 years old, so we know that is not the case, and even after you say, “No thank you,” they persist until you are well past the store. However, I did not imagine they went so far as to take advantage of an 87-year-old lady!

We all know one way to get to a woman is about the security of her looks, but the best way is through her children! These people are professionals.

I have long been surprised that East Hampton would allow people to hawk their goods on the street, but this situation sounds to me like elderly abuse.

I sincerely hope that you and Mr. Larsen (who ran on a platform of bringing change to East Hampton) pursue this situation and, at the very least, run them out of town.

Sincerely,

MARGARET SOUTHERN

 

Pressure Tactics
Huntington
October 19, 2021

Dear David,

I just read the story about Le Caprice, the cosmetic company that used high-pressure tactics to sell an 87-year-old woman $14,000 worth of goods. The Facebook page about the article talks about others who have been ripped off by them as well. You have to wonder how many other, unassuming elderly or other people have been victim to this same kind of sales siege that we haven’t heard about.

This company is a blight on your beautiful little town and community. Your town fathers need to investigate this and put an end to it. As an “UpIslander,” it certainly has me thinking about strolling through the quaint town for shopping in the future. It was always something I looked forward to.

I guess Covid-19 is not the only virus we need to fear in the Hamptons. Social distancing could work here too.

LORI RAMOS

 

I Have Questions
East Hampton
October 22, 2021

Dear David and Readers,

It has been almost two months since the news that the LongHouse board has fired its executive director, Matko Tomicic. My head spins every time I think how insincere and out of touch the members of the board are toward a man who helped create LongHouse with Jack Lenor Larsen over 25 years ago. As a docent and a member of the education committee, I have come to know the LongHouse staff as family. Matko and Jack were the Siamese twins who created the jewel we are fortunate to have in our backyards. So as a former teacher, I have questions — a lot of questions:

Why? Why was Matko released and in such a cavalier and insensitive way after having been such an accomplished leader at LongHouse?

What? What initiated this firing? Certainly not his competence and knowledge of the foundation he helped create with Jack. Is it true that Jack’s close friend and partner had something to do with Matko’s departure? Let me add, that’s been buzzing around!

What? What is the direction that the board is planning on taking? I worry that LongHouse will become more corporate and therefore less inviting to the donors, artists, and visitors who have found it a great source of creativity, solitude, and strength.

What? What’s this about a “will” and Jack’s wishes for the future? Certainly the board took this into grave consideration several years ago. Wasn’t Matko included in this future vision? If so, what changed the board’s mind? And Jack was aware of this?

Who? Who are the board members who fired Matko? Maybe it wasn’t everyone. I live in the community, support LongHouse, and want to know. We teach our children that they are responsible for their actions. Shouldn’t adults be as well?

Lots of questions and, unfortunately, there have been no answers.

Sincerely,

OLIVIA BROOKS

 

Part of the Family
Montauk
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

I was somewhat heartened, and not the least surprised, at the recent raft of eloquent and heartfelt letters supporting Matko Tomicic, the extraordinary executive director of LongHouse Reserve.

My mother and I met Matko nearly 20 years ago at one of LongHouse’s legendary fabric events, where the staff would offer the most glorious Larsen fabrics for sale to the public. My mother was a huge Jack Lenor Larsen fan, and she and Matko made an instant connection. We became members on the spot, and I have been a donor and occasional docent and volunteer in the years since.

Matko, along with his warm and dedicated staff, has always made me feel like an integral part of the LongHouse family. After any significant absence, I would receive a handwritten note from Matko: “Jessica, dear, we miss seeing you. Do come visit us soon!” That was Matko’s style: an engaging, personal approach.

And so, when I received an email on Oct. 1 introducing a new executive director, it was a “W.T.F.!” moment. I was stunned.

I am sure that Carrie Rebora Barratt is a perfectly lovely individual, but the best thing she could do right now is resign — resign and take the destructive leadership on the board with her. The co-presidents’ recent sad attempt at damage control by having a P.R. firm write a letter for them tells you all you need to know about the myopia that is plaguing the board.

It is not too late to fix this debacle. LongHouse clearly needs a new direction and new leadership, not at the staff level, but at the board level.

Heartsick and angry in Montauk,

JESSICA JAMES

 

Jewel in the Crown
East Hampton
October 21, 2021

Dear Editor:

My family, from generation to generation, has enjoyed over 20 years of delight and respite from daily life pressures whenever we have visited that jewel in the crown of East Hampton: LongHouse.

Alas, in an email, members were told that there would be a new director of operations at LongHouse, someone with a background in the New York City arts scene. No mention was made of the former director, Matko Tomicic, who had long partnered with Jack Lenor Larsen to bring to fruition the fulfillment of Jack’s evolving blueprint for his paradise on Hand’s Creek Road.

When I heard of this sudden transfer of directorship, I was so personally pained and taken aback, I could not believe it. Mr. Tomicic was an integral part of the reason so many people could enjoy the LongHouse experience. His welcoming manner to all, not just the rich and famous, infused a warmth of inclusiveness as one wandered through the trails. On his constant surveillance of the grounds, he often encountered visitors and enthusiastically chatted with them about their response to the surroundings. Matko was, along with Jack, the heartbeat of what made this place so inviting.

My fantasy is that Matko will return to Longhouse. How awful it will be if this precious place evolves into an interesting sculpture garden destination replete with avant garde features but lacking the unique charm and serenity that, at this juncture, only those intimately connected with its origins could maintain.

ELAINE WEISS

 

Your Home
Amagansett
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

Ownership is a state or fact of exclusive rights of control over property. Right? Wrong. As the pandemic is showing us, it is far from it.

If you are a homeowner, either outright or in tandem with a financing institution via a mortgage, you assume you have a set of privileges that accompany the contract of purchase, as well as obligations due to the same. No, not really.

You worked hard, saved, and bought the house, yes with the help of the bank, but you have your place. Well done, you are living the American Dream. Not so fast.

Life happens, and your circumstances change. No, you really don’t want to open that can of worms (high cost of living, insufficient wages, and so on). What to do?

To be able to keep the dream alive you decide to rent the house. No, not seasonally — you are still a dreamer. You will help a local worker, keep rent sensible, and work hard to develop your career to be able to return to your home. Contract signed, stipulation for no renewal included, following the law. Sweet dreams. Initially.

Time to regain possession of your house. Notice given. Wait? What? Insufficient notice? Yet, another can of worms we won’t pry open right now. Another notice given. Nope, that won’t work either. We still agree it’s your house; after all, you are paying the mortgage and the taxes and have that lovely contract of purchase.

Lease expired. As you are unable to exercise your right of ownership, and the tenants have decided to stop paying the rent, you try everything including reaching out to family, friends, politicians (local and state), and finally, the bank. Your home is still yours. No one is able to offer sensible and effective advice. Another can of worms to ponder over in your free time?

You hire a lawyer and proceed with court filings, still hopeful but the dream is now a nightmare.

Happy Halloween,

EWA PANE

 

We Are Angry
Montauk
October 22, 2021

To the Editor,

I forgot to clarify the date of the letter Bishop John Barres claims to have sent dismissing our beloved priests at St. Therese of Lisieux in Montauk. The bishop claims to have sent a letter dismissing the priests. He claims to have sent that letter Sept. 22 2020, more than a year ago. As I have said, Father Edward and Father Bob spent a considerable amount of money refurbishing the rectory, including installing air-conditioning. They would never have done that, had they been notified of their dismissal a year later.

Father Edward is a consultant at CNN; He had expressed some reservations about decisions made by a group of American Bishops. Father Edward is in complete accord with Pope Francis. Inclusion and communication within the church and with other faiths are the Pope’s goals.

The hubris of this bishop is astounding. We, as a people of faith, are angry; we expected honesty from this man at the very least. How can he explain the letter we never got — or his silence?

This is a scourge in our Church. We Catholics are persecuting ourselves.

VIVIENNE WILKINSON

 

Cars Unlocked?
Plainview
October 24, 2021

To the Editor,

What’s wrong with some of the people who live in Springs? (I sure hope the residents of East Hampton, Southampton, Montauk, Amagansett, Wainscott, Water Mill, Sagaponack, Bridgehampton, and Sag Harbor are smarter.)

Why have at least seven Springs residents (with at least three of them old enough to know better at ages 48, 56, and 48) been unwise and foolish (Dare I say “stupid” or “dumb”?) enough to have left their cars unlocked? They suffered thefts of at least $900 cash, at least two debit cards, at least three credit cards, an insurance card, and other valuables. Although, if any of these items were truly “valuable,” would a sane person have left them inside an unlocked car? Not to mention the hundreds or thousands of dollars of unauthorized purchases made with these too-easily-stolen credit cards.

Of course, some drivers do even worse things with their unlocked cars: Some leave the keys inside the cars, some leave the engines running, and some even leave their supposedly-precious babies and toddlers in the backseat of their unlocked, running cars while they go inside a store to buy some relatively unimportant item!

But back to these too-lazy-to-lock-the-car drivers — who were lucky that their cars were only burgled, but not stolen. Car thieves often speed and crash, causing damage not only to the stolen cars, but also to the property and even bodies of innocent crash victims.

Just last week, a Bluepoint car thief (fleeing pursuing Suffolk police) crashed into a 19-year-old Medford woman’s car, killing her. If (and only if) it turns out that the theft of the stolen pickup truck had been enabled by the truck’s owner having left the vehicle unlocked, I would want that vehicle owner criminally charged with having been an “accessory before the fact” in the theft and subsequent fatal crash.

Any dissenting opinions — including from Springs residents wise enough to always lock their cars?

RICHARD SIEGELMAN

 

Simply Untrue
Southampton
October 23, 2021

Dear Editor,

As the co-chairman of the Sustainable Southampton Green Advisory Committee, I have been an active participant in East Hampton’s monthly energy sustainability committee meetings for several years. In fact, I’m pleased to mention that East Hampton committee members attend Southampton meetings as well. We have benefited from the cooperation, learning from each other, while independently pursuing issues, policies, and programs that support our common goal of sourcing 100 percent of our electricity from renewables.

I am writing solely to set the record straight regarding our hard work extending over many years that led to the development of the community choice aggregation, or C.C.A., program in Southampton. C.C.A. is a program that we know will deliver renewable energy and savings to Southampton residents. We have initiated our first project and anticipate many more renewable energy generation projects under the C.C.A. umbrella, many of which are planned for the coming year and will put money in the pockets of our neediest residents.

I’m surprised by misrepresentations made during last Thursday’s League of Women Voters debate concerning Southampton’s C.C.A. program. The 4.5-megawatt C.C.A. community solar project was detailed in Southampton Town’s press release sent to East Hampton on Oct. 13. The story was then carried by two major media outlets on Oct. 17 and 19.

In the debate between the town supervisor candidates, incumbent Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc stated, “There is no way you can have C.C.A. on Long Island.” That remark is simply untrue.

In an Oct. 12 meeting, the Southampton Town Board unanimously approved a contract with a developer to build a C.C.A. community solar array on its north sea landfill. The developer will pay the town $60,000 annually, plus a 2 percent “accelerator” each year, to lease the land. In addition, free bill credits will be distributed to residents and municipal accounts via the town’s C.C.A. program called Choice Community Power.

Supervisor Van Scoyoc also said that “Southampton actually hired somebody, an outside contractor, to put together their plan so they paid them for a plan they can’t implement.” The only correct statement in his remarks was that the Town of Southampton did execute a contract with Joule Community Power to be its C.C.A. administrator in 2019.

Significantly, there is no cost to the town, and the town has launched its C.C.A. program. The first element will involve soliciting qualified members of the community to sign up to receive free electric bill credits which will amount to approximately 10 percent of their annual PSEG Long Island bill for the duration of the contract with the developer, which is expected to extend for 20 years. All of this information was detailed in the press release and subsequent news articles in the press, and can be found on the town’s website at southamptontownny.gov/1413/press — cca.

We are proud to be among the first communities on Long Island to create an effective C.C.A. program that will deliver renewable energy at significant savings for Southampton residents.

DIETER VON LEHSTEN

 

Have Little Effect
Amagansett
October 21, 2021

Dear Editor,

When East Hampton Airport was first established it was a small operation serving a few people in a sparsely populated area in a sparsely populated town. Times have changed. The density of the population has increased dramatically and the type of aircraft has changed. Now the lives of many people are adversely affected by the noise of jets and helicopters. It is a case of the convenience and pleasure of a few taking precedence over the rightful enjoyment of peace and quiet of the many.

If the airport is closed from dusk to dawn, this would have little effect in the summer, when planes could fly from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., times when most people are sleeping and dining.

Closing the airport would stop this fantastic privilege of the few to make misery of the lives of many.

Sincerely,

ANNE MITTENDORF

 

Failures of the Board
Springs
October 21, 2021

To the Editor,

Your recent Editorial “Time For Change” hit the mark as usual. The best place to start would be to throw out the current local political machine that seems to be dominated by special interest groups. There are so many topics, I’m not sure I can get to them all, but will try and be brief (maybe not successfully).

First, and most important, the airport should clearly be completely closed. The current suggestion of it being returned to “just a private airport” that would benefit only a few hundred residents, while still imposing the vast majority of the current problems on the other 99.8 percent makes no sense. Perhaps a voter referendum would make sense for such an important issue instead of more studies?

What are those problems? Air and water contamination from the 100,000s of gallons of leaded gas that would continue to be sold there. Noise complaints that probably top the 50,000 recorded before the pandemic would still be a huge issue — small planes accounted for 40 percent of all noise complaints before and that number is probably higher with all the “recreational” pilot usage now. Why should thousands of homes still be subjected to all this noise to benefit a few hundred at best? Also, the airport is responsible for 6 percent of the town’s emissions, the ones it supposedly wants to reduce 100 percent? There is an easy way to start to reduce those emissions: Close the airport!

The economic benefits are negligible from the airport as it probably accounts for less than 1 percent of the town’s gross domestic product and perhaps a few dozen full-time jobs, not the 800 (?) as some pro-airport special interest groups would have you believe. If closed, its 600 acres could be put to use in a handful of ways to actually improve the town; areas such as solar and affordable housing would be two obvious choices that the town board has failed at so far.

Closing the airport would also actually save the town money by not having to spend tens of millions for future plots for affordable housing. Installing a significant solar farm can only be done if the airport is closed, but it could generate $1 million in lease income a year for the town while also providing below-market green electricity for thousands of residents. If still open as a small private airport, it will likely become a financial drain on the town as the small number of users won’t cover its upkeep.

Building development that the majority of the town board refuses to take the simplest steps to rein in. Of course, when it comes to affordable housing, the town board has done very little in the last 10 years — 100 units — while thousands of other homes have been built without upgrading our basic infrastructure to support them?

Wasteful spending of preservation fund money to benefit a few wealthy landowners? The $28 million for farmland bordering a public parking lot and the train tracks in Amagansett is the worst recent example (but not the only) if it is approved. The town paid one-third of the price per acre for two other purchases with its own money in the last year for affordable housing (near Town Hall) and a new senior center; both are not that far from the farmland.

Of course, when it comes to the C.P.F., the sky is the limit. Perhaps the town board should consider using this money instead to buy Montauk Airport? It would probably be cheaper and make a real difference for the town, as opposed to this farmland purchase that will mainly benefit one of the town’s wealthiest families.

Truck Beach — the supervisor still wants to pursue more lawsuits after years of wasteful lawsuits already for a few dozen people who apparently can only get on the beach by truck? These people can’t walk? If so, then buy a $65 New York State park pass for the state beach only a few miles away.

As someone with a small child, I avoided that beach because of the speeding driving of some of these “fishermen.” If there is going to be any more money thrown at this area, it should be for more regular parking for all — there are only 30 parking spots at this beach? Maybe they can figure out how to use the C.P.F. for that.

The town board has completely failed in terms of putting a much-needed cell tower in Springs for six years while it sued its own fire department? The work never seems to stop if you are a lawyer for East Hampton. The obvious solution at the Girl Scout camp was ignored this entire time. Perhaps a special interest group of a few politically well-connected neighbors of the fire department had some sway?

In the end, though, how this significant safety issue has been ignored for so long is mind boggling — I’ve been writing to the town board for four years now about it with barely a response. The recent excuse that our area’s problems in terms of cell service are due to the pandemic are shameless. This is on both the supervisor and the local rep (Kathee Burke-Gonzalez) for the area. Neither should be re-elected just on this one issue, in my opinion.

South Fork Wind, a boondoggle that is the king of special interest group examples — a large hedge fund will get a windfall of $500 million for doing very little if it goes through, so it is great that the majority of our town board has pushed so hard for it. All Long Island ratepayers though will be overcharged roughly $1.4 billion if it is passed — it will cost 2.4 times more per kilowatt hour than for the exact same type of renewable electricity as the Sunrise Offshore Wind project will provide; that project will be seven times larger and built by the same developers, at the same location, at the exact same time? So do we really need South Fork and its power line going through an area that already has water contamination issues?

At least the town squeezed that $28 million out of them, though. Ironically, the town board and the political machine vilified people like Jeff Bragman and Rick Drew for asking sensible questions about this project that probably caused the developer to up its fee from the almost-approved $8 million originally! Thank you for asking a few questions and not blindly following the pack of faux environ-mentalists.

Hopefully, with a new governor, this blatant patronage project that is years behind schedule and that shouldn’t have been approved of in the first place, will get shelved.

Even if special interests aren’t involved, the majority of the current board has a hard time doing anything of merit in other areas too: The infestation of pine beetles that was written about a few weeks ago is another prime example of the failure of the board to take meaningful action when it matters. Now as thousands of more trees die, the town and the state have given up on our area.

Sustainability: While the town talks a good game with it pledges and declarations, it has done next to nothing to actually reduce emissions. They are higher than they were when they claimed they would reduce them by 100 percent in 2014. They only take the smallest of steps — if there is a New York State grant involved — otherwise forget about spending anything from the town’s own $85 million budget. Sadly, had they taken steps like installing solar, LED streetlights, buying electric vehicles, installing heat pumps, they would have saved taxpayers money in the long run, in addition to helping the environment. While many other towns have taken these common-sense steps years ago, ours simply makes grand statements. The hypocrisy is a bit hard to take as the signs of climate change are all around us.

For these reasons, we need new political leadership and the Independence Party has three candidates who are all well qualified who deserve consideration. For a change, there are realistic alternatives to the broken two-party system.

BRAD BROOKS

 

Whatever It Wants
East Hampton
October 24, 2021

Dear Reader,

The discordance of our local-election prelude is largely due to sour notes added to the score by power-needy conspirators.

The E.H. Dems and several town leaders march to the stale madrigal of “Loyalty to the Board Above Loyalty to the People,” pooh-poohing those they serve, those they act for, those who pay their salaries.

One off-key trill was provided by the C.E.O. of the helicopter company Blade, Rob Wiesenthal, the billionaire who charm-offended Montauk citizens at their airport meeting; he claimed that hundreds of jobs will be lost if the town airport closes, referring, of course, to the butlers and personal shoppers of the 1 percent who might no longer fly here in his copters. (If the airport remains open with only emergency copters, as seems likely, Blade will doubtless sue the town, which could nudge the majority of the current board to cave and give big money whatever it wants.)

And there’s this cringe-inducing clinker: A captain-of-industry Floridian friend of a town board member, a man whose bio calls him an “articulate analyst, focused on strategy counseling,” spat vile and unfounded vitriol onto social media, about a candidate his East Hampton friend doesn’t support. (Articulate analytical strategy? Hmm.)

Our public representatives are duty bound to serve their people. They must live up to their oaths and help us live up to the challenges we all face. They must orchestrate those notes which place the well-being of their constituents above party hierarchies, worn-out clutches of loyalty, front-page photo-ops, and the rabid convenience of big money.

Sincerely,

PATRICIA HOPE

 

Double-Edged Scam
East Hampton
October 24, 2021

David,

In 1984 we moved to Wainscott just off the airport road. The gun club was our main concern for noise. No one talked about the airport because there was hardly any traffic except for some joy-riders on the weekend. Some friends had small planes, and occasionally we took short trips. In 2000, I was showing a piece of land to a client on Green Hollow Road, a small jet flew over the property and then another and another and another. We decided to count the planes, and, in the course of 30 minutes, we counted 10 planes. The deal was over, but I was suddenly aware about the way the airport had changed.

This sleepy, rarely used operation was now booming with small jet traffic. The users were no longer the locals who I knew had frequented it before. The noise level from the planes was striking. Relentless, loud, unnerving.

I grew up in Far Rockaway, directly under the overseas flight patterns for Idlewild, which became J.F.K. in 1963. I grew up thinking that fresh air always had a tinge of airplane fuel in it. It wasn’t intoxicating when air traffic increased exponentially and planes became bigger and noisier. The Queens community raised a huge uproar. It fell on deaf ears, and the community was told to “get a life.”

It doesn’t seem like there is a good argument for keeping the airport open besides the fact that it already exists.

The plan to close and reopen the airport is a double-edged scam solution. Agreeing on a program that will satisfy the community could take years of negotiations before they reach an agreement. Once the airport is reopened, there is no way the new entity will comply with the terms of the agreement, if it’s even possible to do so (like the amended Voting Rights Act).

The problem with the East Hampton Airport is that it no longer is what it was and what it is no longer works for the community. Its clientele is miniscule and the workforce it creates is negligible. There is no real argument for keeping the airport and that’s the problem. Anything that anyone wants to make a case about only requires money and persistence. Truth is always the missing ingredient in our political universe.

NEIL HAUSIG

 

The Same Ones
East Hampton
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

The people who want to keep the airport open with business as usual are the same ones bombing their lawns with pesticides. Sadly clueless.

SCOTT BLUEDORN

 

False Information
Wainscott
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

I have appreciated the coverage in The Star regarding the airport but was dismayed to see the advertisement from the East Hampton Community Alliance on Oct. 14 on page B3, which contained significant false information.

The advertisement states, “By adopting routes that are entirely over ocean to and from East Hampton Airport, flights over residential areas can be eliminated by nearly 100 percent.” KHTO is surrounded by land on all sides. It is self-evident that it is impossible to set routes that are “entirely over ocean” when aircraft are traveling to a land-bound airfield.

This so-called “water route” the aircraft lobby is trying to sell to the town board takes helicopters and planes over Georgica Pond but the pond is not “ocean” and is surrounded by the very impacted residential areas that the alliance pretends do not exist. The fact is that there is no route which can eliminate flights over the homes of our community by “nearly 100 percent,” as the ad asserts. This statement is false, and The Star should not provide a platform for the Alliance to spread misinformation.

Everyone should also understand that curfews are no solution to this problem. Those of us living under the flight path have been bombarded by helicopter and plane noise day and night. Those not under one of these flight paths do not know what it is like to live with the constant roar and trembling the helicopters and planes bring — intruding upon our daily activities and stealing the tranquility for which we came to East Hampton. Having our activities interrupted by this noise during the day is just as bad as being awoken late at night or early in the morning. Of course, on their travels the aircraft inflict the same noise on our neighbors from New York City all the way out to the East End.

Shuttling New Yorkers to the Hamptons by plane and helicopter is clearly a lucrative business. Otherwise, there would be no reason to peddle falsehoods in full-page ads. But the payout to the aviation companies comes at the particular expense of the residents of East Hampton who deserve skies and ponds, aquifers, and lands, free from the environmental contamination and noise pollution the helicopters and planes bring. Enough is enough. Close the airport now!

AMY RIFKIND

 

Electric Mobility
East Hampton
October 22, 2021

To the Editor:

Advertising about what to do about our airport is exploding in print, as well as in posters on street corners. Here is my two cents’ worth on the subject, as briefly as I can make it.

The acknowledged problems with the airport are noise and pollution. The solution to both problems is approaching quickly and it is not “repurposing” or closing the airport. It is electric propulsion, which is quiet and clean. Just as the automotive industry is rapidly transitioning its product lines to electric cars and trucks, the aviation industry is also responding aggressively to the demands posed by climate change and community pressure, as well as military needs.

The aviation industry has a name for it: advanced air mobility, and it is a fast-growing segment of the industry. (See: Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine, Sept. 13-26, pages 48 to 61, “Advanced Air Mobility Is Emerging as a Multifaceted Industry.” Also: Air & Space magazine, a Smithsonian publication, Nov. 2021 issue, pages 55 to 61, “The Future Is Electric, and Air Taxis Are in It.”)

Pie in the sky? Not so. Prototype electric airplanes and helicopters (and hybrid combinations thereof) are flying, and orders are being placed now. According to the above-cited Aviation Week article, the helicopter service provider Blade (a frequent user of our airport and target of complaints) has placed options with Eve Air Mobility to buy 60 electric helicopters and with Wisk Aero for another 50. United Airlines has placed orders with Archer Aviation for 200 electric commuter aircraft. American Airlines has pre-orders in for 250 electric aircraft from Vertical Aerospace. And Joby Aviation has raised $1.845 billion to fund development of its entry in the electric aircraft market.

I would speculate that the apparently well-funded push to quickly close the airport is motivated more by the profit potential in “repurposing” (i.e., development) of the 600-acre airport property than by concern about the noise or pollution issues, both of which will go away with the transition to electric aircraft.

Protection of our environment and reversal of ongoing climate change are vital issues but need to be addressed with evenhanded attention to ground and air mobility. The bumper-to-bumper parade of cars and trucks on Route 27, from Hampton Bays to Montauk, day in and day out, is a graphic demonstration of choked ground mobility and resultant air pollution. The transition from noisy, polluting fossil-fueled engines to clean, quiet electric motors can be accelerated by town support for installation of battery-charging stations for automobiles and trucks, at appropriate locations within the town, as well as for aircraft at our airport. This is an opportunity for our town board to take a leadership role in the state and country by encouraging the transition to electric-powered mobility on the ground and in the air. And by the way, increased utilization of a fully electrified Long Island Rail Road is also part of the solution.

JOHN I. ERDOS

 

No Safe Level
Noyac
October 25, 2021

Dear Editor

It’s astonishing that the town board has concluded that residents’ concerns about the airport are solely about noise. It’s as if the re-envisioning project never happened, and as if human health and that of our environment is of no concern to the town.

There is noise aplenty, of course, with a 43 percent increase in jets year to date (compared to same period 2019), but board members appear unconcerned about the airport’s consequences on human health, not only from noise but from the far more dangerous particulate matter we are doused in daily from aircraft carbon and lead emissions. We know carbon is choking the planet and we know particulate matter is capable of gravely harming human health, as it is absorbed through the nose and mouth, can enter the bloodstream and settle in our lungs and tissues. The World Health Organization has advised that there is no safe level of particulate matter.

Lead has been recognized since the 1970s to be toxic, especially harmful to children under 5 years, and studies have linked lead to the development of early dementia in adults. At KHTO, the aviation fuel farm is sited at possibly the worst location on the town, above the aquifer. By the end of September this year, 1,002,379 gallons of fuel had been delivered (far more than in 2019), and not a drop has been spilled? Highly unlikely. Remember the Wainscott water contamination and the 47-acre Superfund site now at the airport. Didn’t the Flint, Mich., water catastrophe demonstrate that prevention is better than dealing with a major public health crisis?

Possible solutions to airport problems cited at the recent work session appear now to be limited only to curfews and access restrictions. Such actions have failed spectacularly, not only here but nationwide and globally, and will unlikely meet the expectations for “significant change” demanded by severely impacted residents.

The board is concerned about protecting Montauk residents in the unlikely (largely unsubstantiated) event there would be major diversion of aircraft to Montauk if KHTO were to close, but the board demonstrates no such concern for the severely impacted residents in the village, Wainscott, others in the vicinity of KHTO or for their closest neighbors in Southampton and the North Fork. Many of those residents have suffered for decades from East Hampton’s aircraft pollution, yet the board’s concern shines only on Montauk, and only on noise. It is election time, but there seems there may be something else at play here. 

Thank you,

PATRICIA CURRIE

 

Health and Safety
Wainscott
October 25, 2021

Gut-punched. Allegedly, the town board is leaning toward keeping the airport open.

They disregarded the concern of the thousands of residents impacted in communities locally, nearby, and far away, just so a smaller number of elites can continue affecting the health and safety of those of us on the ground.

It wasn’t bad enough that Wainscott residents were drinking contaminated water from chemicals that leached from the airport. When was it known, and who knew it and did nothing?

So, they will continue to allow the pollution in a smaller amount just to allow a small number of “local pilots,” most who are not town residents, to continue disturbing residents with low-flying noise and danger, totally disregarding the threat to our drinking water supply by not stopping it.

They use 110-octane-leaded aviation fuel, lying that they will switch to unleaded gas. This cannot be without damage to the valve seats and the engines, unless they are completely overhauled, costing thousands of dollars. I had to do that 20 years ago.

It doesn’t take Einstein to figure out why the board caved? We, the majority, do not have enough horsepower.

Yours truly,

ARTHUR J. FRENCH

 

Took Real Guts
Montauk
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

As you may be aware, there is a great deal of Montauk community concern regarding the possible closure of the East Hampton Airport.

Montauk United held a meeting last Sunday at the firehouse where several speakers presented information that made it clear to many there that if the East Hampton airport closes, Montauk could be in for a huge increase in traffic, both in the skies through primarily helicopters and on our roads heading west from Montauk to East Hampton on Friday, and vice versa on Sundays. Having been on three town-sponsored listening webinars regarding the airport the month prior, it’s clear it’s been a never-ending problem throughout the town.

It was a well-attended outdoor meeting in the Fire Department vehicle bay with, I think, close to 400 people in attendance. Social distancing rules and Covid precautions were applied. I actually live-streamed most of the event on Facebook for those I knew who could not attend. The town board was invited, but apparently a conflicting memorial service farther west kept most west of the stretch.

Except for Jeff Bragman. Jeff got there late, having also attended the memorial, and then walked into the event at about the time his idea for an airport holiday was being excoriated by a podium speaker. Not only did he sit and listen to his harshest critics, he then asked to speak to try to explain his position. Whether you agreed with his position or not, I believe it took real guts for him to come to Montauk and not shy away from a difficult conversation.

I’ve known Jeff Bragman for a few years now and have always found him to be thoughtful, deliberate, and reasoned. I respect the fact that he always listens — and does not bully or disrespect those who disagree with him. I believe his concern for Montauk is real, as he has spoken up on issues affecting Montauk, such as Deepwater Wind and Montauk’s hamlet plan. He was also the only town board member who spoke up on the Duryea’s debacle.

While we don’t agree on the airport issue, if there is a way for the town board to find common ground and help us in Montauk so the airport problem doesn’t just move farther east, he’s the one I would trust most to try.

Sincerely,

BONNIE BRADY

 

Evading the Issue
East Hampton
October 24, 2021

Dear David,

Residents of East Hampton and across Long Island have waited two decades for the town to regain local control of the airport in order to stop the noise, air, and water pollution that have destroyed our quality of life and impacted our health, and driven many to leave the area. For almost two years, Supervisor Van Scoyoc has been threatening “airport closure and alternate uses for the property.” But now he’s evading the issue and talking curfews, an approach that has failed in the past and will provide minuscule relief.

At the recent work session, the board agreed to temporarily close the airport and re-open it. Noise and air traffic diversion were their only concerns. The so-called “suite of restrictions” was not defined. Weren’t the consultants’ reports supposed to inform decisions? What happened to the economic, environmental, planning and zoning, and air quality studies? Is it okay to allow the 1 percent to upend the lives of everyone else?

It is time for a bold new approach to the scourge that has robbed us of our quality of life and so much more. Kudos to Jeff Bragman for suggesting a way forward that will bring immediate relief for constituents and eliminate most CO2 emissions. The supervisor calls Councilman Bragman’s proposed one-year pause banning jets, helicopters, seaplanes, and turboprops “dangerous and reckless.” One could more accurately describe as dangerous and reckless the town board’s ignoring the serious public health, safety, and environmental impacts of KHTO.

How can the board continue to disregard these concerns? Just this week, Lancet, the top medical journal, warned, “Inaction on climate change imperils millions of lives, worsening heat and respiratory illness and spreading infectious disease.” The town’s “climate emergency” declaration rings hollow since no action was proposed to mitigate the serious environmental and public health impacts of the airport. To the contrary, the town will continue to enable the fixed-base operator (the airport operator who contributed to Mr. Van Scoyoc’s election campaign) to sell one million gallons of fossil fuel annually; fossil fuels are the known cause of global warming.

Mr. Van Scoyoc recently stated nothing had changed over the last five years. This just isn’t the case. As one who experiences daily low-flying aircraft at altitudes of 500 to 700 feet over my home, I can attest to the exponential growth of large jets; and there’s the town’s declared “climate emergency” that was intended to inform all policy decisions, a New York State Superfund site at the airport, and Wainscott residents drinking contaminated water.

Those of us who have worked tirelessly over many years to find solutions to the harmful effects of flight operations at KHTO have lost confidence in the town leadership. Their plan amounts to no plan at all. As they obfuscate and kick the can down the road, it is the citizens who will pay the price with our health and safety — and the planet — with continued warming. If you think this is responsible governance, think again.

It is time for change at Town Hall. Vote for Jeff Bragman and John Whelan. They have proven to be ethical, dedicated public servants who genuinely listen to residents and have the ability, relevant professional experience, desire, and vision to help solve the town’s multiple complex challenges.

SHERYL GOLD

 

There Is an Alternative
Wainscott
October 25, 2021

Dear David:

It is with great sadness that I must report that local politicians I have supported in the past have become the party of Sikorsky helicopters, Dirtbag Beach, $80 Cobb salads (Duryea’s Lobster Deck), a breakdown in code enforcement, and a true lack of backbone when it comes to preserving a fragile quality of life for local people.

It seems that the deliberative process of government we should have has ceased in favor of a majority rule “my way or the highway” direction taken by the majority party in town government. It was rampant during the Schneiderman and Wilkinson administrations, and now it is fully recognizable in the Van Scoyoc board.

Thankfully, there is an alternative. I’ve known both Jeff Bragman and John Whelan for more than two decades. And while I’ve not always agreed with their positions on all matters of importance to East Hampton, I’ve found both to possess the qualities leaders should demonstrate: fairness, an ability to listen to differing points of view without rancor, and the backbone to stand up to those who put profit for few above quality of life for many.

As a former chairman of the East Hampton Town Open Space Advisory Committee (in the Lester administration) it hurts me to see open space purchases being partnered with and benefiting wealthy neighboring property owners when there are significant large parcels still to be targeted and acquired.

As former vice-chairman of an East Hampton Airport Noise Advisory Committee (Cantwell administration), it makes me sick to my stomach to see the current supervisor follow a middle-of-the-road approach to the problem of dangerous and deafening helicopters and jets and their trifecta: pollute, profit, and litigate. This approach has already failed once at the airport. It will fail again.

It is clearly time for a leadership change in East Hampton town government.

I have every confidence that, when elected, Jeff Bragman and John Whelan will put East Hampton back on a path to civility, good planning, and better quality of life for full-time residents.

Yours truly,

TOM MACNIVEN

 

What Is So Difficult?
Amagansett
October 25, 2021

Dear Mr. Rattray,

We’ve recently established that I have hearing loss on the left side due to the presence of a benign tumor — an acoustic neuroma — sitting atop my auditory nerve inside that quadrant of my skull. No, I don’t have headaches or loss of balance because of this condition, but thanks for asking. But there has been one “symptom” of the condition that I feel compelled to report now.

I’ve been talking to myself more frequently lately. And not simply blurting out phrases like, “Oh, shit, I forgot to pick up the carrots!” or “Better get gas!” or “Can’t believe Tiffany said that!” I’m talking (to myself) about more complex things. Issues.

But here’s where it gets dicey for me: Because of the hearing loss, I have to speak louder, to hear what I’m saying. Otherwise, I have to ask myself to repeat something, which is ridiculous. For example, if I ask myself a question, and I can’t hear the question, how could I possibly answer it? Let me help you with that one, Mr. Rattray: I couldn’t. I’d have to repeat the question, louder.

Example? After watching one of the local televised candidate debates (yes, had to turn up the volume), and the equivocating response to the airport closure issue on the part of someone whom I otherwise like and respect, I was forced to change the channel and watch the season finale of “Ted Lasso” again. And after that, I started talking to myself, again.

So far, no problem, right? Wrong. The problems start with I’m talking to myself in public — maybe on the sidewalk or in the supermarket — where people can hear me. Hear me talking loudly. It’s a matter of perception, really. Sometimes someone will assume I’m talking to them, and say, “Excuse me? Are you talking to me?” And I have to reply, “No, I’m talking to myself,” which some will interpret as a wiseass remark and shove my shopping cart backward into my stomach. Or just walk away in disgust. Other people have simply assumed that I have some form of schizophrenia, or Tourette syndrome. You can tell by the sideways look, a roll of the eyes, or looking the other way. (Am I being paranoid?) Anyway, I don’t have those conditions or syndromes. I have other conditions. Questions really, which I express to myself. Loudly. Like, “What is so difficult about closing the East Hampton Airport for a period long enough to actually measure the impact on our residents, our airborne environment, and on air traffic to other airports in our region?”

Is this letter, therefore, a cry for help, Mr. Rattray? No, it’s not. It’s just another opportunity to quietly type my self-talk into a MacBook Air and send it to The Star. But should you overhear me asking the aforementioned question, loudly, to no one in particular, feel free to answer.

We did that early voting thing on Saturday. It’s always a satisfying experience, don’t you think? You’re with your fellow citizens; maybe you can guess what they believe, how they would vote, but nobody’s saying. The mood is congenial. We can vote however we want. What a great country! (Usually.) I got in the half-booth and carefully filled in the little circles, trying to stay inside the line. And I kept my mouth shut.

Close it for a while. Try the quiet for a change.

LYLE GREENFIELD

 

We Listen to All
East Hampton
October 21, 2021

Dear David,

I hesitated at first to address the election.

I know all three supe candidates. Two always answered my emails. One sings pretty good karaoke; we have never discussed politics.

That said, I have to tell the truth, which is my thing. Not always the popular path, but nonetheless it is who I am. Mind you, I choose according to who I believe will get the job done.

As some of you know because you’ve been to my house, we listen to all candidates as a neighborhood. My long letters for years and recently have centered around aquifer protection and ending sand mining, which damages our drinking water supply. The present town board has stepped up tremendously to do something about that. We may just get that sand mine shut down yet! Peter Van Scoyoc listened, as did Jeff Bragman and the rest of the members of the town board. When we had speeders and cut-through traffic on our small road, David Lys addressed the need for stop signs, which were immediately installed. More than that, these guys know our hood, the Bone, as the kids call it. That matters, to know your constituents and what they need. What we’re fighting for all these years for everyone: safe roads, clean water, open space, saving our community, and local issues like commercial fishing and beach access.

While you argue about Zoom debates and throw stones when you don’t know what people are dealing with in their lives (and politicians are people), you lose me. I wish you all good luck in the upcoming election. I will be voting for who has been steadfast and whose door was always open.

Sincerely,

NANCI LAGARENNE

 

Only Want to Win
Springs
October 22, 2021

Dear Editor:

We’re going to vote for town government this Election Day because . . . um, darned if I know. Let’s see.

The Republicans seem to be nonexistent. The Dems only want to win and, as always, are willing to dispose of their best. The candidates snipe and spit at each other with visions that differ by just degrees while insinuating corruption. They blame popular bogeymen, like Covid and climate change, for everything they haven’t done. Their solutions are tired slogans, like affordable housing and wind energy. Experts and unending studies take the place of local knowledge and common sense.

The trustees are so gullible they’re willing to fill our waters with farmed kelp. Maybe they don’t know kelp isn’t natural to our harbors. Maybe they don’t care. Instead of a decision we’re told they’ll try to put it elsewhere and hope no one complains. We’ve got a rebuilt Springs-Fireplace Road that Nassau County would be proud of and Suffolk water mains spreading like fungus. And what is Montauk? Though we’re sure famous, we’re sure not special and that’s what we feared most. Actually we’re just another place, overbuilt, overpriced, obsessed with the concerns of wealth.

East Hampton isn’t the same, we all know that, and I’m not going to argue with anyone’s view of what change means to them; however, I don’t think anyone will say it’s better today than yesterday. I wonder if any candidate is worth our vote? Doesn’t seem so. Too bad for us.

BRAD LOEWEN

 

‘Their’ Beach
Springs
October 23, 2021

Dear Editor,

The beaches in our town are our most cherished places. Growing up here the beaches have been such an important part of my life and for my children who grew up on Napeague Beach. I have spent the past several years fighting to maintain access for everyone at this beach and was incredibly disappointed when the recent ruling declared this beach private. How incredibly selfish of these homeowners to take away something that has meant so much to the locals for so many years.

I taught my children at a very young age how important it is to share and to have to tell them that these homeowners are unwilling to share “their” beach with the locals is an utter disgrace. I will be casting my vote on Nov. 2 for candidates who support the immediate and swift condemnation of this beach. If it is not condemned, it sets a very dangerous precedent. More wealthy waterfront homeowners will follow suit and more beaches will be privatized. Even if you don’t access Napeague Beach, your beach is next. Vote for candidates who support condemnation.

Regards,

NICOLE CASTILLO

 

Scattered All Over
East Hampton
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

On Thursday I completed a month-long cross-country driving excursion. Among other things, it was a great way to regain perspective on our local politics.

The first thing I noticed as I drove toward East Hampton from Bridgehampton is that Kathee Burke-Gonzalez’s people don’t know where Southampton Town ends and East Hampton Town begins. There were her campaign signs scattered all over the east side of Bridgehampton and throughout Sagaponack.

As I continued on into East Hampton Town it became clear that there was trouble in the formerly united Democratic candidates’ front. In the primary, the three candidates running had their signs clustered together giving the appearance of unity. Now I saw that their signs are scattered any which way, with Kathee’s signs posted as stand-alone pleas. Could there be trouble in paradise? That’s my takeaway.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

NANCY R. PEPPARD

 

Honor to Serve
East Hampton
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

I want to take this opportunity to thank our community for the faith and confidence shown by electing me town supervisor for the past two terms. It has been an incredible honor to serve my community.

I have worked tirelessly to address a multitude of major challenges we face: a worldwide pandemic, water pollution, climate change and rising sea levels, housing affordability, habitat loss, traffic, airport noise, and social injustice, to name a few. Although we have made progress on these issues, there is more to do.

Throughout my 21 years in local town government, I’ve built relationships with numerous elected officials, governmental agencies, town staff, and residents. Together, we have built an extensive record of accomplishments. With your support, I hope to continue to serve the people of East Hampton and get good things done for our community. I ask for your vote on Tuesday.

Thank you,

PETER VAN SCOYOC

 

Time to Act
Springs
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

I am Cate Rogers, and I am running for East Hampton Town Board. Thank you and the editorial staff for your endorsement. I now ask the voters of our town to put their trust in me. I am deeply committed to our town and as council member. I will bring the experienced leadership needed to bring our community together in pursuit of solutions to the complex issues that we face.

As a member of the zoning board of appeals for nine years, seven as vice chairwoman, I focused on protecting our natural resources from the impacts of over-development. If elected, I will utilize my understanding of our town codes to continue this mission on the town board.

I have also served on the nature preserve committee, energy sustainability committee, the energize/solarize task force, the emergency preparedness committee, and I am a member of the Springs citizens advisory committee.

Since 2017, I have been involved with the Climate Reality Project and I now serve as a training mentor, a founder and former co-chairwoman of the New York State Coalition of Chapters, and a founding member of Win With Wind and Windworks, L.I. As a coastal community, we are vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis, and I know that together we can build a resilient, sustainable East Hampton, which must include a sustainable community for all.

There are solutions to the issues we face, including the quality-of-life impacts exacerbated by the pandemic, and, as well, we have a historic opportunity to reduce or eliminate impacts from noise, other forms of pollution, and carbon emissions at the airport that we have endured for a long time. The time to act is now.

I strongly believe that success in public office comes from working together for solutions by facilitating an informed community, gathering diverse opinions, and finding consensus.

With your vote, I will bring the same drive, passion, and positive energy that I brought to the community as a volunteer, grassroots organizer, and Z.B.A. member and vice chairwoman. I am endorsed by the Democratic and Working Families Parties and Eleanor’s Legacy.

Please vote in the local election on Tuesday. Early voting is now ongoing through Sunday at Windmill Village, Community Room 2, 219 Accabonac Road in East Hampton, and at your usual voting place on Tuesday.

Sincerely,

CATE ROGERS

 

Stronger and Better
East Hampton
October 25, 2021

Dear Reader,

This final week of campaigning seems like a good time to wish us all a calm pause before making our decisions at the polls. To me, listening and speaking to fellow citizens and having the opportunity to debate are the best parts of local government. Discussion and even disagreement on the issues we face make us a stronger and better community.

Deep thanks to all the residents who contributed to my candidacy; your efforts to discuss issues, make calls, and knock on doors truly helped to shine a light in our town.

I am proud and grateful to be a nominee in this election.

JEFFREY BRAGMAN

 

A Closer Look
East Hampton
October 25, 2021

To the Editor,

The trustees is the oldest form of government in the United States. Back in the day, the governor, appointed by the king, did not have the manpower to govern all the way to the end of Long Island. A group of men, possibly, women, went to the governor and proposed to run the local government. Thus, the trustees were formed and have been a form of local government ever since. Since that time, they have been entrusted with our beaches, lakes, and public lands.

The trustees have the responsibility to protect our lands and waterways, which are being polluted by runoff of pesticides, fungicides, weed killers, fertilizer, and so much more. The red and brown tides, which are killing marine life, come from this seaweed nurtured by the nitrogen and CO2 believed to be a result of this runoff, and is the cause of a terrible stench. This is the reason people and pets were told to stay off the beach as it can be hazardous to health.

I have been on the board of East End Community Organic Farm for 20 years, and have learned how to restore the land by using organic materials.

Landscapers who care for all lawns who use fertilizer, or spray the trees with pesticide, must be mandated to use only organic products. Our soil can absorb only so much without having the runoff leach into our water systems, lakes, streams, bay, and ocean. A closer look must be taken at what is being used.

We need a new town board which will work together as this is not a new problem, This calls for the support of a new team. Elect Ken Walles, Joe Karpinski, and George Aman, as they are quite knowledgeable and sympathetic to this problem. And don’t forget me: Willy Wolter for trustee.

WILLY WOLTER

 

Important Piece
East Hampton
October 22, 2021

To the Editor,

Last week your paper published an extensive article about the candidates for the East Hampton Town Board. I thought that it was comprehensive and fairly done; however, it failed to mention an important piece of information. In the early part of my education I returned to Syracuse University to complete my thesis for my Ph.D. in mathematics education. I consider it to be an important piece of my preparation for my success in my long career. Thanks for clarifying.   

GEORGE AMAN

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

 

2017 All Over Again
Amagansett
October 24, 2021

To the Editor,

For eight years no new senior center has been built. Third site and promises made again. In two years will you hear the same come election time? Same old song and dance.

For six years no communication tower has been turned on in Springs. Firefighters lined up 30 feet apart on the road shouting orders during an active fire. No communication coming in or out of Springs School. Children left vulnerable. This makes you happy?

Truck Beach: Centuries-old rights have been lost due to an inadequate defense of our rights. Government is the protector of your rights, not the grantor. Deeds, files, maps left out of our defense. A win taken away by no quitclaim deed filed or eminent domain proceedings happening immediately after aforementioned win. No elected official ever showed to support the civil disobedience protests; I did both times. Who needs rights?

East Hampton Airport: They want to close it, even if temporarily, which may trigger the rights of the Mulford family to reclaim it for $1. Wouldn’t you buy back 300 acres for $1? Jobs lost, revenue lost, a blow to the community. You need F.A.A. status, otherwise we have the wide-open skies. This is also a historical landmark. Who needs recreation or tourism? It’s not like we are a tourist destination.

Affordable housing has been a known issue since 1983. What has been done to fix that?

Nothing to date, with a kick-the-can-down-the-road mentality. We still have supposedly 10 percent buildable land today, just like 2016. We have an obvious catalog problem with a love of federal money. That means locals, local families, are not a priority and will be pushed out of this community until we aren’t here at all. As the cost to make it in Suffolk County as an individual is $61,000 and for a couple with three children you need to make $135,000 to be out of poverty. We are all really making the grade, I’m sure.

If you are happy with the innate and inept government policies that have passed the same decades-old problems down to the next generation, are you happy with this being the 2017 election all over again?

Are you happy with all the promises that don’t come to fruition? Then it’s time for a proactive government, rather than the reactionary one you’ve let yourselves grow accustomed to.

Tuesday, vote for the businessman, the educator, the blue-collar worker: 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.

 

New Leadership
East Hampton Village
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

Jeff Bragman is the right person for town supervisor. He is thoughtful and listens. Bragman would be a breath of fresh air for this community. Van Scoyoc has been in public office for a decade. In that time, our quiet home has transformed into a playground for the rich and famous.

It’s time for new leadership in East Hampton. It’s time for Jeff Bragman.

GEOFFREY HEPPENHEIMER

 

We Have a Chance
East Hampton
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

I wanted to write this letter to express my feelings about what is at stake on Tuesday and why voters should enthusiastically support my dad, Jeff Bragman, for town supervisor.

There is a lot of concern that we may be at a tipping point in East Hampton. Young people cannot afford to live here. Workers — the lifeblood of the community — have been pressured out and now commute hours to work for increasingly affluent residents. Multiple families squeeze into small rentals while large houses stand empty most of the year. Even families that have lived here for generations feel pressured to sell out and leave.

We have a chance to have a town government that recognizes the economic realities, listens to the community, and tries to focus on real action to help.

The alternative is more of the same: a government that is opaque to ordinary residents but accessible to billionaires; that allows the houses and the parties to get bigger and bigger as our community shrinks.

It takes courage to stand up in the face of what is, in the hope of what could be. Opening local government with public participation is the best way to change entrenched political thinking and the influence of money.

There are things we can do. We can tighten zoning. We can say that an in-home rock concert for 500 people is not neighborly. We can prohibit oversized houses on small lots. People will still live here; others will still visit.

My dad is a decent and honest man. He is the most capable person I know for this job. Please consider him this November.

Best,

WALKER BRAGMAN

 

Stop Lying
Amagansett
October 22, 2021

Hello David,

I heard Mr. Van Scoyoc state again during his debate with Mr. Bragman that he comes from a 10th-generation East Hampton family.

This is patently untrue. His family is from Virginia, and he is from Rhode Island. This is a silly mistruth he continues to put out there to try to curry favor with, I guess, the locals?

Peter, stop lying, it makes me and everyone else who knows angry. The fact that you perpetuate this ridiculous untruth says everything about you.

Vote for anybody but Van B.S.’er in this election.

JOHN MANNIX

 

Sorely Needed
Amagansett
October 24, 2021

Dear Editor,

Why does it seem that every East Hampton Town Board election brings forth all the promises from the present town board members? Since Larry Cantwell was our supervisor and started the process to build a new senior citizens center, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez tells us every election that a senior citizens center is in the works except it never happens. Oh, there are the plans that are never right and need to be changed and all the other excuses. It has been years since the senior citizens have had a new center. When, if ever, will it ever happen? Shame on them.

When will the fire departments and our community ever get the proper cellphone towers? It is impossible at times to even get service to residents of Springs and Montauk and puts the firemen’s lives and those who might even try to call an ambulance at risk. Promises, promises that are never done.

Another issue is the airport. That is, all Peter Van Scoyoc and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez want to do is study, study, study. Jeff Bragman is the only one who has a plan for the airport. How many years will they have to study what to do about all these problems? When do they ever make a decision on any issue?

All the excuses are the reasons why the Independence Party chose Jeff Bragman as a candidate for East Hampton Town supervisor. Jeff Bragman is an attorney, which I believe is a great asset for the town. Today I have heard that Fred Thiele has endorsed Jeff Bragman for supervisor. One of the reasons he stated was that Jeff Bragman listens.

Your editorial last week stated that it is “time for a change”; I believe it is sorely needed in East Hampton Town and that the line to vote on is the Independence Party line — for Jeff Bragman for supervisor, John Whelan for town board, and Rick Drew for trustee. It is the line in 2021 that is going to count for the future of East Hampton.

Sincerely yours,

ELAINE JONES

Chairwoman

East Hampton Independence Party

 

Important Election
Springs
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

I am happy to cast my vote to re-elect Peter Van Scoyoc. He has worked magnificently with the town board to arrange free local Covid testing, permit the South Fork wind farm to proceed, providing renewable electricity for 70,000 Long Island homes, and move toward making the airport private so as to dramatically reduce flights and noise, plus so much more. He is genuinely interested in the views of all the residents of our town, carefully weighing them along with scientific data. His patience with divisive and rude comments awes me.

In contrast, Jeff Bragman has not managed to make the transition from adversarial litigator to constructive town board member. He has managed to alienate most of the other board members. I fear that, if he is elected, board meetings would devolve into shouting matches and urgent town business would not get done, four years of failure to protect and enhance our beloved East Hampton.

This election is important for us all. Cate Rogers and Susan Keber McGraw and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez are also excellent public servants who deserve our vote. The polls are open for early voting, let’s all be sure to cast our votes!

Best,

ALICE TEPPER MARLIN

 

Done a Great Job
East Hampton
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

I am writing to remind everyone that exercising your right to vote is very important especially these next few elections. Disgruntled Trump supporters are trying to discourage voting and discredit our election processes with no regard for the truth.

All over the country, Republicans are doing everything they can to suppress turnout and control who gets to vote. While this is not a huge New York problem yet, the best way to show your support for voting rights is to vote, and to vote for Democrats.

I am asking you to vote for me, William “Bill” Taylor, and all my colleagues on Row A. Our Democratically endorsed trustees have done a great job and deserve re-election.

We are making great progress on maintaining and improving water quality with cutting edge research. We are committed to preserving beach access, and keeping a watch on the wind farm, the Fire Island to Montauk Point project, our ongoing dredging projects and any other threats to our waterways and environment.

Our democracy is in peril and the cure is electing Democratic majorities. Vote, Vote, Vote.

Yours truly

BILL TAYLOR

 

For Peter
Springs
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

I am writing to express my support for the re-election of Peter Van Scoyoc. Peter is one of the most genuine people I know. He has been a personal friend for many years, as well as a client when he and his wife were building a house.

Peter has deep roots in our community. He knows firsthand how important our resources are as he is both an avid fisherman and hunter. His children were educated in our public schools.

I cannot say enough about Peter’s wife, Marilyn. She was a beloved music teacher (now retired) in our local schools. Marilyn also volunteered as faculty adviser to the high school interact club, spending countless hours working on community service projects with the students through the East Hampton Rotary Club.

Simply put, Peter is a regular guy that cares for his community. He has shown us over the last 12 years as a councilman and as supervisor that he is ready, willing, and able to put in the hard work that is required and he does this with a calmness that I believe we need more than ever.

Sincerely yours,

HEATHER DUNN-KOSTURA

 

Lee Hayes Park
Wainscott
October 25, 2021

To the Editor,

On Sunday the youth park in Amagansett was getting a new name, and I wanted to be there for the unveiling. My kids play basketball and tennis at the park through the East Hampton Town Recreation Department so I took them along; I’m glad I did.

The new name is Lt. Lee A. Hayes Youth Park. It was a wonderful and unpretentious ceremony with many of Mr. Hayes’s extended family present. I learned that Mr. Hayes lived most of his life near this park. Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc spoke of the trials that Mr. Hayes faced as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, but also of his perseverance as a civilian after World War II. The pastor from Calvary Baptist Church also spoke and reminded us of how Mr. Hayes was able to bring the community together.

The moment that got me was when Mr. Hayes’s family were posing for a group photo and they called Mr. Van Scoyoc over, asked him to be in the picture, and said, “You’re part of our family now.”

I applaud Mr. Van Scoyoc for leading the effort to rededicate this park and to the family of Lt. Lee A. Hayes for reminding me of what community means.

MICHAEL HANSEN

 

There for Us
Amagansett
October 25, 2021

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I am in support of Jeff Bragman for supervisor. As a town board member, Jeff has been correct on the critical issues facing our town, and he has always been there for us. He is the right choice at the right time.

Sincerely yours,

ROBERT VOSSEN

 

The Right Choices
Springs
October 24, 2021

To Whom It May Concern:

I believe more inclusive governance and honest transparency can accelerate a civic renaissance. I am also a relentless Democrat, 50 years in the making.

I am proud to endorse Jeff Bragman for town supervisor in the current election. He is the best choice for effective course corrections of a kind that are always necessary as well as the type that feel more urgent in this decade. Bragman can get East Hampton moving in the right direction. His ethos and his practice put reasonable trust in fair process. He puts community first. Those are good foundations for better solutions, and they are seriously lacking among the incumbent Democrats or the Republican challengers.

John Whelan is also a top choice for town board. Like Bragman, he offers the best skill sets and most inclusive respect for all communities. Bragman and Whelan are the right choices, simply, because building a genuine consensus improves the odds for smart solutions in this remarkable town, in these remarkable times.

I encourage everyone to vote along the bottom line of the ballot this year, and to work harder for the common good.

Sincerely,

THERESA M. COLLINS

 

Is Not Normal
Springs
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

Tucked away in last week’s Star was a letter to the editor from a woman who described a troubling incident with the incumbent in the town supervisor’s race, Peter Van Scoyoc. It’s problematic that our town supervisor is frequently called a bully by residents and is now the subject of an allegation that he angrily and physically blocked a 5-foot-tall woman — and fellow Democratic candidate — from talking with voters outside a post office during an election four years ago. This is not normal.

Another resident described Van Scoyoc as “unfit for office” in a letter to The Star last week. These are serious red flags that party loyalists seem to expect voters to sweep under the rug this election. I hope voters reject this style of politics. Our town should come before party.

I’ll be voting for Jeff Bragman for town supervisor and John Whelan for town board, lifelong Democrats running as independents.

JACQUELINE ESPOSITO

 

Time for a Change
Springs
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

Jeff Bragman, in contrast to the current town supervisor, has shown real leadership on the issues that affect East Hampton. When the town’s Covid positivity rate was much higher than state and county levels, Councilman Bragman worked to find out why. He alerted the town to the persistent resident complaints about Medivolve, the testing company hired by the town. In response, the town ended its contract with Medivolve.

After the current supervisor proposed putting a cellphone tower in 6.9 acres of protected woodlands in Springs, in conflict with the town code, Councilman Bragman, working together with local residents, identified a more suitable location. Thanks to Jeff, Springs finally has a real possibility of having improved emergency communications and cellphone service.

Councilman Bragman was the only candidate to articulate a workable solution, which protects East Hampton and Montauk, to the concerns many residents have with the airport. On the other hand, the current supervisor, not surprisingly, has failed to articulate any meaningful plans for the airport beyond keeping the status quo.

I’m a Democrat, and like every other Democrat I know, I’m voting for Jeff Bragman for East Hampton Town supervisor on the Independence Party line. It’s time for a change.

Kind regards,

JOSEPH SEGILIA

 

Should Be Commended
Springs
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

On January 18, 2018, I had the privilege of being appointed to the East Hampton Town Board by the majority of the other four members of the town board at that time; but not unanimously. At this meeting there was a wonderful showing of support for my family, myself, and the East Hampton community in the filled meeting room at Town hall. It was a glorious day and one that I am very proud of and will always be thankful for.

Just two weeks prior to my appointment there was also another swearing-in ceremony of two elected town councilpersons and also for Peter Van Scoyoc for his first term as the newly elected East Hampton Town supervisor. It was that January that signaled the start of a new chapter in the history of the town of East Hampton’s government and one that I had been preparing for and eagerly awaited to get to work on.

Unfortunately, what started at my Jan. 18, 2018 swearing-in ceremony by a councilman’s remarks and still to this day was a divisiveness and discourse in politics that was largely present on the national political stage at that time but not as much in East Hampton. I was called names by letter writers and on signs, and many untruths and falsehoods were written about me and my family for the only reason that I can determine would be for some individual’s political gain.

To myself and my family it was saddening to see people judge someone so harshly that they never met and because my appointment wasn’t politically aligned with their political motivation. Needless to say, I was able to push the negative aside and work tirelessly at the job of town councilman to produce results that are high in standards and sum.

The past 20 months of the pandemic have tested the readiness of elected officials all over the world and most importantly in our Town of East Hampton. The need of leadership to be strong, adaptable, and ever present for a once-in-a-hundred-year world emergency that we have been dealing with, was exactly what Peter Van Scoyoc displayed to me and our community.

Peter navigated the fine line of a public health emergency and the balance of the economic needs of East Hampton like an experienced and skillful manager. It was due to his quick thinking that our town’s Covid transmission rate was one of the lowest for a township on Long Island and also had one of the highest vaccination rates in the same geographic area.

Peter was on daily emergency calls with all of the elected leaders in Suffolk County, advocating for the protections that East Hampton’s residents deserved and needed at the height of the pandemic. It was my pleasure to join these calls and listen to Peter advocating effectively, not because I had to but because I wanted to do so as your elected official. Sadly, one of Peter’s opponents never took the time to join in on these daily calls that were held for months on end. 

During the pandemic Peter has also successfully continued to move other important projects along through outreach and fact finding that will pay dividends for the township for years to come. Whether it was leading the purchase of multiple properties for affordable housing projects, advocating for the Fire Island to Montauk project, supporting public beach access, or protecting the environment through water quality projects, Peter was able to continue to move these progressive projects and legislation forward at the same time as managing the greatest health emergency in multiple generations. For this he should be commended and deserves another chance to lead the township as our supervisor.

What I ask for you as a voter is to look at the entire body of work of the candidates prior to voting. How has that individual led the community in a better way than the current town supervisor, Peter Van Scoyoc, has? If you look deep, the work ethic and the results over the past four years of Peter’s opponents don’t come close to comparing to the successes and efforts that Peter has accomplished for East Hampton.

Lastly, I ask you to determine the future leadership of East Hampton from a candidate’s record and performances and not a yard sign. And most important, participate in our great country’s democracy and vote on Tuesday or earlier.

Respectfully,

DAVID LYS

 

A Hidden Agenda
Springs
October 25, 2021

Dear Editor,

I would like to express my endorsement for Jeff Bragman as the best alternative in the upcoming election for East Hampton Town supervisor.

I have witnessed Peter Van Scoyoc’s dismissive leadership style, lack of transparency with town plans, unwillingness to thoroughly research alternative solutions, and failure to communicate and understand community interests and concerns. Peter seems to have a hidden agenda that plays favoritism to a select few for his political expediency at the expense of the many in the community at large.

On Peter Van Scoyoc’s website, he claims, “I want to do what I can to ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy the beauty and bounty of our surroundings. As a business owner, I understand the need to support local business while balancing the needs of the community and environment. We could lose forever our quality of life if we don’t defend it. We must continue to . . . protect Springs against overcrowding, enforce our rules and regulations fairly and equally, and protect the quiet enjoyment of our own homes.” However, his claim to protect the quiet enjoyment of homes and open spaces have not matched his actions — for example his plans to bulldoze woodlands to conveniently score political gains, failure in court resulting in restrictions for public access to beaches, and passive response to the ever-increasing air traffic noise and pollution.

Mr. Jeff Bragman, on the other hand, has shown a willingness to listen to the community and diligently investigate and carefully consider the interests of all sides of issues. I would like to encourage the Town of East Hampton to elect officials that listen to the entire community and not just a select well-off few that will financially benefit him politically.

Regards,

LISA LAGALIA

 

Keeping Us Updated
Amagansett
October 24, 2021

Dear David:

Perhaps one reason we’re all arguing political issues in your pages is that our present town government is keeping us so updated: more press releases to help your writers inform us, a government website with current pressing topics, as well as Covid-19 safety info posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And, not only does the town have a permanent presence on popular media, but has also established an email newsletter to which anyone can subscribe in addition to a weekly LTV call-in show.

I feel confident in a government that fosters the foundation of democracy by clarifying its activities for constituent review and opinion. Another, of many, reasons to vote for Van Scoyoc, Burke-Gonzalez, and Rogers in the upcoming election.

Gratefully,

GLORIA RUBINO

 

Her Top Priority
Springs
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

I have worked with Cate Rogers for several years on one of the most critical issues that faces our town, our nation, and our planet: the climate crisis. As a member of the East Hampton Town Energy and Sustainability Committee, on which I still serve, Cate was an indefatigable source of hard work and good ideas to strengthen East Hampton’s resilience, adaptation, and mitigation efforts.

As a Climate Reality Leader, trained by Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, Cate went to numerous community groups to educate them about the climate crisis. She went a step beyond that, becoming chairwoman of the Peconic Climate Reality Chapter and built state-wide capacity to fight climate change by taking on a leadership role in the New York State Climate Reality Chapters Coalition.

Cate is a hard worker who puts the safety and health of our community as her top priority. She would be an invaluable member of the East Hampton Town Board.

Yours,

FRANCESCA RHEANNON

 

New Senior Center
East Hampton
October 24, 2021

Dear David,

Anyone familiar with the current senior center knows it no longer fits the needs of East Hampton seniors. The senior center building, once an old bar and grill, and the office trailer next to it, are far from welcoming and in need of major repairs.

Years were spent trying to make the existing location on Springs-Fireplace Road work for a new building. Staff, users, and potential new users were interviewed for input. Numerous architectural drawings were prepared, presented, and reviewed. Ultimately a conclusion was reached that the current location is too small and inadequate for the types of programs, services, including a permanent food pantry, and parking needed to meet the current and future needs of the growing 60-plus East Hampton community.

The good news is the town recently purchased a seven-acre property at 403 Abraham’s Path in Amagansett adjacent to the Terry King Ball Field complex. The property is centrally located and easily accessible from Montauk Highway and the back roads from Amagansett, Springs, and East Hampton. Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, as liaison to Human Services, spearheaded the search and purchase of the property. Acquiring this property was no easy feat due to lack of inventory of centrally located sizable parcels and delays caused by the pandemic.

Fifteen architectural firms submitted proposals to design a new state-of-the-art, net-zero building to appeal to current users as well as a broader range of seniors who have never considered utilizing the services of the current center. These proposals are under review by a select committee and ideally a recommended firm will be announced shortly.

It’s important to re-elect Kathee to the town board. She has years of experience and knowledge of what’s needed for the new senior center. A vote for Kathee is a vote for seniors!

JENNIFER MULLIGAN

 

Been My Honor
East Hampton
October 25, 2021

Dear David,

When asked in 2017 by a voter why I wanted to run for trustee I had a simple and truthful answer: “To give back to my community today and to the children I will never know.”

It has been my honor and pleasure to serve as an East Hampton Town trustee for the past four years. During that time our trustee board has accomplished much, and I am proud of our collective efforts.

For the past four summers I have been a member of the Accabonac Harbor mosquito larvae sampling program that has resulted in the effective reduction of pesticide use by Suffolk County. I am also working on establishing a wide-scale project that is set to remediate the salt marsh to enable it to function properly.

As a committee member of Lazy Point and Napeague Harbor, I have enjoyed being a member of the Town of East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery’s oyster farming program. 

I am proud of my participation in the South Fork Wind Farm agreement with Orsted and the town. Together we accomplished important measures to protect our fishermen, migratory habits of fish, and various marine species with a five-year study during our negotiation process. 

Coming up will be the dredging of Little Northwest Creek, and I anticipate Napeague Harbor will be next to improve the health and water quality of the harbors. 

Being part of the team that created our new website, ehtrustees.com, has been important to me. It provides our community with up-to-date helpful information, news, and events we have participated in. A user-friendly website, “Important Links,” is a great resource for information; do take a look! 

I have become knowledgeable about water quality as a result of serving on the Aquaculture committee and also serve on a trustee subcommittee to review the annual report of water sampling done with Christopher Gobler and Gobler Labs of Stony Brook University. This past year I joined the East Hampton Water Town Quality Technical Advisory Committee which reviews projects submitted for consideration of funding from the community preservation fund. 

One of my favorite trustee committees is education. Visiting students within our local school system is a wonderful opportunity to inform our young students about the history of the trustees. I’ve created a slide presentation for just that purpose. Just last week I was out on the harbor for the annual seeding of oysters into the harbor waters with my fellow trustee John Aldred, John “Barley” Dunne of the East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery, and students and teachers of the East Hampton Middle School. To engage with our young people is to also learn from them and I am grateful for the opportunity to share time with them.

I fully support public access to our beaches and will work to protect that right. I also serve on the Suffolk County Single-Use Plastic Task Force, as I am dedicated to eliminating single-use plastic from our waterways and beaches. 

The desire to preserve and protect our fragile environment is my heartfelt reason for wanting to continue the work I love doing — and as Jacques Cousteau said, “People (and children) protect what they love.” As a certified rescue diver and first responder, I believe and live by that statement. I love our town and our community. I love being a trustee. 

If you believe I’ve been a good steward of our environment and dedicated to the trustee responsibilities I have worked to accomplish, I once again ask for your vote. With enthusiasm, energy, and dedication, I will continue to work hard to keep safe our beautiful Town of East Hampton.

I am proud and honored to have the endorsements of the East Hampton Town Democrats, the Sierra Club, the Working Families Party, and Eleanor’s Legacy. I also thank The East Hampton Star for the endorsement.

Sincerely,

SUSAN MCGRAW KEBER

 

So-Called
Bridgehampton
October 22, 2021

Dear David,

For those that were watching the so-called insurrection hearings on the liberal, progressive, socialist CNN and MSNBC while Attorney General Merrick Garland was in front of his congressional hearing at the same time, here is the exchange between Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert and Joe Biden’s attorney general:

Congressman Gohmert: “Has any defendant involved in the January 6th events been charged with insurrection?”

Attorney General Garland: “I don’t believe so.”

God help us.

TED DAMIECKI

 

True Socialism
Montauk
October 25, 2021

To the Editor,

Another lie from President Joe Biden. Since taking office he told a false statement for the fourth time, this one about an Amtrak conductor Angelo Nigeri, who supposedly boasted about his train ridership during his final year as V.P. Nigeri died in May 2014, making it impossible for him to have spoken with Biden during his final year as V.P., which was 2016-first month of 2017.

Now did the newly released emails show coordination between a national school board group and the Biden administration? Wondering did the White House order Merrick Garland to have the F.B.I. come down on parents that were protesting school board meetings across the United States.

This shows true socialism when government decides to brainwash your children. It’s obvious that we, the parents of these children, have full rights over decisions of what they should be taught, not the teachers union, or the government.

Rep. Jerry Nadler must live on a different planet. He has made the Democratic position very clear, if you’re not with us, you’re terrorists. Nadler said, “There is no difference between the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6th and the parents who are angry about what is being taught in schools”.

Somebody please wake this jerk up when he sleeps in hearings in Congress and get him mental help. Keep voting these imbeciles in and our country will continue to fall.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO

 


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