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Letters to the Editor for January 14, 2021

Wed, 01/13/2021 - 11:05

Eat More Oysters
Noyac
December 23, 2020

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your oyster editorial. The crash of the oyster market due to Covid-19 aside, I would like to commend you for bringing attention to the huge potential of oyster consumption and follow up on that thought.

You are absolutely right, large oysters should not be overlooked and can and should be eaten on a regular basis.

Personally I prefer a three-inch-plus oyster for anything other than raw on the half shell. They can be steamed or heated open on the grill then broiled or grilled with one’s favorite toppings, which can be as simple as, well, plain, with a spritz of lemon, a dab of butter and garlic, then there’s Oysters Rockefeller of course!

The National Shellfisheries Association’s “Simply Shellfish Cookbook” has recipes for seven different versions of Rockefeller, try them all. Many other broiled or grilled oyster options can be found with a few keystrokes; the options are endless.

I highly recommend substituting them for clams in any recipe. I prefer oyster chowder to clam. Keep in mind that oysters are a local food and are available year round, they’re good for you and good for the environment. Don’t let anyone tell you any different, cuz it just ain’t true!

Request of your restaurant to serve oysters, sourced from several different areas, because as we know, oysters taste differently depending on where they’re grown, merroir of course! You’ve got a choice of beer, wine, etc., why not oysters?

Let’s help to bring the oyster back to the mainstream as it was back in the previous two centuries by supporting your local oyster farmer or harvester.

Happy holidays to all,

JOHN (BARLEY) DUNNE

Shellworks, L.L.C.

 

Delighted to See
Southampton
January 11, 2021

Dear Editor,

In these wrenching times of Covid and political dissension, I was delighted to see the photo of my mother Norma M. Edwards on her sled and read the Item of the Week from the Long Island Collection. Thanks to Andrea Meyer for sharing it.

I have received many messages from readers who know my mother and shared my feelings. Her vibrancy caught by the photographer Gardell and preserved by a family friend, Carleton Kelsey, continues to this day.

My mother told me she was sledding on her favorite hill at the Amagansett Golf Club next to the old clubhouse. The old clubhouse was across the street from the present South Fork Country Club on East Side Road (renamed Old Stone Highway). My mother believes that photo was actually taken when she was in the eighth grade in 1936 when she was 12 instead of 13, but who’s counting!

Thanks again,

SUE ELLEN

MARDER O’CONNOR

 

Saving Barcelona
Sag Harbor
January 8, 2021

Dear David,

Carol Williams could not possibly have named all the people involved in East Hampton’s conservation efforts of the 1960s to the 1990s, in her letter of Jan. 7, 2021. Cathy Lester and Judith Hope were certainly key participants, each having served as our town supervisor during the most threatening times for development.

I work on the Breakwater Sailing Center race committee boat, and every Wednesday night when we are the last boat in from the race course in Shelter Island Sound, I look at beautiful, pristine Barcelona Neck and smile. We often see an awe-inspiring moon rise over that landscape. And then I remind my crewmates that those shores could have been lined with condos had it not been for the tireless work and leadership of Debra Brodie Foster, who was the chairwoman of the Planning Department at the time developers wanted to vandalize it.

I think she deserves a special mention as well. For the history of this effort and many others in which these three exceptional women were involved, read her book “Saving East Hampton’s Soul.”

CAM GLEASON

 

Real Damage
Montauk
January 7, 2021

Hello all,

I keep waiting for the sound of leaf blowers with all the pollution they cause to be finished for at least this past season before they start again for the coming season. I am telling you the honest truth, since the lockdown was lifted for them this past spring, except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, they have not stopped for an hour in our neighborhood.

Possibly because you are in your offices you may be somewhat isolated from this constant noise and the pollution and damage they are doing. I am not complaining because this is just noise nuisance. This is causing real environmental damage. The noise is the constant reminder that these machines are spraying a mist of oil and gasoline on everything. You have to be aware of the environmental damage being done to our air and water. The volumes of information on the damage caused by this practice is at your fingertips, and it would be negligent on your part not to be very familiar with it.

There are reasons there are no bees or butterflies in our yards anymore. Switching to battery-powered blowers will not be the solution everyone believes it will be. There is no pollen or nectar on plants to support insect life after the blowers are done. It is criminal that this is allowed to continue.

You should also be aware that the studies show jobs will not be lost if this practice is ended. The evidence in areas where leaf blowers have been banned showed no loss of jobs and [did show an] actual increase in wages and health for the workers. These machines are the low-hanging fruit in any attempt to improve our environment. We should be an enlightened community leading the way for a better life for all on issues like this. Please respond to this so I at least know someone is listening.

Thank you,

CAPT. ERNIE FRENCH

 

Who Is the Sponsor?
East Hampton
January 8, 2021

Dear Editor,

On page A-5 of the Jan. 7, 2021, edition of The Star, there is a full-page ad arguing that South Fork Wind has not disclosed the price and capacity of its wind farm. There is no identification in the ad; first, that it is a privately paid-for advertisement and not something written by the paper, and second, who paid for and sponsored it. It has a very different meaning depending on who is the sponsor of the ad. Given the fight going on over Wainscott beaches and a possible village incorporation, it is vital that readers know this ad’s true purpose.

It should be the newspaper’s usual practice to identify the sponsor of political/opinion advertisements.

LESLIE SCHNUR

 

No to Incorporation
Wainscott
January 10, 2021

Dear David,

The contentious issue of incorporating Wainscott as a village has sadly if predictably pitted neighbor against neighbor around me. I understand many of the motivations of those in the pro-village camp, and some of them are my friends — or at least have been until now and I hope they will continue to be when I come out as someone who is solidly against incorporating a village for a number of reasons. I share one of the most potent ones here.

Our taxes in Wainscott could easily go through our lovely skylit roofs if there is incorporation. I know that you, my Wainscott neighbor, like me, just paid your East Hampton Town property taxes, which are relatively low here in our hamlet. Imagine that you just had to pay 400 percent more and what that would do to your finances and, more important, to the value of your home. “Yes,” you could say to potential buyers, “my taxes did go up 400 percent last year but we do have our very own village.”

Before anyone accuses me of hyperbole, I base that number on historical fact. The proponents of incorporation have hired lots of experts, and we all know how consultants are, especially those of us who have worked in that industry. These authorities tell my neighbors and me in Wainscott, in cheery, self-assured voices, accompanied by lots of colorful charts and graphs, that they are pretty darn sure we should expect an increase of no more than about $400 per household if there is incorporation.

That rosy sales pitch (After all, what are the consultants at Accenture or McKinsey, really, but salespeople?) made to my neighbors and me is contradicted by real-life experience. Among many other examples, you can easily read about the recent trauma that Mastic Beach Village underwent, not too far away and not too long ago. When the voters there decided to dissolve their corporation, they were looking at, by many reports, a potential property-tax increase of 400 percent.

That’s right, not an increase of $400 but 400 percent. That’s a reality the village proponents there didn’t prepare their constituents for and one the advocates for incorporation here haven’t told us about. I don’t know why. It’s a fact and not an estimate for the sake of convincing people.

I remember back in 2013 when the newly “woke” politicians of Mastic Beach Village smugly paraded to Hampton Bays to sell the residents there on the unlimited joys of incorporation. Incorporation was a paradise of more local control, there were reduced or relatively painless increases in taxes, one could indulge in the undeniable bliss of more rigorous code enforcement in the hands of watchful locals, throughout the land there would be greater neighborliness. . . . In short order, by the end of 2017, Mastic Beach Village was dissolved by about the same number of voters who had enthusiastically supported it just a few years before.

Why? People were exhausted after years of political infighting, neighbor hating neighbor, overspending by a nonprofessional group of possibly self-interested volunteers, gently dissenting voices dismissed by vociferous ones, power clustered in the hands of a few who passionately believed they knew better than their neighbors. Doesn’t all that sound too similar to the stressful anguish that we just went through on a national level? Do we really want to risk undergoing a more concentrated version of it in our peaceful hamlet?

In addition to the potential 400-percent increase in property taxes reported in the press, there were other financial issues in Mastic Beach Village. For instance, in 2016 Moody’s Investors Service had rated the village’s bonds as at the “noninvestment” level, making it difficult to manage the finances and borrow money and simply move forward. By the way, East Hampton Town has a bond rating of Aaa. We in the hamlet do not have to borrow money or pay taxes alone without the help of the other residents in the town to come up with the expenses for the attorneys’ fees for issues at the airport or the sandpit or paying the county for putting in water mains or defending against suits brought by an unhappy few with deep pockets and a taste for litigation as a form of neighborly antagonism and bemused entertainment (we’ve certainly seen that out here)!

Imagine what will happen to our property taxes in Wainscott if we as a small population village have to raise and pay all the millions of dollars those issues alone would cost (I could think of many more, by the way). We don’t just have to imagine, though: We can simply look at a neighboring place that showed us exactly what happens.

I haven’t heard any of these counterpoints given any platform during the debates on the issues. It’s all just one collective of heads nodding in agreement with no patience for listening to those who, with as much good will and sense as anyone, do not agree with the financially well-backed pro-incorporation supporters. That doesn’t give me a sense of confidence in the fairness of how things would be run should Wainscott incorporate.

Want to give up the community contributions of all of East Hampton’s residents, along with your present tax rate, and find that a select few run your new village without listening to you, after selling you promises similar to those that were sold to the voters of Mastic Beach Village, and here could drive down the value of your home and cost you financially in other ways?

I’m not ready for that. I’ve listened to the proponents of incorporation, at first with no prejudice for or against. But since that time, I’ve thought and read a lot about the topic. I encourage my neighbors to remain part of East Hampton Town, which is run by many people we have known for many years, and not trade down to an uncertain future in the hands of a fervent few who would concentrate power to themselves for whatever reasons they verbalize and perhaps for others they do not articulate.

Sincerely,

DAVID DOTY

 

Potemkin Village
Wainscott
January 8, 2021

Dear David,

The adage that 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work will be in play when 20 percent of the 210 people who have signed the petition to incorporate Wainscott will have to go to work.

We finally know who this group is, after over a year of hiding behind a privately funded 501(c)(4) political action committee. Now we, the actual residents who live in Wainscott, know just who they are and where they say they live, by the revelation in the petition submitted to the town supervisor this past week.

They have been afraid to show us who they are because the skeletal budget they proposed is a farce. They are afraid that when we discover who is attempting to create this Potemkin Village they will be disgraced for proposing this scam.

What they are proposing is disgraceful. Each of them will be required to actually show up and do the work. Voters will not be swayed by this oily, slick campaign by the privatization P.A.C. to get their paws on the voters’ checkbooks to pay for their lawsuits regarding the buried cable going in on Beach Lane. Most of their signees could afford to pay the hefty legal costs of litigation outright, but they want the taxpayers’ money. Other peoples’ money! Your money! They are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for all this slick P.R. garbage being pushed out to get their hands on our hamlet. Don’t let them have it: It is not for sale.

So 42 people who signed this petition for this Potemkin Village will have to do the work of working on the zoning board, planning board, unpaid mayor’s position (Jerry Larsen, whom they love to quote, gets paid nicely as the mayor of East Hampton Village, as he should be), and the various other oversight and administrative boards necessary. They need to be ready to meet at least twice monthly for open meetings, brown-bag work sessions, site visits, and other continuous research necessary to accomplish the work in a satisfactory way for all to see.

Transparence is critical in an open government, so no more hiding behind a political action committee. Their competence is questionable already, judging by the mistakes of their first attempt at incorporation, and then saving the “wrong” whales debacle. We will now see you in action, or nonaction, in your Potemkin Village. You are budgeting and guaranteeing a volunteer government. Just as in Potemkin’s Village, the propaganda banners will read “You pretend to work. We pretend to pay you.” As you so kindly quoted me in your fantastic editorial, you get what you pay for!

Every voter who votes for incorporation must ask himself, are you ready to actually be the government you are proposing and fervently desire? It is so easy to sit back and criticize the town, but soon it will be your turn. Wainscott has a difficult time getting three trustees for the school, so where are all these do-gooders now? Sitting at home Zooming, complaining, and criticizing, because that is much easier than doing the work.

Forty-two of the petition signers will have to step up. You will have to become well versed in not just the buried cable issue, but the development of the sand pit, airport, work-force housing, comprehensive plan; all of these issues will be yours to delve into thoroughly for the next three to five years ahead.

Yes, you petition signers! This will be your work to do. You thought the cable down your street took up lots of your time and attention. Buckle up, buttercups, because you will not have time to sit on the Beach Lane beach.

But I am guessing that after the vote, and post-Covid, most of these people will return to where they actually reside, leaving those of us who actually live here in their Potemkin Village that will dissolve like 21 other incorporated villages recently in New York State. Saddling all of us with the debts of their experiment in civics, misadventures in governance, and baseless lawsuits that drag on but eventually are lost, at vast expense to taxpayers.

None of them plan to do the work!

Residents of Wainscott know better about this scam that “Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott” is trying to pull off, and when it comes time to vote on this Potemkin Village they will vote No. Wainscott is now better served by East Hampton Town. My guess is that the wisdom of Wainscott residents will see through C.P.W.’s attempt to use our tax money to fund their lawsuits and to create and pay extra for another layer of “volunteer” government that will not work.

Voters will vote No on forming a Potemkin Village here in 11975.

Best,

DOREEN A. NIGGLES

 

Heaven Help Wainscott
Wainscott
January 11, 2021

Dear David:

I write this in my private capacity, and not as a representative of the town or the town planning board, which I chair.

On Dec. 30, the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott filed a petition seeking to convert the hamlet of Wainscott into an incorporated village, and issued a press release claiming, “Conservative budget forecasts indicated that median single family home would pay at most $340 a year, with half of the houses paying even less. Even with a new village, the overall tax bill for the median homeowner would remain the lowest in the Town of East Hampton.”

C.P.W.’s estimate of a tax increase of “$340 a year” represents at least a 10 percent increase to the “median” single family homeowner, the impact of which should not be obscured by C.P.W.’s double-talk. “Median” means: “Relating to or constituting the middle value in a distribution” (Houghton Mifflin Co., American Heritage Dictionary 3rd Ed.). By definition, those below the median constitute “half of the houses.” What C.P.W. fails to acknowledge is that most single-family homes in Wainscott (and likely all below the “median”) are small and often owned by people for whom a 10 percent increase and exposure to increases of 30 percent to 50 percent beyond that would be very painful.

C.P.W.’s next claim, that “the overall tax bill for the median homeowner would remain the lowest in the Town of East Hampton,” is equally absurd. As everyone in Wainscott (if not the entire town) knows, Wainscott taxpayers have the lowest “overall tax bill” in town only because Wainscott’s school district is, by far, the smallest in town and is home to scores of taxpayers who do not send their children to public school. Heaven help Wainscott taxpayers if school district consolidation ever comes to pass or, as is perhaps more likely, affordable housing finds its way into the Wainscott School District, which, thanks to C.P.W.’s obnoxious map making, is larger than the proposed village of Wainscott by over two square miles. But even if the Wainscott School District retains its current student population, Wainscott taxpayers should remain wary of C.P.W.’s promises of minimal tax increases and the lowest taxes in East Hampton.

In Suffolk County, the most recent example of a hamlet becoming a village, and also the most recent example of a village dissolving itself, was the Village of Mastic Beach. Wainscott voters would do well to look at this nearby now-dissolved village for what could go wrong. As the Mastic Beach Dissolution Plan states: “Voters for incorporation believed that the move would be ‘tax neutral,’ i.e., have no impact on the taxes of residents in the newly-formed village. Unfortunately, the Village’s need to provide services cost more than a ‘tax neutral’ budget allowed.” In its four short years of existence, Mastic Beach went from showing a surplus of $1,173,396 in 2012 to bearing a deficit of $492,372 in 2015, with only growing deficits in sight.

To be sure, Wainscott won’t face Mastic Beach’s desire “to address the growing numbers of vacant homes and illegal renters,” but Wainscott will confront the near certainty of becoming ensnared in litigation immediately upon its coming into existence.

The town appears to be on the verge of granting an easement for the Beach Lane landing of the electrical cable, the prevention of which is, of course, the only real motivation for incorporation. That easement will be a property right. If an incorporated village of Wainscott interferes with that property right, it will be walking into a buzz saw of litigation with no certainty of success. C.P.W.’s financial projections do not contemplate the absolute certainty that all Wainscott taxpayers will be required to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills regardless of whether they support, oppose, or have no opinion of the Beach Lane cable landing.

Very truly yours,

SAMUEL KRAMER

 

New Truck Beach
Wainscott
January 10, 2021

Dear David,

Have you heard about the new Truck Beach for the summer? Just like the song “Imagine,” unintended consequences of the Citizens for the Privatization of Wainscott will have created a new Truck Beach between Beach Lane and Town Line Beach. The bogus budget they propose claims $66,000 for beach-parking fees collected from tickets and non-Wainscott Village residents having to buy stickers. Why bother buying tickets? No police will be monitoring anything, let alone a beach. The sham budget C.P.W. proposes will not afford police coverage for all that will go on in Wainscott if this scam is voted in. All the residents who will lose their beach rights because some talking-head jackass was given a marker and drew them out of Wainscott won’t mind if you parked your car or truck on said moron’s front lawn.

He and his secret cabal are more concerned about a cable buried 30 feet below ground encased in concrete than your car on his lawn! Remember they are only renting half a cop, to keep the extra taxes under $1 million. Pennywise or pound foolish. Just another unnecessary layer of ineffective government at our expense with zero benefit.

They will only be subcontracting half a cop for the protection of 4.4 square miles of the elite domain. I never saw a cop in a Superman cape zipping from one area to another while writing tickets observed on his Zoom camera while patrolling for speeders covering auto accidents. A bathroom or meal break is not needed. Then return to the village where he or she was rented from leaving the area unprotected. Every day in summer will be evident. Who pays for the other half?

So come one, come all, down to Beach Lane, all the way down to Town Line. Bring your kids’ dog and the neighbors’ kids and dig fire pits, boom boxes, tents for shade or sleepovers. No cop will venture down on foot. Not a dime in the budget of quads or four-wheel-drive vehicles, to evacuate injured, in the budget. The $66,000 stickers and fees are more important to the bogus budget.

Make sure you blast your horns as you pass the homes of the C.P.W. residents who were “Saving Beach Lane” before saving the wrong whales. Be sure to wave your “Save Truck Beach” flags as you pass the residents who cannot afford the beach stickers, like the seniors on fixed incomes and families on tight budgets. There will be a sale on footbath vessels, hose sprays, or ice blocks with built-in fans to cool off.

C.P.W. has no clue how to run a village. Vote “No!” on this incorporation. Their true agenda is no secret.

We are better off with the Town of East Hampton, whose police will respond quickly. All services are already paid for in our taxes. The C.P.W. mantra of “Ready! Shoot! Aim!” is a way of breaking into our checkbooks to pay for the avalanche of litigation that is coming. The plaintiffs will be the taxpayers, not C.P.W. Remember paying double for services is sound fiscal practice. Try that tax deduction?

Yours truly,

ARTHUR J FRENCH

 

No Photo or Mention
Plainview
January 8, 2021

Dear Editor:

I read a news story about Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas having opened an investigation into allegations that an Oyster Bay official (Deputy Town Supervisor Gregory Carman Jr.) improperly solicited campaign contributions from town employees who received raises, and it prompted me to think, Who?

So I looked through my official 32-page, glossy, full-color Town of Oyster Bay 2021 town calendar, and could not find Mr. Carman’s photo, name, or office/position anywhere. Despite the fact that his boss, Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, has his own photo prominently displayed, along with his name and office/position listed 17 times!

I also saw full-color photos of the eight other town board members, and each of them had their own names and offices/posi-tions listed four times.

But no photo or mention of the mysterious Mr. Carman. Why not? So I did a little research and learned that he had been appointed to this prestigious position three years ago (2017), and that he himself has already been given several raises, increasing his salary up to a current $183,277.

So why is this “deputy town supervisor” absent from the official town calendar? Isn’t this similar to a situation in which the vice president of the United States would be kept secret from the American people ?

Is Town of East Hampton government any more transparent with its citizens and voters?

RICHARD SIEGELMAN

 

States’ Job
East Hampton
January 7, 2021

To the Editor:

I will try to cut to the chase as this will be kind of a “duplex” letter.

One thing made clear to me in the dizzying mixture of the knavish and the noble in the last few days in Washington and elsewhere, is that the objectors to the ratification of Joe Biden’s election to the presidency don’t seem to understand a basic systemic truth: National elections are the job of the states, and the only role for the federal government is the receiving of and counting of the already certified vote totals submitted by the states.

The federal job is simply to total up all of the states’ certified votes.

Consistently, the objectors were objecting to problems they had with the states’ own procedures. These issues can only be dealt with at the state level, and if they were to take an issue to court and wish to appeal a decision, that appeal would work its way up through our court system, possibly ending up in the Supreme Court, but only after it had been ruled upon by a series of lower courts originating in the targeted state.

As for those speed limits, first let’s mention Gay Lane in East Hampton Village. This one-block-long street serves as parking for the very busy post office and overflow from the CVS. It is often very busy with people coming and going from their cars, often burdened with shopping bags or newly arrived parcels. I have become aware that, as our year-round population has grown thanks to the pandemic, some drivers are using this short street to bypass the traffic light at Egypt Lane, or to simply short-cut to the same street heading south. Most often they barrel down Gay Lane at a speed that is simply too fast for the situation. Why not post a 15-mile-per-hour speed limit in the interest of safety?

And speaking of barreling, anyone who has ever parked on Amagansett’s Main Street in front of the Mobil station knows how fast vehicles are entering the village. Surely the 30-m.p.h. limit should begin at Brent’s. (I realize this is not easily done on a state road, but it should be attempted.)

FRED KOLO

 

Protect Residents
East Hampton
January 11, 2021

Dear David,

As I stated at last Thursday’s town board meeting, the images we’ve seen of Washington, D.C. — played out live on TV, on phones, on tablets, and on social media — are difficult to reconcile. And I denounce the abhorrent behavior of the insurrectionists, fueled by our president, who breached our nation’s Capitol.

Not surprisingly, these events in Washington, D.C., have some members of our community, especially our children, upset and scared. While Washington, D.C., is 300 miles away, I know some of our community members are expressing concerns about their own safety and the security of our community.

I want those folks to know that I hear you, and I share your concerns. This is an upsetting time for our country. But please know that the Town of East Hampton will do everything in its power to protect all residents from any infringement of their rights or threats to their safety.

Take good care,

KATHEE BURKE-GONZALEZ

Deputy Supervisor

Town of East Hampton

 

Who Are These People?
Amagansett
January 6, 2021

Dear Editor;

I am listening as I write this letter to Donald Trump at a rally in Washington to his supporters who are protesting the Nov. 3 election and want the election to be overturned. Listening to Donald Trump today I believe he is certifiably insane. Never before in my lifetime have I ever heard a president of the United States of America spew the lies and rhetoric he is doing now. Having spent years involved in politics, I, also for the first time in my life, wonder who are these people who supported this man and believed his lies? Donald Trump cares only about Donald Trump.

Now he has told his supporters to march to the Capitol and that he will walk with them, which is another lie because he has left them, and he went back to the White House. Cowards always start the fight and then walk away to let someone else finish for them, and Donald Trump is a coward. Donald Trump, I believe, wants to be a dictator like Putin and is a sick human being.

But Donald Trump is not the only person involved who is responsible for the mob attacking Congress. Rudy Giuliani told the mob to go into “trial by combat.” Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Lee Zeldin, and the 140 congressmen who supported Trump’s lies should all resign. Five people died from the insurrection and they all have blood on their hands.

We should be proud of those senators and congressmen who went back and counted the electoral votes, and of Mike Pence, for confirming that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the president and vice president of the United States.

What I am really also angry about is that Donald Trump does not care about, and never once in his speech mentioned, the fact that there are over 21 million cases of Covid-19 in the United States and almost 400,000 people have died. Enough is enough. Shame on them all who supported Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn an election in the United States of America with absolutely no proof.

Sincerely yours,

ELAINE JONES

Chairwoman

East Hampton

Independence Party

 

Unfathomable
Amagansett
January 11, 2021

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Everything that happened in our nation’s capital on Jan. 6 left me in a state of emotional shock, as it did much of the world. I’d looked forward to the day, hoping and assuming that the agonizing weeks-long battles over the legitimacy of the election, the accusations of voter fraud, all of it, would finally be at an end. Maybe not the ending that many had hoped, but a time, officially, to move on and accept the results of the electorate and of the Electoral College. But it still wasn’t over in the minds of thousands, and what unfolded at the Capitol building — it was unfathomable.

From the day the two conventions were over, and Biden and Trump were officially the candidates of their respective parties for president, Biden led in the polls, in some states by double-digit numbers, in others by a narrower margin. But in every poll, including those conducted by The Wall Street Journal (part of Murdoch’s media empire), he was ahead right up until Election Day. But long before the election, the president asserted that the election was rigged, that mail-in voting shouldn’t be allowed. Yet it was clear that, in a time of a worldwide pandemic, there would be more mail-in voting, more “early” voting. The Centers for Disease Control had been urging people not to gather, to maintain social distance; a consistent message for over eight months by the time of the election. The election, finally was over, the votes counted. Over.

And of course, the president never conceded. Even as I write this, he hasn’t accepted his defeat, but instead maintains that there was massive voter fraud and that his “landslide victory” was stolen from him. Dozens of lawsuits filed to legitimize his claim — none providing any evidence whatsoever to support that claim. All summarily dismissed as a result.

Every recount and certification of the votes (hello there, Georgia) yielded the same conclusion. Biden won. Even The New York Post, a staunch Trump supporter from the beginning, on Dec. 29 ran the front-page headline, “Mr. President, stop the insanity. You lost the election.”

And all of this swings my feeble brain back to January 6: Why did my fellow citizens do that? Why do so many people still believe they were “robbed”?

A friend of mine owns a very successful public relations firm in New York City. His firm has had many noteworthy clients, not only in the media and financial worlds but also in nonprofit and entertainment. One of his clients was Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and the C.E.O. at the time sent my friend a large Ringling Bros. poster — you can picture it, with the lion tamer, the elephant on hind legs, flying trapeze. And on the poster, in thick black marker, the words, “We’re the greatest show on Earth because we say we are!”

I used to be an advertising copywriter, Mr. Rattray. (I know, but don’t say it.)

Thing is, you learn, in the world of advertising and “branding,” that if you say something enough times, never waver from it, people will start to believe it. They’ll repeat it. “Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should.” “The breakfast of champions.” “King of beers.”

He never wavered from the message. The election was “stolen,” “We won in a landslide, you know that.” Say it again. “Fake votes. Dead people voting. Are we gonna stand for it? No!”

And now, millions of people believe that. Without a shred of evidence.

How does the “healing” begin, Mr. Rattray? I don’t have a clue. I wish Joe and Kamala and our great nation the very best. On a lighter note (well . . . ) I said to Mary today, “Imagine Joe and Jill moving into the White House now, after all the spewing. Do you think their first call will be to Mattress Firm?”

Peace,

LYLE GREENFIELD

 

Will Be Remembered
Montauk
January 8, 2021

Dear David,

Last Wednesday, after the violent mob supporting President Trump was finally expelled from the U.S. Capitol, Senator Mitt Romney, the Republican from Utah, stood up in the Senate chamber and called the attack what it was: “an insurrection, incited by the president of the United States.”

He addressed his Republican colleagues who had helped to incite the mob that day by trying to obstruct the formal recognition of the election results. “Those who choose to continue to support this dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy,” Romney said. “They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy.”

After the attack, several members of Congress, ashamed of what they had done, agreed to withdraw their spurious objections and finally accept the will of the American people. But our congressional representative, Lee Zeldin, was not among them. He persisted in voting to overturn the results of a fair and democratic election.

Romney was right. Zeldin will forever be remembered for his actions that day. He chose to stand against the democratic expression of the American people and on the side of a violent mob that had, hours before, bludgeoned into unconsciousness a member of the Capitol Police. That is, now and forever, his legacy and his shame.

Senator Romney concluded his remarks with a question: “In light of today’s sad circumstances, I ask my colleagues: Do we weigh our own political fortunes more heavily than we weigh the strength of our Republic, the strength of our democracy, and the cause of freedom?”

For Lee Zeldin, the answer was a resounding yes.

Sincerely,

PAUL TOUGH

 

Double Standard
Amagansett
January 10, 2021

To the Editor:

The Webster’s Dictionary definition of insurrection states:

“Insurrection. An act or instance of rising in arms or open rebellion against an established government or authority”

As sad as the demonstration and mobbing of the Capitol was, it was not an insurrection as many media and commentators are asserting. The unfortunate and unforgivable violence at the Capitol was a misguided, spontaneous outpouring that naively and mistakenly sought to influence the results of the Electoral College that were taking place in Congress. It was not a rebellion, nor a rising in arms against the government. It was a protest gone wrong.

There is no evidence of any advance planning, no stacks of bricks suddenly delivered to the protesters, no trucks mysteriously showing up with placards and crude weapons. No attempt to burn down the Capitol, no burning or looting in the D.C. streets, no deliberate attempts to attack the police and do them harm.

No masked, black-clad hordes hurling Molotov cocktails, frozen bottles, firing fireworks into the ranks of police.

No. But that was precisely what happened in Portland and Seattle, and is still happening! Police stations, courthouses, federal buildings being assaulted and set on fire. Separate “free zones” are secured and declared free from local authority, displaying arms and deploying blockades to prevent police from entering.

And yet, are not these acts that fit the description of insurrection? One would think so, but I have yet to see that term applied to those incidents, and even less any outrage and demand to bring to justice those individuals who participated in those unlawful acts.

Quite the opposite! Kamala Harris, our new to-be vice president, was raising funds to put up bail for those few who were being charged. As did many Joe Biden staffers.

So for Joe Biden and the Democrats, who did not deign to even mention the riotous events in Portland, Seattle, and Minnesota during their convention, to now characterize the protesters in D.C. as “insurrectionists” and “domestic terrorists” smacks to me of a disgusting, cynical double standard.

The D.C. protesters went too far. All they needed to do was to mass outside the Capitol and peaceably let the Congress be aware that while they did not expect the Congress to change the election results, they wanted to make a statement of their displeasure and disappointment as to how this 2021 election fiasco was allowed to proceed unexamined in any serious way. Sadly, that did not happen. But to equate them as those in Portland and Seattle and label them as insurrectionists is a falsehood that will come back to haunt those who so label them.

They will not forget. They will not go away!

BOB CONTI

 

Total Disgrace
Springs
January 9, 2021

Dear David,

What occurred on Jan. 6 was a total disgrace uncalled for and all involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

The morons who broke into and entered the building — so dumb they left fingerprints — took selfies, destroyed property, and left five people dead.

The only thing I don’t understand is Ms. Babbitt, a veteran, was shot and killed by an undercover police officer. Why? She wasn’t rioting. Yes, she was in the building, but what threat was she to this officer? During “the summer of love” in Portland, New York, Minnesota, Chicago, etc., rubber bullets were used.

Now, let’s discuss our freedom of speech being removed, totally taken away from all of us, is straight out of the Saul Alinsky book. Little by little, they remove your rights, eventually take over your country. You are now socialist. Parler is under consideration from Apple, why?

Perhaps we should just remove ourselves from big tech. Say goodbye to Facebook and Twitter. I have the right to voice my opinion.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO

 

A Symptom
Vero Beach, Fla.
January 11, 2021

David,

As a lifelong Republican and sadly, a former supporter of Lee Zeldin, I am embarrassed and ashamed by his behavior and contentious opposition to our democratic and constitutional process of succession. Hopefully, this is political posturing, but unfortunately, I am afraid it is a symptom of the venomous and corrupt leadership message of his current leader. Hopefully, our country will remember the bipartisan and “at the end of the day” conciliation of our political leaders, and ask them to join together to forget this recent nightmare.

Respectfully,

WARREN SCHWERIN

Mr. Schwerin’s letter was initially submitted in late December but it did not appear in The Star at that time. Considering that, its prescience is remarkable.

Ed.

 

Zeldin Vote
East Hampton
January 9, 2021

Dear David,

Hours after Trump’s zealots stormed and ransacked the Capitol, Lee Zeldin voted “yes,” objecting to the electoral vote count that certified Joe Biden’s Presidential win.

Preventing that certification was precisely the goal of the violent mob. Knowing that the attempt was doomed to fail in any case, a refusal to join in that goal would have been the morally right thing to do.

To justify his vote, Zeldin claimed that “many of my constituents have been outraged and demanding that I voice their objections.” While it’s true that the majority of CD1 voters supported Trump, no evidence suggests that more than a minority of these disappointed voters believe the thoroughly discredited assertions that, to quote Zeldin, “rogue election officials, secretaries of state and courts circumvented state election laws.”

My husband and I worked for 17 hours at an East End polling place on Election Day, witnessing firsthand a scrupulous, bipartisan adherence to procedure.

We are also Mr. Zeldin’s constituents, and we are outraged at his pious calls for unity after having cast his vote to support the entirely partisan effort to undermine American’s faith in the very electoral process that keeps him in office.

ANNE DAVISON

 

Unfit for Office
Montauk
January 8, 2021

To the Editor,

Donald Trump’s number-one East End sycophant, Lee Zeldin, has dishonored our congressional district, our state, and our country by aiding and abetting the domestic terrorist attack on our democracy and must immediately resign or be removed from office — forfeiting his taxpayer-funded pension, health care, and any other perks coming his way, and never be allowed to hold public office again.

With no proof, and after some 50 failed lawsuits rejected by the courts, as well as an increase in the number of Republicans elected to the House of Representa-tives, he watched a Trump-orchestrated assault on our Capitol and still pursued Trump’s conspiracy theory about a rigged election, proving he is unfit for office and is a national disgrace.

Sincerely,

RAV FREIDEL

 

Stood With the Mob
Sag Harbor
January 7, 2021

Dear David:

Like all Americans who love our country and revere our Constitution, we watched in horror as a rabid mob whipped up by dirty lies attacked our Capitol and desecrated the sanctum sanctorum of our Republic. Surely this appalling scene, proving that the lies of the president and his sycophants have deadly consequences, would force a change of heart in the G.O.P. Surely they would abandon their ruinous quest to disenfranchise millions of voters in Arizona and Pennsylvania and award the presidency once again to Donald Trump by congressional fiat.

And many Republicans did come to their senses, but not our Congressman Lee Zeldin. No matter the violence and destruction wrought by an insurrection waving flags of two treasonous factions — Trumpism and the Confederacy. And no matter that the action he advocated for on the House floor and voted to pass was precisely the action that the mob demanded as it laid siege to our Capitol.

Ludicrously, Zeldin will keep repeating his specious claims that he and the Trump Rump in the G.O.P. were engaging in an effort to restore faith in the election process. He’ll maintain that the disappointment of one slice of the electorate, inflamed by Trump’s lies that he parroted, was cause enough to invalidate the votes of another group. This is anti-American on its face. We don’t rank the value of our citizens’ votes for any purpose, much less on the basis of their political preferences. Congress doesn’t invalidate duly certified state election results because they don’t like the outcome. Make no mistake, eastern Long Island’s vote in Congress was used to damage our democracy. Our vote in Congress was used to endorse a coup.

We might say Zeldin should be ashamed. But he has proven himself beyond shame. He has decided that his entire career will be defined by his cowardice and partisanship on a day that will forever live in infamy. He has abandoned the Republican Party and its adherence to the Constitution for the Trump cult and its adherence to dictatorship.

No, it is his constituents who should be ashamed. We should all — all 600,000 or so of us — be deeply ashamed that our voice in Congress stood with the mob and their would-be king against the Republic and the rule of law. Shame on us for entrusting our civic voice to a man who employs it to spread lies and sedition. And shame on us for re-electing a congressman who violated his oath to protect the Constitution from all enemies — foreign and domestic.

DENNIS and ALICIA LONGWELL

 

Undeterred
East Hampton
January 9, 2020

Dear David,

Last week, after the seditious insurrection on Wednesday, Congress returned in the evening to finalize the Electoral College win by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, but not before Lee Zeldin, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and others, oblivious to what had had occurred and why it had occurred, took to the floor to repeat factually baseless claims that there had been election irregularities in Arizona and Pennsylvania. They thereby repeated the dog-whistle Trump call that the election had been “stolen.”

In arguing that the Pennsylvania vote was tainted, Mr. Zeldin simply repeated claims that had no basis in law or fact, claims that had either been rejected by courts at every level up to the Supreme Court (with a conservative majority), by principled election officials (including many Republicans), by Trump’s own attorney general, and by other federal officials responsible for election security. In Pennsylvania, claims of fraud or that observers were not permitted were abandoned by lawyers for Trump who sheepishly admitted there was no factual support for them.

Mr. Zeldin and his cohorts were undeterred. Their loyalty to Trump was stronger than their loyalty to the truth or their oath to uphold the Constitution. By continuing to raise objections that they knew were baseless and could not in any event change the election results, they were, in essence, repeating Trump’s statement immediately after the riots when he endorsed the rioters by saying, “We love you. You’re very special. We’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know you how feel.”

In a feat of verbal gymnastics, Zeldin and others said it was their “duty” to investigate the baseless Trump claims because their constituents “were asking questions.” This is completely specious and indeed, dangerous circular reasoning. The only reason constituents were asking questions is because they were led on to do so by the baseless claims raised by Trump and his enablers.

By messaging, “I know how you feel,” Zeldin and Cruz and Hawley kept the incendiary lies alive — even after the assault on Congress. Zeldin, in particular, should know better. Those “special people” that Trump and his supporters empathize with included people wearing “Camp Auschwitz” and “Six Million Weren’t Enough” shirts, along with their Confederate flags, their nooses, and other hate apparatus. That mob caused five deaths, including the murder of a police officer bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher.

In his latest and very carefully worded statement, Zeldin said, “[r]ight now, I am not going to dwell on any doubt. . .,” which means he says he still has doubt. He is thereby still pandering to Trump and the mob mentality that was shamelessly created by Trump.

If Trump is impeached, Zeldin will undoubtedly vote in favor of Trump, notwithstanding seditious conduct by Trump and the mob he incited. That sedition was enabled by Zeldin and his pals. He should resign. He won’t, of course, so it will be up to citizens who care about preserving democracy to tell him that we remember what he did — and let him know how we feel by throwing him out.

ALAN WEINSCHELL

 

Betrayal of Office
Amagansett
January 11, 2021

Dear David,

Lee Zeldin, our congressman, should resign. He has betrayed his oath of office and our country.

The latest stew of lies Donald Trump has fed to his supporters involved election fraud. The F.B.I., the D.O.J., the Department of Homeland Security, and his own attorney general all declared this was hogwash. State election officials, many who voted for Trump, and multiple levels of the judiciary, many of whom were appointed by Trump, affirmed it was a fair election. Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham affirmed it on the floor of the Senate.

Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton sarcastically observed “It is a conspiracy so vast and successful that apparently there’s no evidence of it.” To believe otherwise one must be abjectly ignorant or so willfully blind that Trump can tell you the sky is green and you will race outside, stare at a blue sky, and conclude Antifa terrorists dyed it.

There is a third option — willful complicity in a scheme concocted by a demented, criminal traitor in Donald Trump to overthrow our democracy and destroy our freedom. Make no mistake, the mob Trump, Giuliani, and Donald Trump Jr. incited would’ve murdered Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi if they had found them.

While the Republican Party commits suicide, Trump lacks the decency to lament the death of a Capitol Hill police officer, Brian Sickwick.

Lee Zeldin lent his name to the effort to attack our freedom. Long after his pitiful presence on the national stage has ended, the stain on him will redound to his dishonor throughout history.

PETER HONERKAMP

 

Prime Enabler
Springs
January 9, 2021

To the Editor:

Shame on all who have supported the election of CD-1 Representative Lee Zeldin, a past and even present prime enabler and protege of the POTUS who is the number-one conspirator in committing sedition and dereliction of duty by lying, inciting mob violence, and worse, in the attempted denial of congressional endorsement of the next duly elected President Biden and Vice President Harris.

All this within hours of a major insurrection within our halls of Congress by these very same fascistic malcontents actively working to destroy our democracy. Mr. Zeldin is still enabling Mr. Trump. Both should be impeached immediately, as they pose a real and present danger to our government and the people of the United States of America.

By the way, as a result of the attempted insurrection, four people lost their lives. Add them to the list of over 350,000 Americans killed and maimed by the Covid-19 virus, and the callous and premeditated sabotage committed by Mr. Trump and his cohorts by not providing the responsible leadership in quelling this pandemic. Dereliction of duty, absolutely.

LARRY SMITH

 

Rogue Officials?
Montauk
January 9, 2020

To the Editor,

After the Trump-engineered insurrection was put down, Lee Zeldin rose on the floor of Congress on the night of Wednesday January 6, 2021 to nullify the 2020 election. This is what he said: “Rogue election officials, secretaries of state, and courts circumvented state election laws . . . “They made massive changes to how their state’s election would be run. These acts, among other issues, were unlawful and unconstitutional.”

Rogue election officials like the deeply conservative Republican Georgia secretary of state who held firm in the face of strong-arming, bullying, and threat of criminal prosecution if he did not find another 11,380 votes for Trump? Courts that circumvented state elections laws? Like the 60 courts, state and federal, comprised of both Republican and Democratic judges that ruled against overturning elections laws and ruled against reversing certifications made by duly appointed officials of both parties?

Mr. Zeldin stated, “These acts, ‘among other issues’, were unlawful and unconstitutional’” Mr. Zeldin is a lawyer, and he cites ‘among other issues’ as a basis for overturning a democratic election? This on the floor of the Congress after an insurrection has taken place, and he cites “other issues” as a basis for overturning a democratic election? Mr. Zeldin’s performance on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 is an embarrassment to the legal profession and an affront to democracy.

Whatever, if anything, happens to Mr. Trump for inciting insurrection, we should all remember that Lee Zeldin was one of Mr. Trump’s enablers even after the insurrection took place.

DONALD POLS

 

An Extremist
Amagansett
January 7, 2021

To the Editor:

After experiencing the mob attack on Congress, in which supporters egged on by Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani broke windows and doors to try to get at him and his peers, Lee Zeldin, as The Star reported this morning, went ahead and voted to cancel the outcome of the election, and keep in power the man who sent the mob.

In a recent letter, I called Zeldin an extremist, for supporting the Texas attorney general’s lawsuit to disenfranchise the entire American electorate. Zeldin’s actions yesterday illustrate how richly he deserves the name. We now know that he also seems to lack a sense of self-preservation, remaining loyal to a leader whose impulses and rhetoric might have resulted in his injury or death yesterday. (Shame on Manny Vilar, by the way, for endorsing the already active fringe conspiracising this morning that the mob wasn’t Trump supporters.)

Zeldin could have backed off under the circumstances, like some of his fellow travelers did (your article cites Elise Stefanik). He might at least have offered a hand wave in the direction of deploring violence, as Josh Hawley and most others who pursued their coup attempt did. He did neither, issuing a statement which (as you also ably pointed out) recycles all of the false assertions already rejected by Trump-appointed judges and others.

Lee Zeldin’s loyalty to a violent man who feels none toward him, and his wholesale endorsement of proven falsehoods, again squarely raises the question of whether he has what it takes to serve even Republicans (of the non-QAnon variety) effectively in Congress.

JONATHAN WALLACE

 

Indelible Stain
East Hampton
January 8, 2021

Dear David:

“American carnage.”

It will end as it began. In January 2017, Mr. Trump forebodingly warned us about what he saw as “American carnage.” On Jan. 6, 2021, Mr. Trump unleashed that “American carnage” on the nation he swore an oath to protect. After he urged a lunatic fringe to “fight hard” and “with strength,” and his attorney Rudy Giuliani said it was time for “trial by conduct,” and Donnie Jr. did his part by urging the thugs to target Republican members of Congress who failed to support Mr. Trump, the fringe answered the call and terrorized the Capitol and all inside.

It is fitting that the term of the worst president this nation has had the misfortune to suffer through will end with an indelible, traitorous stain on his already odious legacy, and with blood on his hands for causing the deaths of four of his supporters and a Capitol Police officer whom a rioter bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher.

Mr. Trump’s malevolent use of his office has put the nation’s safety at risk, left America’s reputation as an envied democracy in tatters, and leads to the inescapable truth that the assault on the Capitol was a violently seditious act aided and abetted by a lawless, amoral, and frighteningly insecure president. Leaving him in office even for another hour poses an unacceptable risk.

This brings me to our congressman, Lee Zeldin. Over the night of Jan. 6, he joined other G.O.P. House members in an unconstitutional effort to disenfranchise the votes of every American who voted in November, repeating Trump’s fabricated claims of misconduct. Parroting his puppetmaster, Zeldin would nullify the Pennsylvania election because poll workers were not allowed to oversee the vote-counting process. I guess he skipped the chapter of this charade in which Mr. Giuliani, instead of facing the penalty of perjury, confessed that the claim was fiction. Even more fundamentally, nowhere in the Constitution is Congress vested with the power of replacing the will of the voters with its preference. Mr. Zeldin can pin a scarlet “S” on his lapel – as a seditionist.

Now, where do we go from here? The 140-plus senators and House members who wrongfully sought to overturn the 2021 elections should be expelled, and running them out of office on Jan. 20 would provide poetic justice. Maybe such a political leaching is just what America needs right now.

BRUCE COLBATH

 

Heart of our Democracy
East Hampton
January 11, 2011

To the Editor: 

The Capitol building symbolizes the heart of our democracy; it is the place where the people’s will — the certification of the next duly elected president of the United States — is carried out. 

After hours of chaos and sickening violence erupted on Wednesday — the horrors perpetrated by the lawless mob that laid siege to the Capitol, lawmakers barricaded in offices fearing for their lives, countless attacks, and five dead — the desecration of the symbols of our democracy ended, but the legislative assaults were just beginning. 

As Congress reconvened to do their sworn duty, our congressman, Lee Zeldin, in direct violation of the oath of office he took to uphold the Constitution, voted to reject the state-certified election results of Arizona and Pennsylvania. Think about that. He sought to throw out millions of lawfully cast ballots, all the while knowing full well that the results had been legally challenged multiple times and were irrefutably legitimate.

The mob may have physically trashed the People’s House, but it was Zeldin and 146 fellow Republicans who drove a rhetorical stake through the heart of our democracy, attempting a legislative coup. He should never be allowed to walk the hallowed halls of the Capitol again.

Sincerely,

CAROL DEISTLER

 

Misguided Mayhem
Amagansett
January 11, 2021

Dear Editor,

Shock. Anger. Fear. Disgust. Shame. Disbelief.

There is no shortage of superlatives to go along with these feelings after watching the events of Jan. 6 unfold. The mayhem, rising to criminal behavior resulting in several deaths, marks a new low in American political life. The demonstration was so bad it is hard to know where to begin, but here are a few thoughts.

Disgust and Disgrace. No excuse for the political process to be disrupted. The senseless loss of life will stain the legacy of this president. Any good achieved in the last four years (vaccine developed in under one year, record-low unemployment, etc.) will be totally overshadowed.

Misguided Mayhem. What was the endgame here? Did anyone really think the presidential election result would be overturned? Anyone think drugs and alcohol were involved in that mob? Now we’re going to spend several million dollars turning the Capitol into a fortress, instead of the beautiful, majestic, inspiring symbol of liberty and justice for which it was constructed.

Blown Opportunities. Failed shortsighted power plays in an effort to exert control and remain in office backfired completely. I know a lot of people who hate Trump the person so much, that I would not be surprised that, if given the chance, they would destroy a bunch of votes. But more than 6,000,000 votes? That number is greater than all of the votes cast in Ohio. Those officials who voiced their objections to election results through appropriate channels will be drowned out and probably ignored, and any chance to have a legitimate challenge to the 2020 election is gone.

Think about the likelihood of a 6,000,000 vote error. I mean, a candidate can’t be pro-methane pollution (What! Even many in the industry thought it was a bad idea), pro-separating immigrant children from their mothers (What! Heartless! Not to mention creating a new class of kids with serious emotional trauma issues in North America), and try to have some good photo-ops to prove you are not afraid of Covid (and then get Covid!) a month before the election, and still expect to win the hearts of the people! Not happening.

Collateral Damage. The guilt-by-association principle will no doubt dog every other Republican for the fore-seeable future. At 51.3 percent for Biden, 46.9 percent for Trump, and 1.8 percent for other candidates, it was a very close election.

In many Blue states, the vote count for a Biden victory was very slim. In contrast, the states that Trump won, he won by much wider margins. This, along with the fact that the Democrats lost seats in the House to Republicans, is a clear indication that millions and millions of people reject the big government (socialist?) agenda put forward by the Democratic party.

I imagine many of those votes were actually for the conservative principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, personal liberty, less intrusive regulation, strong foreign policy, and — irony of ironies — law and order.

Reasonable opportunities leading to bipartisan agreement have now been punted to the one-yard line, forcing Republicans, whether in office or at large, to do damage control as they try to distance themselves from this dangerous display. [Senator Mitch] McConnell did himself and his party a huge disservice by his own batch of gamesmanship, and now he has lost control of the Senate.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, yet now that one party controls both the executive and legislative branches of government, I worry that a slight margin of victory could be used to push through a variety of big government programs that would weigh down the country for years.

Amidst the anger, there is also pity and compassion. I’m pretty sure that most of the rioters, even if super- gung-ho Trump supporters, would not have escalated their actions to the same degree had they not been forced to live in social isolation, had their homes and jobs disrupted or lost, had friends and loved ones die, and lived with the real and present threat of their own death at every turn, every day, since March. No one likes the pain, suffering, and inconvenience brought on by the pandemic, but sometimes people can’t cope with frustration and feelings of powerlessness and they act out very, very badly.

If there is one small thing to gain from this fiasco, it will be to distinguish those who voted Republican and those who voted for Trump. They are different. In recent years I have worked with hundreds of intelligent, reasonable, thoughtful fellows who identify as Republicans, and it would be unfair to tar them with the same brush. There are a whole lot of voters caught in the middle of two political extremes, yet they have to choose one or the other candidate at the ballot box. Biden was the most moderate of all the candidates, and that is why he won.

I went to school at the University of Delaware and I am happy that Joe Biden will soon take the oath of office. I wish the incoming president godspeed in the monumental task of governing and healing that lies before him.

ELIZABETH HALLIDAY

 

Crossed a Line
Montauk
January 11, 2011

To the Editor:

Republican Representative Lee Zeldin has shown his spinelessness over and over in supporting the red-hat-in-chief, no matter how cruel, heartless, or just plain stupid the policies. He is pretty good at parroting the lies, as well.

Z. crossed a line last week, and may as well have been one of those who desecrated the Capitol by parroting lies that T. was “cheated” in a lawful vote. All those Republicans in Congress who said the same now have blood on their hands. The lies are smears on American voters. Statements were made that couldn’t be legally made as part of a formal court proceeding because they would bring contempt charges.

Let’s not forget this in 2022 and vote Lee Zeldin out of office. He is a disgrace.

PAT LUKASZEWSKA

 

Should Be Expelled
East Hampton
January 10, 2021

Dear David:

“We are Americans first” — this was the title of the latest nauseating email message I received from our congressman, Lee Zeldin. It was penned after rioters stormed the Capitol, putting our entire Congress and the vice president at significant risk of harm.

Mr. Zeldin writes: “I returned home from our nation’s Capitol after witnessing firsthand from inside the House chamber on Wednesday the best of America clash with some of the worst of it in a moment of my life I will never forget. The vandalism and loss of life at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was totally unacceptable and there must be ZERO tolerance for violence in any form!”

It took two to tango in the dance of incitement that led to that violence. Mr. Trump’s phony rhetoric of a rigged election was one dance partner, but that tango of violence likely would not have occurred without the gasoline provided by those in Congress, who by announcing their intent to object to the election results gave a veneer of legitimacy to Trump’s lies. In his revisionist message, Mr. Zeldin conveniently ignores the fact that he was one of “the worst,” one of those who provided the needed gasoline by falsely claiming that Republican poll watchers were forbidden to attend the Pennsylvania vote counting process. Mr. Trump’s “legal” team candidly confessed to the Pennsylvania court hearing Trump’s case that those claims had no basis in fact. Mr. Zeldin is a lawyer and undoubtedly knew that — every American grounded in reality knew that — but he marched to Trump’s drumbeat anyway.

Mr. Zeldin’s conduct, as a member of the House of Representatives, was nothing less than an affront to the Constitution he swore to uphold, and a seditious act designed to topple the rightfully elected Biden administration. It was not an act by an American — it was an act by a legislative terrorist and should be treated as such.

Under the United States Constitution, the term of a member of Congress may end prior to its normal expiration by way of expulsion. One of the grounds under which a member of the House can be expelled is the perceived disloyalty to the United States.

Nothing more accurately describes Mr. Zeldin’s actions in opposing Trump’s electoral defeat than disloyalty to the United States. Mr. Zeldin is right about one thing: America must have zero tolerance for such conduct. He should be expelled.

Sincerely,

CAROL O’ROURKE

 

Clear and Intentional
East Hampton
January 9, 2020

David,

On Wednesday morning, waking up to the Democratic victories in Georgia, there was a sense of elation and relief. Loeffler was abysmal, and Perdue was terrible. The alternatives were significant upgrades.

Elation was short-lived, upended by Trump and the events in D.C. In its simplest form, the president and his supporters openly and intentionally participated in criminal seditious acts. They violated the law and deserve to be punished.

Even if they were right and the election was rigged and stolen, their actions were inexcusable. They assumed the roles of judge, jury, and executioner, none of which they legally owned.

Trump, in front of the nation and the world, incited his followers to stop the election of Joe Biden. It was unambiguous, perfectly clear, and intentional. What he instigated was criminal and dangerous and while he remains free he is a threat to the security of the nation. Logically, we are at risk until he is detained and isolated without bail.

Whatever means are employed to remove Trump from the White House, it must be done immediately. If we handcuff and detain kids selling loose joints or people passing red lights or someone who talks back to a cop, we can certainly do the same to him.

As for the Republican members of the Senate and the House who participated in the objection to certifying Biden and Harris, we need to be clear that they played an essential role in abetting and supporting the uprising. Their presence in the government is a stain on our political system.

The racism and anti-Semitism of the rioters can’t be dismissed. Five years of promoting these beliefs at the endless Trump rallies finally came to roost in the Capitol buildings. There is a strong sense that if you are not against these ideas you are for them. Silence is acquiescence. Indifference leads to chaos.

Actions have consequences.

NEIL HAUSIG


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