Breaks My Heart
October 27, 2021
I’ve never written a letter to The Star before but due to my last visit back to East Hampton I just feel that something needs to be said. So here goes. First off, I’ve never encountered so many a—h—- as I did on this trip! Formally being from East Hampton and being a true Bonacker it just breaks my heart to see what has happened to that wonderful town. So many hedges and gates. Are they there to keep the poor folk out or the rich folk in?
Anyway, to get back to why I’m writing this letter, my “adventures” started five days after arriving in East Hampton. My friend and I went to get a Covid test done at the town site. We had a 5 p.m. appointment. There were only a couple of young people there to administer the tests so it took a while. Sometimes you just need to be patient. It was close to 6 p.m. when we were finishing our visit. I was speaking to the young man about a personal issue when out of nowhere this man came up to our vehicle and started berating the young man. It appeared he was a V.I.P. who had a 6 p.m. appointment and wanted to know what was taking so long. The more he yelled at the young man the madder I got at him. I had to say something otherwise my head was going to explode. I told the man he needed to be patient as the young man was doing the best he could. The man, unable to keep his mouth shut, further asked what should he do. My response to him was “Go home!” He scurried back to his car like a little rat. I believe I made that young man’s day as he left with a big smile on his face. Good!
My next “adventure” took place in the Catholic cemetery on Cedar Street. My friend’s daughter had taken my friend and me up there to visit my family plot. We pulled over to an area to the right of the road leading into the cemetery that is grassy and is perfect for parking without blocking the road for other vehicles. Well, I went to reach for the door handle to open the passenger side and, lo and behold, this f?-kin’ idiot went past us on the right going about 60 miles an hour. That’s right, on the grass and God only knows if he drove over any headstones. I was flabbergasted to say the least. We watched him go around the first circle, he stopped, and I turned to my friend’s daughter and said “Pull over next to that m—— f—-.” He could have killed me and, needless to say, I was ready to rip his head off and shove it up to where the sun doesn’t shine. Just another example of the new inhabitants of East Hampton. Boy, do I feel sorry for the Bonackers who put up with this s—- every day.
Oh yes, before I close I want to mention being passed by drivers on the double-yellow line. I guess that double line doesn’t mean “no passing” anymore. We were doing the speed limit on Cedar Street, but apparently we weren’t going fast enough for some people. And of course the town has deer crossing signs but they don’t mean anything when you have a V.I.P. driving in such a hurry — to go where?
When I said goodbye to my friend, I told her to take care and God bless. And be careful and watch out for all those a—h—-. I’m looking forward to my next adventure in East Hampton. Never a dull moment up there for sure.
KATHY (MCGUIRE) NEUHAUS
November 1, 2021
I write in support of Ms. Joan Laufer’s Oct. 22 letter complaining about your regular publishing of hate letters in The East Hampton Star by a sole letter writer. Just as Facebook has a responsibility to curate its site for toxic diatribes, so too does The East Hampton Star. As Ms. Laufer states, the willing publication of “these hate-filled letters” fans discord, distrust, and anger. I join with her in urging The Star to discontinue the publication of these letters.
Don’t Read It
November 1, 2021
The woman who feels I’m spreading hatred and demanding The Star stop publishing my letters, also claiming Facebook is on board, needs to think again. Where have you been for the past four and a half years? Was there one week in the past that numerous writers tried in every way to destroy Donald Trump, the names he was called, the vicious lies that were printed, all because the writers just plain hated him?
Have you read the garbage written about Congressman Lee Zeldin, and you call my letters hate-filled? And what does being a taxpayer have to do with my letters?
There are certain letter writers I don’t agree with and dislike their writing. You know what I do? Check the name that’s signed and don’t read it. I suggest you do likewise. Don’t like it, don’t read it.
In God and country,
Become a Model
November 1, 2021
To the Editor,
By the time this publication goes to press, voters on the East End will have made their voices heard regarding our town supervisor, board, and trustees. The challenges in front of this administration are serious — some would say existential. Our planet is at the tipping point in terms of species collapse and the effects of climate change. We are all aware of the impact of that on our communities here. Our social fabric is under enormous pressure by intensifying inequality. Where will we find teachers, emergency workers, caretakers, restaurant and store staff, taxi and bus drivers, and a myriad of other types of workers if there is no affordable housing? We as members of this community need to hold our leadership accountable for fast and meaningful change locally. Because we already know what’s at stake! All of these problems have been studied to death for as long as I have been visiting, then living on the East End — decades.
That means closing and reinventing an airport that caters to the convenience of a few over the endangerment of the health for many. We need to stop studying the affordable housing problem and build. We need new and tough zoning regulations to halt the overdevelopment of this community. We need a paradigm shift in how we think of the land, its uses, our yards, our practices that contribute to the collapse of species and the poisoning of our environment. The East End is no longer sustainable as it staggers along now.
Yes, there are days when we may all feel these existential issues are too overwhelming. Let’s put a deadline 5 or 10 or 20 years down the road and maybe things won’t be so bad or another administration will tackle this. Tragically, we really don’t have that time to ponder. And we already have small models of sustainable transformation around us. The town administration could and should be a catalyst and leader in undertaking the most life threatening of these issues. It already has some remarkable environmental regulations on the books. They need to be rigorously enforced. The town has made a commitment to confronting climate change. Then let’s do it rigorously in a way that may actually become a model for communities across the nation. Because if a wealthy community like East Hampton cannot do it, I wonder who can. We have some wonderful talent around us. Let’s put those folks out front and empower them.
Take, for example, a simple issue that by changing it can make a rippling set of changes that make a difference: leaf blowers. Communities and states across the country have begun to regulate these highly polluting and species-damaging machines. First there is the movement to transition from gas-powered leaf blowers to electric ones because the gas-powered ones emit dangerous levels of carbon pollution. All of this has been documented ad nauseam. But the real issue is the concept of the leaf blower and the environmental impact of its enormous forced air technology.
First, leaf coverage is an important source of returning nutrients to the earth, providing fertilization along with water retention for the winter months. That layer helps to replenish the soil. Many small animals and insects in particular depend on that leaf layer to reproduce. The powerful forced air of the leaf blower destroys that. But the impact for the health of humans is that leaf blowers push dangerous lawn chemicals and animal droppings into the air which we breathe.
“But what about my lawn!” I can hear so many of The Star’s readers screaming. Yes, it means we need to take a tough look at our lawn culture. It is deadly. It removes valuable habitat from birds, bees, insects, and small animals. Again, there is a movement across the land to challenge us to think differently about our yards. If you must maintain some lawn, grow clover, which retains nitrogen, the culprit in our bays and drinking water. But why not experiment with pollinating gardens? They are so much more beautiful and wildly chaotic than the boring, repetitive straitjacket of poisonous and water-guzzling lawns. You will be helping to sustain species rather than eliminate them.
There are many articles and resources, websites and organizations, including local ones on the East End, to help you reshape your landscaping imagination.
And let’s hold the supervisor and town board accountable to making these transformative practices on town properties. We can do it. We have begun to organize neighbors in our part of East Hampton. Imagine what we could accomplish if those ideas spread like a pollinating garden.
Call Them Owners
November 1, 2021
Following on from my letter of last week, it makes me wonder whether anyone in our state government has pondered the consequences of the prolonged eviction moratorium?
The idea was inspired, to some extent, as in the short term it allowed for somewhat controlled pandemic living situations. Understandably, it was implemented rapidly, and as things go in such cases it did not look at the many variations of people’s circumstances.
It seems to have omitted providing help to landlords whose rental was from their main residence, or to those whose rental was their sole way to cover the cost of mortgage and/or sole source of income. I’m sure there are many more variations but for now let’s look at these.
If you are a landlord (such a loaded term) it implies you are a Lord of the Land. Hmm, many landlords are, but so many are just trying to make ends meet and struggle to navigate life’s journey the best way they can. Let’s call them owners going forward.
The eviction moratorium has assured one group of people of a stable living situation while pushing owners to resort to “couch surfing,” not the safest option in the midst of the pandemic, considering excessive and unplanned loans are a challenge when your credit is tanking due to lack of rent coming in. Must I go on?
There seem to be a faint light on the horizon as the pandemic seems to be moving into our rear mirror.
Long term, however, I’m deeply concerned. The eviction moratorium might have created a more serious and prolonged issue, at least locally. What owner in their right mind would now consider renting year round knowing that their rights were nonexistent, compensation a fantasy, and recognition of the service they provide to the community absent.
Given a scarcity of affordable year-round housing, is this an example of the government shooting themselves and us in the foot? Maybe? Probably? Let’s hope not.
Make Opinions Heard
East Hampton Village
November 1, 2021
I remember that when Mayor Larsen was campaigning for office, he told us that he was going to transform the village. Well, that is exactly what he is attempting to do, transform the village into something less by adding to residential and business density.
Our village has been well served by taking a slow approach to changes in our code, assessing what the changes would bring about, looking for unintended consequences, and carefully vetting all ideas with members of the community being invited to share their viewpoints.
Mayor Larsen does just the opposite; he gets a request from one of his donors, has the village attorney write the code, calls a public hearing, closes the hearing and calls for a vote at that very same meeting — and, since these meeting have been online Zoom meetings, it is difficult to call in to the meeting to ask questions. At least when we held meeting in person, it was easier for the public to make their opinions heard. The mayor has said that he wants to move fast, and in my opinion that is almost always a mistake.
The mayor and his party, Deputy Mayor Minardi and Trustee Melendez, vote as a block, which means that everything passes with his unstoppable majority on the board.
At our next meeting, on Nov. 19, the mayor will be advancing two local laws that had their hearings on Oct. 15. These two local laws, one regarding the expansion of basements outside of the main footprint of the house, and the other regarding window wells away from the foundation walls. I see these changes to our code as a way for homeowners and builders to create more space in the home.
The mayor has proposed allowing these additional underground spaces to be up to 25 percent of the structure’s footprint. I would be in favor of allowing a 15 percent expansion, and someone who wants a larger addition could apply to the zoning board of appeals for the variance. I would also want to restrict the use to not include bedrooms. I am fine with additions for mechanical space and perhaps workout studios and playrooms, but bedrooms are just adding to density and the concomitant traffic increase.
The proposal on window wells: Why would we allow window wells eight feet from a basement wall? That would put it substantially outside of the building footprint, so there would be a window well away from any structure like a little sunken island. I do not see this as being a welcome addition to our code.
I would like to know who has specifically asked for these changes, and is there a design plan? I think these changes are something we should not put into the code without a lot of input from village residents.
The unintended consequences of these changes to the code will not be known for years, and adding these local laws to the already-passed accessory structure code, which could potentially add over 400 two-bedroom units, runs the risk of an explosion of residential density that the infra-structure of the village is not able to handle. Traffic is already past the breaking point during the summer season, and I don’t see the need to go at these changes full speed ahead, damn the consequences.
Please let the board know how you feel about these potential changes, either by letter to the board of trustees at 89 Main Street (you can use the drop box at the rear of Village Hall), or you can email the board via June Lester at [email protected].
Together, we can keep East Hampton as the place we know and love: the most beautiful village in America.
ARTHUR (TIGER) GRAHAM
Mr. Graham is an East Hampton Village trustee. Ed.
East Hampton Village
October 30, 2021
To the Editor:
A brew pub with a beer garden in a residential area of East Hampton Village suggests a zoning and traffic nightmare. Consider the proposed location: Toilsome Lane, from Montauk Highway to Gingerbread Lane, is residential with a number of important historic houses. Across the street is the Dayton farm field, purchased by the Town of East Hampton to keep it out of development — and a reminder of the bucolic past of this immediate area. And within a half block or so is the Buell Lane intersection, already one of the most confusing and unsafe crossings in the village.
To the north is an office building with adequate parking and a long-established use. If anything, the proposed location should defer to its residential and farm field neighbors with some quieter and more passive use.
Can a brew pub and beer garden be considered a village amenity, desired by or of value to village residents? In all likelihood, it will attract people from outside the area as a drinking and partying destination. When you think of the added traffic on this narrow lane and the effect on surrounding village streets, as well as the noise potential, it is simply one of the worst development ideas propounded for a village that takes pride in its 372-year history and traditions and in a safe and peaceful quality of life.
If the authorities allow this reckless intrusion, they will set a terrible zoning precedent, one that can be repeated in future years, transforming other residential areas of the village.
October 31, 2021
I am responding to Stacey Stowe’s self-serving letter last week in regard to the proposed brewery on Toilsome Lane by the Diamond family.
The Diamonds have owned the parcel next door to Stacey Stowe’s house and have been residents of this community for generations.
Stowe is a part-time resident who only purchased her home six years ago and apparently did not do her due diligence. The Diamond property is zoned as a manufacturing district, giving them the legal right to do exactly what they are proposing on their property.
Stacey Stowe comes out of the woodwork to blame the village administration as if it were their fault that she bought her home on Toilsome Lane next to a property that is not residential. She rambles on in her letter criticizing the positive changes in the village that bring us together as a community. For example, she doesn’t like the enjoyable music put on by the village for a couple of hours a week at the beach because she says it “disrupts the majestic sounds of the sea.” Really? Does the gathering of our Jewish and Hispanic residents who play music at the beach annoy her as well?
She speaks of the tacky banners in the village. Does she not realize that the banners told the story of Guild Hall for their 90th anniversary, as well as proudly announcing the celebration of our village’s centennial? Probably not.
Her opinion is that the changes currently taking place in the village are resulting in a loss of charm. That is a ridiculous statement. The changes are actually bringing a sense of community to our town and life back to the village. Stacey Stowe doesn’t know too much about our community. Her opinion regarding the administration’s work does not reflect the majority of our residents. Stowe’s complaining can’t change the fact that a brewery is a legal use on the Diamond property and has been for decades.
November 1, 2021
To the Editor,
I am writing to reply to Stacey Stowe’s letter to the editor in last week’s paper. Her main complaint is the proposed Brewery on Toilsome Lane, evidently near her property. Perhaps she should have done better due diligence before buying her home. The Diamond property has been zoned as industrial for many years. To the best of my knowledge, one cannot change zoning on a property once a building proposal has been submitted. If she doesn’t want a brewery near her, perhaps she would be happier with a large machinery or gas depot on the site. Or better yet, affordable housing. All of the above businesses are allowed on industrially zoned properties.
She complains about the concerts at Main Beach during the summer. Seems to me most people who attended were locals and they really seemed to enjoy it. She complains about the monied and powerful ruining our village. What is ruining our village is the recent arrivals who buy and then shout, “Nimby!” at the expense of locals who have roots going back centuries. As for the lack of public meetings of local government, where has she been these past two years? Does she not know there is a pandemic going on?
Ms. Stowe seems so unhappy with the village that I am at a complete loss as to why she bothered recently buying a home out here in the first place.
Process Is Dead
November 1, 2021
To the Editor,
The democratic process is dead here in East Hampton. Sorry to report same in Southampton. New York’s First District’s attempt at a government for and by the people is an abysmal failure, as demonstrated by the East Hampton Town Planning Board refusal to hear the voice of the people who understand what’s going on. No attempt was made to inform the thousands of inhabitants who must use Three Mile Harbor Road what lies ahead. If this boondoggle is built, years of headaches will follow.
Adios, East Hampton, so ends my 50-year romance. I will not live under government tyranny.
The Final Bill
October 31, 2021
As Biden’s $3.5 trillion bill designed to improve the lives of the bottom 75 percent of the country slips into irrelevant oblivion, there is an underlying philosophy that drives the final bill to total crap. Somewhere between “never give a sucker an even break” and “give them an inch and they will take a foot” is the philosophical base of how Republicans and some Democrats deal with the vast majority of the population.
In its pared-down $1.75 trillion iteration, it is significant that climate (a good but essentially abstract expense) takes precedence over the primary objective of the bill to help people who have been screwed for the past 40 years.
Even when outmanned by the Dems, Repubs know that someone will come to the rescue (see: Manchin and Sinema) and save their butts. While they felt helpless to stop the pandemic government largess, this idea of helping average and poor Americans would have to be derailed. Forty years of screwing everyone they could and buoyed by the insanity of Citizens United and the dead-head supreme court, they never saw the Dems taking over and never imagined Biden transitioning from mindless moderate into a humanistic almost-mensch (great guy).
Protecting the country from the billionaires’ tax and efforts to battle climate change, which could both pay for and save us a fortune, M&S contrived a new level of mindless drivel to sustain the status quo. Even Elizabeth Warren’s analogy of a ditch digger paying more taxes every time he got a small raise and Bezos paying no taxes because he can spend millions on accountants who will save him billions, fell on deaf ears.
There is a theory about the extraordinary stupidity of Americans compared to their counterparts in communist countries. Oppression and violence are necessary to control people in communist countries because the populations won’t believe the bullshit that they are told to subjugate and pacify them. American governments don’t need violence or oppression to keep the people in line because all the drivel they spew is wholeheartedly accepted as gospel. For example, Republican pols who were petrified and freaked out by Jan. 6 have been told that it wasn’t really as bad as they experienced and now they are calling it a “family visit that got a little carried away” Or when Matt Gaetz was caught having sex with an under-age prostitute, he talked about fake IDs. Or that Clinton didn’t have real sex with Monica, or that Regan’s economic policies (trickle-down) were great for the country, or that climate change, like the pandemic, is kind of fake.
We believe in God and country, but never ask why our churches don’t pay taxes and our country systematically destroys for profit under the guise of weapons of mass destruction or the price of oil, bananas, and computer chips.
So realistically, Biden’s bills aren’t about the money. Any college accounting major could find the money in the current budget. The reason that not a single Republican and some Democratic moderates won’t support Biden’s plans is an economic and political philosophical doctrine that if people are dumb enough to be screwed then they have to be screwed.
Don’t You Wish?
October 31, 2021
To the Editor,
Here are two election-week questions for East Hampton Star reader-voters:
Assuming that you received your (un)fair share of negative attack-ad types of misleading, deceptive, partisan political fliers filled with half-truths, untruths, and non-truths — both for and against various candidates — do you (like me) wish that all such fliers obeyed the courtroom standard of, “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”?
Secondly, don’t you also wish that, instead of often having to cast your vote for the lesser of two evils, you had the opportunity (and honor) of voting for the greater of two goods?