Lessons Seem Lost
January 18, 2021
Today is Martin Luther King Day and I would like to honor him with a memory I have of him in contrast to the mostly violent riots this past summer in the name of social justice.
I was 12 years old when Dr. King was assassinated on the veranda of a hotel by James Earl Ray in 1968, just after our family dinner and as we retired to the den to watch television before bed. Our program was interrupted by the news of what had occurred, and, of course, the rest of the evening, we relived the horrific act of violence over and over again in black-and-white footage and somber, devastated coverage spoken in reverent monotones delivered by ashen-faced anchors and stunned journalists.
Numbed, confused, and shaken, we were all one, under God, facing a tragedy together. The facts were the facts. A controversial Black man had been murdered because he dared to practice his civil rights of free speech and peaceful protest against the evilness of racism. As a child under those circumstances, I never heard it spun differently. It was an accepted, universal truth he died a national hero.
As a child living during that period, it was extremely unsettling and frightening to watch American heroes, first President John F. Kennedy, Dr. King, and later, Robert Kennedy, killed in cold blood by assassins. But it was a definable reality for me as I transitioned from a child into an adolescent when Dr. King was murdered. Hatred and racism were a disease of the soul, evil was its name.
Dr. King spoke many times about hatred and how we can’t let it control our thoughts and actions. He was a champion of nonviolent protest, the most prominent and powerful leader of civil rights in the history of our nation whose legacy is unflappable and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Yet, half a century later, his lessons seem lost on a society who worships not a higher power, but false, destructive narratives. Hate and violence continue to be the weapon of choice by a few extremists on both sides and, meanwhile, the ashen-faced anchors and non-biased journalists of years gone by have been replaced by provocateurs of the truth that spin every news story to fit their political narrative.
The words of Dr. King are empty vessels of hope lost in the colossal vitriol of race-badgering, censorship, and identity politics pushed down our throats by the press and media, our free speech hammered, censored, and shamed on social media and livelihoods canceled and destroyed. Dr. King’s dream is alive and well, but we have been led to believe it doesn’t exist, that we are the evil assassins of his vision. But, what would Dr. King say if he were alive today?
If there is one lesson Dr. King taught me, it was love and tolerance. No one should be judged by the color of their skin; character is the essence of a human being. But he also taught me another: Not everyone has to agree with one another on everything. It’s just as important to have an open mind and listen to each other. Trust will follow, change will come.
Dr. King’s words were heeded; his peaceful civil actions brought the legislated change we so desperately needed. On this day we celebrate his legacy, let us all remember, violence is never the answer. And we are not a nation of evil, racist people. Don’t let anyone lead you to believe otherwise. If you do, you’ll only have yourself to blame for the failure of our democracy. There is work to do in the name of social justice, but we can’t be led by dangerous, hate-mongering narratives. If there is anything we can do to continue the work of Dr. King and live up to his dream, it’s to remember what he gave up in the name of freedom and racial equality. We owe it to the man and his memory to live by his words and actions, not by the violent deeds and hateful rhetoric of weak leaders and imposters of his legacy. If Dr. King were alive today, he wouldn’t recognize who we have become.
Justice for All
January 16, 2021
I appreciate your memorable column “Chain of Violence” (Jan. 14) about the long history of racial violence, slavery, and repression in our country. Too many people either don’t know, forget, or minimize how deeply it goes, or how much it remains a part of our national character.
There are still those — even in the North — who think the wrong side won the Civil War and that Lincoln made a mistake freeing the Confederacy’s slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation and the entire country’s when he signed the 13th Amendment.
In my younger days, when I worked summers at East Hampton Airport, I developed a friendship with a co-worker who was amusingly excitable, very smart, and very funny. He hated nuns because they had whacked him with rulers when he was a kid, but otherwise he had no political agenda I ever noticed despite many hours in his company.
I got to know him again many years later. He was much edgier and angrier than I remembered, constantly spewing rants about Democrats and liberals. But I liked him — until one day about five years ago, when he made a point of sitting down with me to lecture me on my errant ways as a “liberal.”
I had never considered myself to be a full-blown liberal, but he did. I had told him I believed the most important role of government is to establish and maintain a human construct that does not exist in nature: justice. To him, that made me radical left.
Among many other outrageous comments about the collapse of morality, the march toward socialism, and the need for assault rifles because of the grave potential for home invasions, he declared that Lincoln had been “wrong” to free Black people.
I was so stunned I did not engage him. I thought it pointless. But I have thought often over the years of all the things I wish I’d had the composure to say.
There are a lot of people all around us who think like my radicalized former friend. By playing to them, Donald Trump — a casual, shoulder-shrugging “it’s-no-big-deal; I-like-certain-black-people-if-they-like-me” white supremacist, gamed an electoral system that was created to give disproportionate voting power to the agrarian states (which were coming to rely more than ever before on slave labor at the time, as you noted in your column).
That’s how he could win despite losing the popular vote. But just think: he garnered more than 74 million votes to Joe Biden’s 81 million.
I fear that most of those Trump voters, even the nice ones, quietly, in their heart of hearts, agree with my radicalized, angry, deluded former friend about Black people. How else could they let themselves vote for such a man?
To them, justice for all — the whole point of our country — is an aspiration for radicals.
Real Hard Look
January 18, 2021
How are we going to heal this gigantic rift in our country? I’m open to listen to ideas that make sense. This caterwauling has got to stop; it’s getting us nowhere and causing more hate and violence. Can we at least agree on that? Instead of “they said,” and “they did,” let’s call a timeout, not for reinforcements, but for a real hard look at what we’ve birthed as a nation. It’s ugly. No argument there, yes? Do you want a safe, healthy intact country and law and order too? Good, then we’re not only on the same page, we’re reading the same book. We actually could, if we just stretch a bit, for all our benefits, see this as a possible solution, a truce, so we may remain a United States, and nothing resembling somewhere without the liberty we hold dear. We’re not China, Russia, North Korea, or Afghanistan. We’re us. And right now, we’re terrorizing ourselves.
Are we going to allow misguided, brainwashed, extremely angry, locked, and loaded men to destroy our towns and cities over an election? Over feeling someone forgot them in the system? That’s not the way through this. Consider what we might all do to dial this way the heck back. Can we? We have to, or we’re done. Nobody will forgive us, do business with us, or look at us the same way ever again. Families will crumble. Communities will perish. The writing is on the wall. You did this.
You’re marked. You’ve turned. Is that the intention, to become the beast? Annihilate the country? Then what? Throw some magic beans on the ground you trampled with the blood of hate, and try to grow a new monotone society? Of whom? Clones of yourself? Fear and militia living in our towns and streets? Is that the plan? If so, it’s flawed and will backfire. It already has. Stop.
If you want normal things, like a roof over your head, a job or vocation, chemically-free food, safe streets, good available health care, an end to abuse, great Social Security and retirement options, the rich finally paying their fair share, incentives for people in need to build their own homes, no more irresponsible neglectful parenting and unwanted pregnancies, no drug-addicted children, more money toward education for all careers and trades and apprenticeships, more literacy, more art and music programs, less Big Pharma, more farms, no intolerance toward people of color or gender, no religious indoctrination, a sensible handle on the availability of assault weapons, help for the mentally ill, much better treatment for our honored veterans, no more senseless brutality from our supposed protectors, a wide-awake look at the climate crisis, clean water to drink and swim and fish in, our music venues to come back, small businesses to get the help (not corporate bigwigs), huge responsibility, and accountability from social media, an end to this pandemic, then let’s get ‘er done.
But first this coup of misplaced blame and mayhem has to stop. Nobody owes you a damn thing. Nobody “did this to you.” Grow up. If you don’t like the way it’s been done, then find out what you’ve been doing to help it go pear-shaped. Stop following Chuds with nothing else to do but wreck havoc with their lies and theories of turd. No one is too cool to be schooled. Relearn. I dare you to break the chain.
You don’t care anymore? You don’t want peace? You’re the terminator of terror? Then be prepared to be on the wrong side of history and spending the rest of your life in a jail cell. It is not on. What you claim to despise, you have become. Nobody wins this war. Nobody will regard you as a hero or martyr or legend. It’s a fool’s errand and you’ve been played and set up. When you choose hate and violence, you lose whatever good might exist inside of you. A shred of decency, maybe.
Grab the humanity balm and apply liberally ( a lot) and lie down for 15 minutes under a warm blanket. When you wake, let’s talk.
In urgent peace,
Village of Mo’
January 18, 2021
The proposal by the East Hampton Village to charge non-village residents $2 an hour to park in either the Reutershan or Schenck lots is ridiculous.
I avoid the village as much as possible during the summer anyway, but this proposal, if in acted, will result in dramatically less patronage in businesses in the village. Given the devastating effect that Covid has had on businesses everywhere this proposal is shortsighted and quite honestly, dumb.
The new administration wanted to change the reputation of East Hampton from the “Village of ‘No’,” so now it’s the “Village of Mo’” as in mo’ money.
More ‘Road Rage’
January 17, 2021
Charging Village nonresidents $2 per hour for summer parking immediately upon entry in the Reutershan and Schenck parking lots is truly a harebrained idea. This will only encourage those of us who are not Village residents to shop and eat elsewhere, severely hurting Village businesses. Also, the Village police better prepare for more “road rage” as drivers fight over the limited number of free parking spots available.
January 15, 2021
To the Editor,
I just now read “East Hampton’s Downtown Parking Lots Free No More $2 an Hour for All but East Hampton Village Residents” and can see the intent is to make us unwelcome. I saw this coming when Mayor Jerry Larsen ran his campaign by targeting the New York City residents who have second homes in the village.
Mayor Larsen is now setting out to make his village more exclusive to these constituents. This is the one thing they want, and he’s delivering.
I am now being priced out of my lifetime habit of visiting the village for a slice of pizza. I am now being priced out of visiting the village for ice cream cones. I am now being priced out of visiting the village for time in Herrick Park to spend time with others doing the same. I am being priced out of East Hampton Village to be with others. That is the price. And that is the intent.
For those who believe, “It’s only a couple of bucks,” think a second: He initially proposed $10 and $20 fees. The “couple of bucks” is only the beginning. Once in place, he’s got you.
January 16, 2021
To the Editor:
Now that the construction of the new East Hampton bus depot on Springs-Fireplace Road is to begin, I would like to urge the East Hampton School District to replace all of the gasoline and diesel fuel-powered buses in its fleet, preferably with electric buses or at the worst, with natural gas-powered vehicles. Traffic on Springs-Fireplace Road is already dense enough, and with the addition of the school buses, we do not need to add to the air and noise pollution.
Also, I trust that the new vocational center to be built at the same site will train students to repair not only gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles but also electric vehicles. It should provide training for all of the technologies required by the new economy and for high-paying work in areas such as computer programming, renewable energy work, etc. It should be flexible enough to change its curriculum as demands for skilled workers change.
ROBERT G. PINE
Safely Carry Power
January 18, 2021
Congratulations to Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and our town board members on their stellar draft host community and easement agreements with Orsted to at last allow its cable to safely carry power from the South Fork Wind Farm to our homes and businesses. These enlightened provisions will protect East End waterways, create jobs, increase resilience, and provide to our community a benefits package of nearly $30 million. I strongly support these agreements. I heard overwhelming, logical community support for them at last week’s public hearing. Let’s thank them for their four years of exhaustive analysis, due diligence, and wise decisions.
Unfortunately, their excellent work is endangered by the foolhardy campaign to separately incorporate Wainscott.
Timing is of the essence. Should that ill-intended campaign succeed, the effects could well be dire, making null some or all of these beneficial provisions.
Worse, it would delay the date when the wind power comes online to power 70,000 homes, undercutting its contributions to slowing climate change — that’s sea rise, acidification, and more frequent and severe storms. It could hobble the town’s ability to meet our commitment to rely entirely on renewable energy by 2030.
Further, the much longer routes advocated by Wainscott’s Nimby opponents would render the construction phase unduly burdensome for local businesses and many thousands of our citizens, lasting an additional year and running through Route 27, Amagansett, and East Hampton Village.
Therefore it is of the utmost importance that the board rapidly come to agreement with the trustees on how the benefits package is shared so that both the board and the trustees can vote in January to finalize and sign the agreement, ahead of a possible vote on the separate incorporation of Wainscott.
Just think: Then the board and trustees can move on to the marvelous job of designing and implementing new energy efficiency, waterways protection, and renewable projects. They can also augment the excellent programs already available. Think how neat for us all: We might see many more solar arrays and find electric charging stations at our beaches and docks. Let’s go!
ALICE TEPPER MARLIN
The Public’s Loss
January 18, 2021
To the Editor,
Bravo on your Jan. 7 editorial titled “Trustees Have Leverage.” Our CfAR members and supporters read the editorial with great interest.
As you rightly pointed out, the Wainscott village incorporation movement may result in the loss of public access by the 21,000-plus East Hampton Town residents to the ocean beach lying south of the proposed village. It will also undoubtedly result in the public’s loss of its longstanding right of access to Georgica Pond for crabbing, fishing, and recreation.
When East Hampton Village was incorporated in 1920, the incorporators and inhabitants recognized and acknowledged the town trustees’ ownership and management of the beach by locating the southerly boundary of the village at the beach grass line. That left the area between the high-water mark and beach grass line firmly and solidly within town trustee jurisdiction. More than a century later, the beach grass line remains the southerly boundary of the Village of East Hampton.
The Wainscott village proposal ignores trustee ownership and management of the beach south of the proposed village by locating its proposed southern boundary at the high-water mark. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see where this is going.
The trustees and the town board have the chance to stand up for the rights of the public to access this beach that the inhabitants of the town have enjoyed for more than a few centuries. The boards should do everything possible to ensure that unfettered public access remains for all the residents of East Hampton Town.
The trustees and the town board should learn from the oversights of earlier boards. East Hampton Village, while acknowledging trustee ownership and management of the beach, has a great deal of control over access by virtue of its ownership of the parking areas and road-ends along the upland of the beach.
If there is a new village in Wainscott, the trustees and the town board must see to it that adequate arrangements are made for free, year-round, unrestricted East Hampton Town resident parking at all road-ends and parking areas along the beach and ponds so that access remains open to all East Hampton Town residents.
The trustees, town board, and all residents should also be mindful of the precedent that will be set if incorporating as a village operates to give the privileged few the right to exclude the rest of the town’s inhabitants from enjoying the natural resources that the residents of East Hampton have worked hard to protect and have enjoyed for centuries. It is easy to see where different areas of the town might seize upon incorporation as a means of restricting access to town beaches, thereby making the beaches essentially private while increasing their property values.
We at CfAR, our members, and supporters will be keeping a close eye on this issue and encourage all of your readers to as well.
Citizens for Access Rights
Must Pay a Price
January 17, 2021
Supervisor Van Scoyoc has gone to great lengths to undermine Wainscott, including recently removing town Councilman Jeff Bragman as the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Council town board liaison.
Jeff Bragman has been outspoken in his concerns that the town board is circumventing the Article VII review process as a result of Orsted’s misleading $26 million offering to the town (paid over a quarter of a century!). Like the residents of Wainscott, Bragman is wary of the town’s prioritization of money over the safety and well being of the community.
But to the supervisor, those who speak their mind must pay a price. That is why he punished Jeff Bragman by stripping him of his role as Wainscott C.A.C. liaison and replacing him with one of his longtime allies, Sylvia Overby.
Wainscott has long been recognized as the gold standard for citizens committees. For nearly 40 years, W.C.A.C. meetings have been held at 9 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month. This is what works for our community — 80 and sometime more than 100 community members show up monthly — multiples of any other C.A.C. But after being appointed as our new liaison, Sylvia Overby’s very first move in the opening minutes of the meeting was a hostile act to try and change the days and times of our meetings. Not only is she muddying our line of communication with the town board, but she is attempting to undermine the sanctity of the meetings that have served our community well for 37 years. (Her suggestion was voted down by the committee.)
“Taxation without representation” would be an upgrade from what we now have! Supervisor Van Scoyoc has sent his modern-day equivalent of General William Howe (a.k.a., Deputy Supervisor Overby) to suppress the Wainscott independence movement. That did not work for the British and will most certainly not work for the town now.
Round Up the Votes
January 18, 2021
I would like to thank Jeff Bragman who, for the past two years, has confidently, gracefully, fairly, fearlessly, and wholeheartedly served as the East Hampton Town liaison to the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee. Sadly, Jeff was unceremoniously replaced as the liaison during the East Hampton Town Board organizational meeting that took place on Jan. 5.
As Jeff sees it — and I agree — his replacement was “the price to be paid for speaking out” on behalf of the citizens of Wainscott, for whom Jeff has tirelessly advocated regarding the town’s recalcitrance to respond to the poisoning of our wells (which most likely started on the town-owned airport land) and ensuring proper environmental review of a massive electrical infrastructure project, the Orsted wind farm.
Indeed, during the above meeting it was clear to me that East Hampton Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc does not like to be challenged. In response to Jeff’s questioning of why he was being replaced, Peter arrogantly and falsely stated that “it is the supervisor’s prerogative to assign liaisons.” In fact, it is the supervisor’s job to recommend liaisons for the board to approve and/or disapprove, not to designate his deputy supervisor, Sylvia Overby, as Jeff’s replacement (by email) then round up the votes to support his recommendation.
Clearly, Sylvia is not aligned with the best interest of the citizens of Wainscott — she was filmed on local television two years ago laughing about the concerns of 1,200 Wainscott community members regarding a proposal to run a 138,000-volt electric cable through our residential neighborhood. Starting off her first Wainscott Citizens meeting with an attempt to change the date and time of our first-Saturday-of-the-month meetings (37 years and running) showed Van Scoyoc’s velvet fist.
It remains to be seen whether Van Scoyoc will invoke his aversion to challenge when deciding on the petition signed by hundreds of Wainscott residents who want to vote on incorporation. Will he give the people a voice and let democracy work or will he walk on his usual path and deny the people the opportunity to vote? I hope he does the right thing and gives us our voice. If not, he will be perceived as a power-hungry politician attempting to take away the voices of the people he serves.
Sounds Like . . .
January 17, 2021
Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott (C.P.W.) claims it is not a Nimby group.
C.P.W.’s impracticable alternative route puts the cable in someone else’s backyard.
Sounds like Nimby to me.
JEREMIAH T. MULLIGAN
Have a True Say
January 18, 2021
To the Editor,
In late November, Orsted/Eversource gave Wainscott a startling and unwelcome glimpse at our future if they have their way. Orsted/Eversource brought in a massive lift boat “barge” to begin soil sampling as part of their proposed cable installation. This disruption certainly did not go unnoticed, and it is a strong indicator of what’s yet to come.
This is the latest hint of the adverse impact that the construction of this massive infrastructure project would have on our community. If approved, disruptions of this nature would persist for over 30 months. (What happened to the promised one shoulder season?!) The town has also started an opaque process to reimagine the future of the airport with little community or Wainscott input. The town has not even provided information about how the public can be informed about the remediation of the Superfund site that New York State recently declared at the town-owned airport, located in Wainscott. Talk about willful neglect.
Beyond the direct benefits of incorporation (e.g., local control, responsive government, planning and zoning oversight), those actions further illustrate the importance of incorporating Wainscott as a village to prevent the industrialization of our community.
Incorporation is the only way to protect our community. The people of Wainscott deserve to have a true say in these matters. It’s time to take back control of what is happening in our own backyards, just as our neighbors in the Villages of East Hampton, Sag Harbor, and Sagaponack have done for many years.
January 18, 2021
I write this in my private capacity and not as a representative of the town or the town planning board, which I chair.
On its website, the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, in arguing for incorporation, states: “We would, in essence, have the representative government we do not now have — and need more than ever — as an incorporated Village within East Hampton. Today none of the 14-plus elected officials is from Wainscott. We receive fewer benefits than we pay in taxes. Moreover, as the smallest hamlet (with, cynically, the fewest votes), the town board majority believes it can ignore your opinions (and consistently does.)”
The real cynicism is found in C.P.W.’s belief that Wainscott residents can be represented only by those who reside in Wainscott. It appears that C.P.W. cannot imagine the possibility that a member of the town board from Wainscott might actually support the Beach Lane landing. Yet, there is considerable support within Wainscott for both the South Fork Wind project and the Beach Lane cable landing. Merely being a resident of a particular hamlet offers no certainty that a legislator from that hamlet will reflect any presumed views of the residents of that hamlet.
C.P.W. bemoans the geographic distribution of the current town board, but ignores the fact that at least two members in the recent past were Wainscott residents. C.P.W.’s assumption that the location of a town board member’s residence determines the way in which he or she might vote regarding any issue is nonsensical. I know of one road in the Northwest on which three present or former town board members reside, and I would be surprised to find all three in agreement about any controversial issue.
If hamlet residency is a prerequisite for town board membership, then meaningful town governance is doomed, and to what end? The threat that Amagansett, Montauk, or Springs residents will seek to split from the town when some wealthy residents in those hamlets may take offense at a decision of the town board will be ever present, with devastating impacts on the town in ways that C.P.W. is not considering.
The fundamental power of a village is to zone land. Before long, the town could be home to multiple, competing zoning codes. Imagine what the Town of East Hampton would be like with four or five or six different zoning codes. Owners of businesses with objectionable uses will go forum-shopping to find accommodating village codes and pliable planning and zoning boards.
The East Hampton Town Zoning Code is venerated and its validity has been upheld in countless lawsuits. It has prevented the kind of overdevelopment, disregard of the environment, and blight found elsewhere. As East Hampton’s hamlets incorporate, each new village will enact new zoning codes, and each new village will choose the uses that it will or will not permit. Before long, as the financial constraints on these new villages become more pronounced, there will be a race to the bottom, with the temptation to allow objectionable uses and the increased tax revenues that come with them surely becoming more than these new villages will be able to resist.
Very truly yours
January 18, 2020
I find it interesting that the opponents of Wainscott incorporation are dominated by a corporation wanting to maximize its profits by running its high-powered cable through a residential neighborhood. Wainscott United’s Twitter feed has attracted such strong interest from Orsted’s paid lobbying team and others from outside Wainscott aligned with Orsted (Win With Wind). The new website design seems to be no coincidence either.
I respect people who have an honest disagreement, but it’s hard to respect someone in bed with a large corporation that wants to overtake our village — and not to acknowledge it. How coordinated is Wainscott United with that Orsted proxy (Win With Wind), the town itself, and trustees themselves? Until proven otherwise, we should all take everything this group says as little more than Orsted propaganda because that is what it is.
January 17, 2021
I was distressed to see your slanted coverage of the recent town board work session regarding draft agreements to facilitate Orsted’s wind farm project on Beach Lane. You misrepresented the public comments, as you focused on the former town officials and their allies who are pushing the project, and failed to focus on the Wainscott residents who spoke out against the project (all but one were against) and shared specific and well-researched legal, environ-mental, and safety concerns. As someone said on the call last week, the town and trustees’ draft agreements with Orsted are as “solid as Swiss cheese.”
If you had, you could have informed your readers of the real problems of the project rather than your historic practice of condemning people (“Nimbys”) rather than engaging on the issues. For example, you have previously said that the laying of the high voltage cables would cause less and shorter disruption than a water main. Your snarky comment was based on ideology, rather than science and illustrates that your lack of knowledge regarding the risks of this $1.6-plus billion infrastructure project is frightening.
If you had presented fair coverage of the hearing, you could have told your readers that Orsted’s wind farm project, when compared to a water main, will take longer to build (e.g., up to 30 months — six times the five months originally assured residents), present the risk of water contamination through deeper trenching (nearly double), provide for the storage and use of hazardous materials (just read the agreements), necessitate noise walls because of the high decibels resulting from the drilling, restrict access to emergency vehicles in violation of state building and safety codes, risk exposed cable on the beach, and the high voltage cable will result in far more disturbance, including thousands of feet of directional drilling, high decibel noise, diesel fumes, pull boxes and manholes, huge splice vaults the size of shipping containers, complex logistics and methods and risks of electrical fires.
The next time you express your outrage at a politician that lies and makes up facts, you should check your reporting on the wind farm and remember the saying about people living in glass houses.
Short a Few Zeros
January 15, 2021
WOW, as in Watch Out Wainscott! The sheer arrogance of the Citizens for the Protection of Wainscott in redrawing 350-year-old boundaries of the hamlet. That disenfranchises residents that they deem unworthy to belong. These self-absorbed “citidiots” hired a conglomerate of lawyers, accountants, and consultants to devise a phantom budget. The first, in July, was $300,000. Whoops, must have been a fickle finger of fate that worked the calculator. Then, in December, it mysteriously went to $1.02 million. Lo and behold, the projected cost may be well over $3 million to $5 million? What is this, pin the tail on the donkey? Well wizards, which one is it?
Hard-working families and senior citizens on fixed incomes may be forced out because of their lies by omission and distortions strictly to hide their sham: the sinister plan of pure gerrymandering that the court jester jackass with the Sharpie decided who is unworthy. Essential services, already provided by the town, are paid for in our town taxes. They will remain and automatically increase, as all taxes do. Of course, they do the Curly shuffle as they hijack W.C.A.C. meetings. Is this not utter contempt for those of us who live here, too, and support the economy year round? Why not pour water on our shoes and try to convince us that we are standing in a typhoon?
They claim that administration will be adequately filled by unpaid volunteers? Who were the Three Stooges who drew up the first sham budget? Their crystal ball calculator isn’t capable of dividing the cost by the number of residents. Must be some type of mumbo-jumbo calculator that is short a few zeros. I guess one of the secret deep pockets that hide behind their hedges will provide a closet for the staff, since they already trip all over themselves, as they strut their self-importance.
Their agenda has been clear, this has nothing to do with anything other than the cable coming down their pee-pot cow path. I guess they aren’t aware of the Jan. 14 news reports that our governor is in favor of not only Orsted, but several others as well. This is his green energy focus. Try to buck him and he will squash you like a bug.
They are tired of paying the hopeless litigation costs themselves. The incorporation scam is an easy way of breaking into our checkbooks to argue the litigation that they are foaming at the mouth to file. It reads like this “The Inc. V. of Wainscott” vs. the assorted wind farms, et al. Untold millions will drown us during all the court dismissals and appeals that will follow. They can flee to their real addresses while we suffer with the debt that will be forcing us out. Watch the property values plummet.
One only has to look toward the last incorporation failure, in Mastic Beach. That fiasco dissolved after only six years. Why? Same three-card monte scheme as their proposal. Their proposed budget was originally $600,000 and it zoomed to $3 million. Did our self-anointed, self-centered, highbrows borrow that calculator?
Wake up. We have only one clear choice: Vote No. Guard your checkbook to show that we the people are not cannon fodder. This afternoon one of my frightened senior neighbors asked, “Why is there no picketing in front of their homes?” Good point!
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
January 14, 2021
This November, there will be several critical town-wide elections for town supervisor, town council, and town trustees. Contrary to the rosy picture painted by the current administration, many serious issues are facing East Hampton. From Wainscott to Montauk, there are problems, some of which have plagued our town for years.
After years of mismanagement and neglect, Wainscott is in open revolt and attempting to incorporate. The situation in Montauk is not much better, and there is creditable chatter of an incorporation attempt. In Springs, property taxes are out of control, crushing local families that struggle to make ends meet. The beaches in Montauk remained a mess, as the administration did nothing except sit on their hands waiting for the Montauk to Fire Island project. The South Fork windmill project and airport remain as divisive as ever. Toxic septic waste continues to pollute our waterways, and groundwater contamination continues unabated. There has been no economic development to encourage year-round employment and a living wage. Our senior citizens center is collapsing around them. Our town employees remain without a contract since 2018, while the supervisor and town board gave themselves raises.
One-party control has accomplished nothing of any benefit to the greater good. Special interest gets a free ride, and ordinary citizens are greeted with indignation.
If you want to make a difference to move East Hampton forward, we want you to come to join us to help make the town government responsible and responsive. If you are interested in a better East Hampton, regardless of your political party affiliation, contact me at 631-324-0528 and screen for the open positions.
The East Hampton Republican Committee is the local party dedicated to working families, a living wage, environmental conservation, equality, diversity, and economic development for all. We believe in bipartisan solutions regardless of financial status or political party affiliation. Access to the town government should not be based on what you can afford or how much you donate to a national or local political party. Town government should be fair, equitable, open, and transparent to all.
Come and check us out at our next monthly meeting. We will not judge, nor will we demand that you follow a national, state, or New York City political doctrine. Let us work together for a better East Hampton for all.
East Hampton Town
December 28, 2020
To the Editor,
I watched from early in the morning until late at night the horror of Sept. 11, 2001. In the course of that day there were many people who gave their lives trying to save others. I need to speak about the police most specifically because they have been unjustly accused of being systematically racist. Nothing could be further from the truth. The police were saving the lives of people with all different skin colors.
It’s very sad and very upsetting to see our police, who go out every day wondering if they will come home to their families, each day being attacked the way they are. Everyone knows there are going to be a few bad police, but it is not systematic, as the news media is reporting. There are bad people doing really bad things in all walks of life every day. To attack all police and call them systematically racist is truly unjust, and I am so sorry for all the police who have suffered this terrible injustice.
St. Michael the Archangel, patron paint of police officers, please protect our police. God bless America.
Fallacy and Foment
January 15, 2021
The American people were given quite a show on Wednesday, as Mr. Trump was impeached for a second time.
In conga-line fashion, Republican House members rose not to defend Mr. Trump’s flagrant incitement — in broad daylight — of the riot that endangered the members of Congress, The Capitol, and the vice-president himself and led to five deaths. What most did was to rise and exhort Democratic House members to stand down, because it would allow the country to begin the healing process.
As has been its practice, the Republicans’ finger pointing has stood this crisis too on its head. What prompted the crisis that reached its crescendo last week was not the doing of Democrats; the riot of last week has a direct link to the baseless claims by Mr. Trump that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulently stolen from him. This began more than a year ago with Mr. Trump’s criticism of mail-in voting, despite its widespread use, as rife with fraud — setting up the excuse if he lost the election.
After losing, he unleashed claims of widespread fraud, election irregularities, and phony attacks on the vote-counting process. But court case after court case failed to get off the ground, because no evidence whatsoever accompanied Trump’s claims. And, if his lawyers got into court, their ethical obligations and the penalty of perjury forced them to concede that no evidence supported their claims.
Reconciliation can occur only if all involved approach it from the basis of truth. So, if the G.O.P. was really interested in unity, the first step must be the acknowledgement that the 2020 election was fairly held and to dispel all claims to the contrary. It’s not a hard lift, even Trump’s appointed election security official admitted as much — before he was fired. Failure to do so will only permit Trump to persist in his fallacy and foment further insurrection.
This obligation lands close to home as well. Manny Vilar, chairman of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, continues to defend the Republicans’ specious challenge to the 2020 election results. Embracing Mr. Trump’s litany of baseless election claims, he asks for a thorough investigation of the many reported instances of “systemic election fraud” and perceived election irregularities. What Mr. Vilar must do is acknowledge that every one of the Trumpian claims he has retrumpeted lacks any basis in fact. Unity starts at home, and it is incumbent upon Mr. Vilar to do his part.
Unity can begin only once Republican leaders stand before the American people and acknowledge that the 2020 election was fair and claims to the contrary are unfounded. Of course, this will be difficult, but that is the weight of responsibility leaders bear. Foisting blame onto Democrats is not the way to start.
The Big Lie
January 17, 2021
To the Editor:
Last week’s Star did the community a service by publishing all the letters to the editor illuminating the calumnies of our congressional representative Lee Zeldin. So many letters, so many facts of Zeldin’s betrayal of our democracy and the Constitution. He knows no bounds when it comes to his slavish, cultlike caving to Trump.
That said, I must bring up another facet of his dangerous actions. Like me, Lee Zeldin is Jewish. He must know that a significant component of the MAGA mob are anti-Semites. The “Camp Auschwitz” T-shirt worn by one of them at the Capitol break-in is Exhibit One.
The Charlottesville riot and the mob, praised by Trump, chanted, “The Jews will not replace us” is another exhibit. The halls of social media are crowded with anti-Semitic taunts and threats. Every single Jewish organization focused on combating hate has been sounding the alarm at Trump’s incitement of racists and Jew-haters.
Zeldin should read an important book, “Constantine’s Sword” by James Carroll. In 750 pages he tells the 18-century-long persecution of the Jews by their Christian hosts. And what is the underlying fire for the Spanish Inquisition, Russian pogroms, and the German Holocaust? The big lie, the big lie that the Jews aided the Moors led to the Inquisition, the big lie that the fake book “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” was used as proof that Jews wanted to dominate the world of finance, thus justifying the pogroms. The biggest lie of all of course, was that the Jews stabbed Germany in the back during World War I. That one led to the Holocaust.
In the present, the first time a Jewish temple was targeted for a murderous attack in American history was by a user of Gab, one of the social media places Trump fans are going after being thrown off lately aware Facebook and Twitter.
Telling big lies destabilizes a society, makes people angry, and leads to violence — always against scapegoats set up by the liars themselves.
Zeldin’s endorsement of the big lie when he signed the amicus curiae brief and then his add-on to the vote decertifying the chosen electors, were fuel to the fire of haters, rioters, and, ultimately, murderers. By not distancing himself from Trump’s endless election falsehoods, Zeldin doubled down on promulgating the big lie.
I leave it to my fellow letters-to-the-editor writers, political pundits, and psychiatrists why Zeldin would do such a thing. But the one thing I do know is when Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of repentance, comes next fall, Lee Zeldin should do some serious reflection on the harm he is doing to his own people.
‘What We All Knew’
January 15, 2021
During the impeachment proceedings this past Wednesday, Lee Zeldin was given more time than most of his Republican colleagues to state his case. I was really taken with the following remarks,
“First off, in the Articles of Impeachment, it’s written that the President gave a speech and he told his supporters to come here and that he incited this riot and one speaker after another after another here on the other side of the aisle, have repeated that in the Article of Impeachment. But we all know that this was a pre-planned attack. We all know that there were pipe bombs being discovered while the President was speaking. We all know that the Capitol perimeter was being breached during the President’s speech. We know that this was pre-planned and it started while the President was speaking. Why is that not in the Articles of Impeachment? Why is that not incorporated into my colleagues’ remarks?”
I guess they were not incorporated into the Articles since they are being saved for the trial. If we did, indeed, “all know” that this was preplanned, why weren’t we prepared for what took place? Why did Trump keep riling up the crowd when he knew they were heading for the Capitol to do harm? These Zeldin remarks are further evidence that a heinous crime was committed, abetted by Trump. I surely hope that he is called as a witness for the prosecution to talk about “what we all knew” when the trial takes place.
January 17, 2020
President-elect and vice president elect are looking for peace and harmony from all. With that said, just listen to the name calling from Biden. To a reporter asking a question Biden didn’t like, calling him a dog-faced pony soldier. Now we have Vice President-elect Harris out raising money to get vile protesters out of jail. This is a good pair.
The attack on the Capitol last week was disgraceful, uncalled for, and unbelievable. However, without any investigation, Nancy Pelosi ran into action, along with the rest of the Democrats and, no surprise, with at least 10 Republicans.
Now that the F.B.I. has begun its investigation, sources have come up with information, that this attack was planned way ahead of time, way before the protest began. It was not all Trump supporters involved. One John Sullivan, a left-wing activist, screaming burn it down, told police he was there to take pictures and film the march. He was arrested. Many were arrested and more to come.
The results — Trump looking at impeachment, hundreds arrested, and the country divided more. Ms. Pelosi has no regard for the United States of America, only for her power. She is a person of no concern for anyone but herself, and any way she can win, no matter the cost, she will.
Nancy Pelosi brought into the rotunda a woman with Covid, because she needed her vote. She also allowed Eric Swalwell to remain on committees with high intelligence information, regardless of his connections with a Chinese spy, a woman named Fang Fang. She needed his vote, too. Pelosi uses political ploys in order to get her point across.
President-elect Biden has said he intends to bring back Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to approve mortgages on customers who can’t afford payments. Been there before, works great.
In God and country,
A Nation Divided
January 14, 2021
Much has, and is, being written and opined by every political talking head, of every political persuasion, of the failed attempted coup of Jan. 6. Our democracy, Constitution, and standing in the global politic have never been in greater jeopardy than they are now. We have gone from being that “promising tower of democracy and liberty on the hill” to what we also were, and still are, a nation divided, at virtually every aspect of what constitutes a functioning and democratically elected Republic.
Justice is an end game of all politics. When there is no justice, politics has failed.
In due respect to our newly elected President Biden, who has said, of the shameful scene in our Capitol, “This is not what our country is. We are better than that.” I don’t think so; 75 million citizens voted for Mr. Trump, a President who sent his “love,” support, encouragement, and admiration to this gang of criminal perpetrators, traitors, and white supremacists who murdered a Capitol police officer, five others, and trashed and terrorized our Congress.
Of those 75 million voters who even voted “No” to Mr. Trump and his enablers, most still remain silent in condemning the systemic racism and bigotry that have been with us since the slaveholding framers of our Constitution had their say? Where are the “folks” who should be saying no to the separation of babies from their parents? Why are our jails disproportionately filled with people of color? Who are and where are those of moral courage who will continue Martin Luther King Jr.’s quest for the Promised Land? A promise made but still not kept.
While it is true that all lives matter, the call that Black Lives Matter resonates with the real truth, that, to many, Black lives don’t matter at all.
T-Shirts reading “Camp Auschwitz” and “6 million are not enough,” flags of the Confederacy, a gallows, and the call to hang Vice President Pence say it all. A large wooden cross, stating that a Christian crusade is coming, while anti-immigrant chants feed the cult worship of Donald Trump.
Yes, Mr. Biden, we are potentially “better than that,” but not yet.
We can and must all come out of our personal closets, commit ourselves to fight all bigotry, and walk the walk to a better and better America. Where is our sense of the brotherhood and sisterhood that can help guide us all in joining with the real “family of man”?
“We are all in the same boat,” is the existential truth of our time. Bigotry has no home in our community, or in our nation’s Capitol.
LARRY S. SMITH
East Hampton Town
Anti-Bias Task Force
Grab the Microphone
January 14, 2021
I admire Bill Belichick for refusing to allow Donald Trump to place a highly prized Presidential Medal of Freedom around his neck during a public ceremony. But if it had somehow been offered to me, I would have accepted the invitation just so I could grab the microphone and read the following statement aloud to the reporters in the room and viewers across the nation:
“Senator John McCain must be rolling in his grave to see how this draft dodger who demeaned a war hero for having been ‘captured’ has now captured his Republican Party so thoroughly and even attempted to have his deluded followers capture McCain’s beloved Capitol building.”
“Because President Trump told his law-breaking Capitol riot squad (a caravan?) composed of ‘special’ people, whom he ‘loves’ to ‘remember this day forever,’ they surely will since they seem to (insanely) view him as some sort of a (vengeful) god. And peace-loving Americans will surely add it to three other dates that will live in infamy: Dec. 7, 1941, Nov. 22, 1963, and Sept. 11, 2001, though I personally would also include the 1,000-plus days between his inauguration and final day in office.”
“January 6, 2021, will forever remain a disgraceful day on which two of Mr. Trump’s most infamous and disgraceful quotes virtually morphed into, ‘Grab ‘em by the Capitol; they let you do it!’ and, ‘I could shoot the Electoral College in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue and not lose 74 million voters.’ Tragically, another of his despicable quotes (about some African countries) also seem relevant, given that his mindless MAGA followers did their best (worst) to turn our Capitol into a ‘shithole’ capital. Thankfully, some of our congressmen and congresswomen turned it back into a shining city on a hill.”
“Thank you very much for this award, which I would gladly trade in for your impeachment.”
Profile in Cowardice
January 17, 2021
When I was younger, I had lots of political talks with my father, who bounced from right to left, and with my father-in-law, who was a communist. We almost always wound up in the same place: Human frailty, egocentric idiocy, and hubris all led to fascism. Fascism from the right or the left or the center was the M.O. of every failed government that believed it was more important than the people who they governed.
Neither of them had much school or much money. They lived through a depression, a war, and a revolution. They understood fear but weren’t afraid. They never thought of themselves as being special, but they were very special. Cowardice was never their norm, as it is today.
The problem of the D.C. riots is that the rioters crossed the line, meaning that the problem they wanted to rectify had no peaceful means of getting there. Given that stealing the election was a completely fabricated problem, there could not be a means of resolving it.
Compare this situation to when the Black Panthers in the late 1960s simply raised the question that a line might exist and were obliterated on the basis of hearsay (language).
I used to think that religion and fascism were birds of a feather because religion demanded a level of blind obeisance and subservience that is one of the primary keys to fascism, until I figured out that religion played more of a corollary role and was not necessary to attain a fascist state.
(See David Brooks in The New York Times on Friday describe the death threat to evangelical pastors from their flocks for criticizing Trump to understand that for many evangelicals Jesus is a distant second to fascism. If he exists at all.)
So, we move to the impeachment hearing (number two), a no-brainer. If you have a brain. Trump not only did what he did in public but he relished what happened and expressed his love and admiration for his supporters. He supported the rioters and never called for help. He called out Pence for not doing what he couldn’t possibly do. The obvious solution was for someone? Anyone? To put him in handcuffs and detain him in a safe place. Zero tolerance. The kind of criminality that he engendered demanded incarceration.
But we don’t have that mechanism, so we use either the 25th Amendment or we impeach. Vice President Pence refused to enact the 25th, so the House went to impeachment. But, Trump wasn’t the only one on trial; there were 138 Republicans who protested Biden’s victory and told the nation that the election was fraudulent and that Trump actually won. Despite presenting no evidence and being rebuffed in the courts on 60 occasions, they insisted.
The lie that Trump perpetrated — that they seconded
— was the direct cause of the rioting in the Capitol. There was no confusion, no misdirection, no uncertainty about their positions and what they advocated. Once the Congress returned to its buildings, the 138 Republicans voted to sustain the lie and to support the rioters. Pretty straightforward, sans ambiguity. They need to go down.
Black Lives Matter has been raised in the discussions about the policing process during the new riots. This moronic false narrative is actually the perfect basis for understanding what happened. B.L.M. is a truth-based, factually supported story of oppression, suppression, and systemic racism that Trump and his supporters denied, belittled, and attacked. “Steal” the election is a prefabricated fantasy that has absolutely no basis in reality and is completely unprovable. Yet, Trump and his gang totally, violently, completely buy the bullshit.
Why the stolen election story defies all logic: 1. If the Dems were capable of such a scam they would have won everything in a landslide instead of getting pounded in the House and catching a lucky Georgia break in the Senate, 2. Everyone who isn’t a political village idiot knows that the Dems are far too inept to pull this off, 3. For the past 55 years the Republicans have brilliantly and successfully manipulated Black and white voters and would have immediately caught the Dems in the act.
So the 138 Republicans who voted against the Biden certification did this knowing that the stolen election claims were lies. They schemed and manipulated Republican voters by supporting this false narrative and are responsible for what took place in the Capitol. They are trying to save their butts because they should be punished for their participation in what we call public voter fraud.
They are, in truth, the dregs of our society. Our fascist core. Worse than the rioters. Worse than Trump. Deranged and repugnant. Too scared to stand up to Trump and willing to sell out the country. The definition of cowardice. A true profile in cowardice to tell our children about.