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Letters to the Editor for December 2, 2021

Wed, 12/01/2021 - 17:42

We Are Blessed
East Hampton
November 22, 2021

Dear David,

I want to give a big shout-out to the East Hampton Fire Department. Yesterday, my four-pound, 19-year-old Yorkie managed to slip down into the heating vent, sliding farther down the ductwork as time went on. I had been out. When I came home, she was nowhere to be found. She is blind and deaf, nonetheless I kept calling her. I eventually heard her bark but the sound was distant. It was then that I discovered that she was down in the ductwork.

The fire department volunteers who arrived had the perfect skills to find her with thermal imaging equipment and genuine concern for her well-being. After they arrived, they quickly identified where she was, disassembled the HVAC system, and out she came. Everyone was professional and had welcome humor to ease my stress.

Thank you for being there for me, Teva, and the entire community. We are blessed to have dedicated volunteers.

Teva is doing well.




Light the Lighthouse
November 30, 2021

Dear David,

After Covid forced a hiatus in 2020, the Montauk Historical Society was thrilled to be able to light the Lighthouse in holiday splendor once more this year. A record-breaking crowd was on hand to applaud Gail and Dave Webb, longtime Montauk residents and pillars of our community, as our honorees. Afterward we danced and sang holiday songs led by Sarah Conway and the Playful Souls, drank hot cocoa, and gazed upon the Lighthouse shining like “the world’s biggest Christmas tree ornament,” in the words of Joe Gaviola, the Lighthouse keeper.

An event like this doesn’t run itself, and we have many people to acknowledge. Thank you to the hard-working, devoted staff of the Lighthouse, who coordinated the stringing and lighting of the 2,500-plus lights and stuck around to make sure that everything went well.

Thank you to Tom Dess, the Parks Department, and the State Park Police for keeping the traffic flowing smoothly.

Thank you to our awesome volunteers, especially the Key Club members, who stood outside in the freezing cold and accepted donations from our visitors. Thank you to our visitors, some of whom have been to every single lighting and others for whom this visit was their first. Thank you to Lidl, for the food truck and its free food.

Thank you to our entire community for supporting the Lighthouse with love and generosity.

And thank you, Santa, for making Montauk Point one of the first stops in your pre-holiday tour.


Executive Director

Montauk Historical Society


Very Special Place
November 29, 2021

To the Editor,

Thank you for publishing our “25 Years Ago” milestone in last week’s paper and for all the amazing coverage by Jack Graves for following our incredible journey from Amagansett to Africa, and even to the Arctic, over the last quarter century.

My African story started in 1984 as a 15-year-old spending a year of high school as a Rotary exchange student in the newly formed country of Zimbabwe. In 1994, I packed up some sports equipment and returned to start a kids’ summer camp there. That was the year Nelson Mandela was elected the first president of a new South Africa; a feeling of positive change was in the air. I wanted to give back, so I started meeting with as many players, teams, schools, and organizations as I could find to learn how.

The power of sport is obvious. But what it truly takes to provide the safe spaces and opportunities for children to play is not. As founder of Hoops 4 Hope, I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with so many amazing people over the years and for the positive impact we have made in so many lives.

Our organization was built on a foundation of ubuntu, an ancient African philosophy that translates to “I am, because we are.” I don’t think there is an ethos our world has ever needed more. Living here in Amagansett has taught me much about ubuntu, whether it is through volunteer coaches in youth sports, the fire or ambulance departments, or food pantries, we have a very special place that values rolling up our sleeves to help each other.

As we embark on our next 25 years at H4H, we continue our mission to support young mentors, feeding their hopes and dreams, while giving them the life tools to succeed. We are excited to create even more opportunities locally with our friends at Montauk, Ross, and Springs Schools and Project Most, and of course globally, to share, understand, empathize, and learn from each other.

Thank you to everyone for your many years of support!

With ubuntu,



East Hampton Village
November 29, 2021

Dear David:

After much deliberation, I’ve decided to respond to the full-page ad about LongHouse Reserve. It has perplexed me about where the signers got the misguided information spouted in last week’s “letter.”

It talks about the destruction of “a local institution” and that “the continuity of LongHouse is now threatened.” It seems to me that the signers (and instigator) of this ad are the ones who are bent on an act of annihilation.

Jack Lenor Larsen made a generous gift to the community by leaving his 16-acre sculpture garden to his able trustees as a living museum. In his last two years, Jack was perfectly aware that changes needed to be made to support future growth.

So, who are the signers hurting — people who seek solace by finding beauty throughout the grounds? Schoolchildren who see world-class sculptures (often for the first time), challenging their imagination as they sketch a picture or craft a poem? The brilliant interim director who comes with vast experience in running a museum? The hard-working trustees who love LongHouse to the core of their being?

Why don’t these signers “come on over,” as the saying goes? They will find, not a chaotic, crumbling mess, but a vibrant, healthy nonprofit with an endless supply of energetic supporters and a calendar full of exciting, highly creative plans in the future.




Village Concerns
East Hampton Village
November 13, 2021

Dear David,

While I was ushered into Mayor Larsen’s office for a requested and confirmed appointment, our meeting never occurred. I was interrupted so often, I never got to address the points listed below. My agenda was simple and continues to be my focus for discussions and concerns in thinking about the future of our village:

•Where is the badly needed update to our long-term comprehensive plan developed to prevent deterioration of living conditions, the natural environment, and protect what is special about the village?

•What are the codified goals for business development (the brewery and new business development near the railroad station)?

•What happened to the promised improvement to the sewage system for our commercial businesses?

•Why is legislation being proposed and passed, quickly rolling back zoning restrictions designed to protect what is so special about the village?

•Is there a long-term study and plan for Herrick Park as an event space?

•Why is Mayor Larsen not publicly available to groups of people who share these concerns?

I am certain many village residents share my concerns and love for our community. Those feelings are imbedded in the copy of the village’s comprehensive plan I brought to the meeting. The guidelines for protecting the historic character of the village, respecting the residential nature of East Hampton, and giving guidelines on how to move forward on addressing density of population and new business development are set forth in a way consistent with the agenda I had planned to discuss with Mr. Larsen. This meeting, in fact, did not occur and I still wait for answers to my questions.



Small Minorities
November 28, 2021

Dear David,

I have been a second-home owner in Springs paying taxes in full for the last 40 years. Currently, I feel caught between two entitled groups. One which has the money to fly in and out of our town without a care for anyone’s quality of life and the other, “truckers” who have unlimited access to public beaches because they own four-by-fours, while the majority of us have to use parking areas, which are limited, to enjoy the same beaches.

The very rich seem to think they “need” to use our airport, which creates noise pollution and jeopardizes our groundwater, for business purposes. They have never heard of the Long Island Rail Road or the Jitney if they don’t want to drive.

The other group are those who own four-wheel-drive trucks and think it is their “right” to drive on our beautiful local public beaches when they can get a state beach permit for $65 and drive the State Park beaches of Napeague, Hither Hills, and Montauk. Even on state beaches, vehicles are prohibited from driving through bathing areas from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Saturday before Memorial Day weekend until after Labor Day.

Preservation funds cannot be used to pay private owners of Truck Beach for the value of their land if the town initiates eminent domain proceedings so that four-by-four trucks can have public access. Currently only fishermen with four-by-fours should have access to this beach, a small minority of the population. Spending millions of dollars to buy beach property which is available only to truckers, most who are not fishermen, is ridiculous. We could use more public parking along the Napeague oceanfront so everyone has access, not just four-by-four vehicles.

If our politicians have forgotten: The preservation fund was created to protect “outstanding areas . . . important to many coastal wildlife species, including threatened and endangered species, and provide valuable opportunities for ecological research.” It also was created to limit “the adverse human impacts on natural coastlines throughout Long Island and the entire East Coast that greatly intensify the ecological importance of East Hampton’s pristine beaches and dunes.”

Our groundwater and coastline are the reasons we have one of the most beautiful places in our country to live. Our population has obviously increased drastically over the years. If we want to limit the impact of humans degrading the environment we should have housing laws that limit the size of buildings and laws that protect our beaches.




Bad for Everyone
East Hampton
November 27, 2021

Dear Editor:

East Hampton Town law protects summer people from the noise and air pollution caused by gas-powered leaf blowers. However, from early fall until late spring (a period when most yard cleanups occur), full-time residents are not protected under this law.

This stark difference in the law’s coverage can only be explained by the fact that most locals either don’t notice, or put up with, or just don’t care about whining engines and toxic exhaust penetrating their yards, houses, and neighborhoods.

If this is incorrect, why wouldn’t full-time residents (and weekenders as well) write, email, text, or call their elected town representatives and urge them to quickly pass a law that prohibits gas leaf blowers year round? How much time could this take? The names and contact information for all members of the town board can be found at

With the advent of electric battery-powered leaf blowers, we don’t have to put up with this crap anymore. It’s bad for everyone’s physical and mental health — homeowners and yard workers alike. Its also bad for the air quality of our town and our planet.



Escalating Cost
November 29, 2021

Dear David,

It is useful to compare the cost of the recently passed infrastructure bill ($1.2 trillion over 10 years) to the cost of climate change. An exhaustive comparison would take a book-length essay, so let’s just take a simple slice: weather and climate disasters costing $1 billion or more in the United States, as reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In the 1980s there were 28 such disasters, total cost $127 billion.

In the 1990s there were 52, total cost $269 billion.

In the 2000s there were 59, total cost $510 billion.

In the 2010s there were 119, total cost $802 billion.

The escalating cost of changing climate one decade to the next is clear; 2020 began with $95 billion for only one year, 2021 through November stands at $103 billion, with the western wildfires and the Midwest drought not yet estimated. The average decade-to-decade increase over four decades is 85.6 percent. The trend predicts that in the same decade in which we will spend $1.2 million on infrastructure, we will lose $1.48 trillion to weather and climate disasters. That is only the billion-dollar disaster part. It doesn’t include a small flood that destroys only $500 million of our infrastructure. Doesn’t include anything for defense of our border against would-be immigrants trying to join us here as distant agricultural lands wither to hot dust, or relocating Louisiana and Alaska and Carolina residents whose lands are sinking into the sea, or figuring out how to water crops in the west as Lake Mead drains like a bathtub and the Colorado River dwindles to a trickle.

A simple distillation of climate change came from Bill McKibben who said, “Climate change is about whether you eat or don’t eat.” Anyone who has been in a grocery store recently may have noticed it is getting more expensive to eat. All this bad weather is bad for farming. Heating the oceans is killing the coral where a large percentage of sea life begins, so fish are harder to find. The numbers above don’t include the increasing cost of food. In the U.S.A., many of us take eating for granted, but the more it costs, the less we can spend on other things.

The still-not-passed bill now before the Senate does include a token amount designed to address climate. The climate provisions may or may not survive the vicious game of character assassination and lying which has supplanted rational debate in Washington. Republicans think climate alarm is a Chinese hoax — Donald Trump told them this. He’s sort of like their pope or Brigham Young to the Mormons, so they believe him, despite the evidence of science, the weather outside their windows, and the price of dinner.

As the cost of changing climate grows each year, it overwhelms the slow-walked attempts to control it. We are running up an endless down escalator.



Admin Bureau
November 22, 2021

Dear David,

I’m writing to share a point of clarification about the newly proposed Administrative Adjudication Bureau in the Town of East Hampton. Christopher Walsh wrote about this excellent initiative in an article on Nov. 18 titled, “A New Way to Address Minor Code Violations.” In the article, he quotes NancyLynn Thiele of the town attorney’s office at the Nov. 16 town board work session as stating that the director of the bureau would serve to appoint between four and seven administrative law judges “to actually serve as the judges on these civil matters.” This statement has since been corrected by Ms. Thiele.

During the November 18, 2021, town board meeting, Councilwoman Burke-Gonzalez read an email from Ms. Thiele where she stated that, upon reviewing the state law, it was clear that, in fact, the director can indeed be one of the adjudicating judges and that there is only a need to appoint three additional law judges. This distinction is an important one in a small town such as ours. The fewer new hires needed to facilitate the admin bureau, the better.

Kudos to the town board for creating the admin bureau! In doing so, they are taking common-sense action that will free law and code enforcement officers from the cumbersome paperwork of processing minor violations of the town code, allowing them to spend more time out in the field, where they can be positively impacting the quality of life of the residents of East Hampton.


Vice Chairwoman

East Hampton Democratic Committee


For a Pittance
November 22, 2021

To the Editor,

On Nov. 8 Robert Rosenthal, the New York State Public Service Commission general counsel, admitted what the cost will be. The power purchase agreement will supply us energy “at an average price of 22 cents per kWh.” It’s almost comical that both the town supervisor and the head town attorney touted early this year it will only cost us ratepayers .002 cents a kilowatt hour. But I can’t do John Jilnicki math that’s backed up by Peter Van Scoyoc, Jilnicki’s answer in April, Van Scoyoc repeating it in May, Rosenthal finally admitting what was agreed upon at the contract’s inception. Green means money, and our town board and trustees sold us all out for a pittance.

Watching the watchers, still here.



Emerged as Leaders
November 22, 2021

To the Editor:

Should “thugs” be given a death sentence?

For the last few days, the major defense of Kyle Rittenhouse I saw on social media, at least from people I know, centered on the character of those who attacked him, who were written off as “thugs” based on their past activities. This is not the first time I came across such an argument. It was used to defend the officer who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, as well as George Zimmerman following his deadly shooting of Trayvon Martin.

As someone who spent 20 years coaching and running youth sports programs in Brooklyn, sometimes involving young people who were deemed uncontrollable and uncoachable, I always found those arguments deeply problematic. Some of the “thugs” I coached not only became some of our youth organization’s best players, they emerged as true leaders who went on to success in school and in future careers.

The idea that young people who get in trouble are destined to a life of destruction, and therefore deserve to die when they get into altercations with those wielding deadly force, contradicts everything I have learned and experienced as a teacher, coach, and mentor.

Nothing epitomizes that more than the time I spend yesterday with Willie Estrada, a former gang leader from the Bronx (warlord of the Imperial Bachelors) who rose to prominence as a leader of a dance craze that brought peace to conflict-ridden communities, and went on to become a filmmaker, youth worker, and published author.

Having just read Willie’s amazing book, “The Dancing Gangsters of the South Bronx: The Rise of the Latin Hustle,” I was excited to spend time with him, and I was not disappointed. Willie, who radiates kindness, generosity, and a love of life, brought joy and excitement to the gathering we met at. He is someone who I could easily see becoming a true friend, as well as a community partner.

And I could not helping thinking about what we would have missed, if Willie, who was involved in numerous altercations in his youth, some of them which he initiated, were killed by a police officer or another gang member.

If that had been the case, would he have been mourned, or would he just have been written off as “another thug”?

To me, the lesson here is the danger of using deadly force in street altercations when you have been entrusted with restoring order, as was the police officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, or assign yourself that role, as did George Zimmerman or Kyle Rittenhouse.

Snuffing out another human life leaves no room for the evolutionary process that so many young people go through, even after they have gotten in trouble.

Glorifying that act is the sign of a mentality that elevates fear above hope and compassion.



Ready to Kill
East Hampton
November 29, 2021


The decision to liberate Kyle Rittenhouse even though he killed two people and wounded another comes as no surprise. The kid carried an automatic weapon in his mother’s car to a demonstration about police shooting an unarmed Black guy in the back. He was there to protect property while the police were there to protect him. After the carnage, he talked to the police who patted him on the back and told him to go home.

The true nature of what happened was clear, once in court, he pleaded self-defense. Brilliant. You go to a demonstration with a rifle, shoot three people, kill two of them, and say, “Oops. Not sorry. Not what have I done.” Self- defense usually doesn’t work when premeditation is clear and unquestioned. The kid went there to kill someone. It didn’t matter if the protesters were right or wrong. He’d been programmed to take some bad guys’ scalps. So he did.

For some reason, I was back in 1988, at 2 a.m., walking into a crack house in Washington Heights to take home a friend who had gone off the rails. The street was alive with people and noise. What struck me as I walked out of the crack house were the number of small kids hanging around the building in the middle of the night. The kids delivered crack for the dealers and provided a cover. A brilliant, if not repugnant, scam. 

The real problem is that Rittenhouse’s self-defense claim parallels the crack dealers use of 7-to-12-year olds as drug couriers. The police would arrest the kids, take their drugs, and they’d be back out on the streets. The kids were too young with too few drugs to prosecute, so the police let them go.

Self-defense for the white supremacy groups was what young kids were to crack dealers: a get-out-of-jail free card that allowed for violence and abuse without penalty. A free pass to the carnage club that was already packed with police and MAGA heroes.

But this is America and killing white people no matter how radical they are is not easily acceptable. Someone will have to pay. The kid’s parents who took him to the demonstration with the rifle. The police who watched and abetted the shooting and then sent him home with his rifle. The purveyors of hate who think it’s okay to kill people they don’t agree with.

If the kid had been convicted, the lunatic fringe would have to search for another scheme to legally dispose of people they are opposed to. They’ve won the gun battle and are sufficiently armed. They have the police and half the Congress on their side.

The question of sexual dysfunction and impotence rears its ugly head. Guns that work replace tools that don’t. The symbolism is hard to ignore. The correlation between gun size and impotence for white males is a huge problem. Did their hero ever not have to pay for sex?

The carnage from the crack epidemic still haunts large swaths of our cities. It isn’t clear how many generations it will take to overcome the damage. How many Kyle Rittenhouses are out there ready to kill for the cause?



Will We Prevail?
New York City
November 16, 2021

To the Editor.

The Bible to the rescue. What has been will be again; what has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun — Ecclesiastes 1:9.

The Tower of Babel: In 3250 B.C. the people of Babylon wanted to make a name for themselves by building a mighty city and a tower with its top in Heaven. One must understand that the tower of Babel was all about convenience and not about obedience to the will of God. The people were doing what seemed best for themselves and not what God had commended. The building project symbolized the arrogance of humans who were trying to be equal with God; seeking to be free from reliance on God, they thought that they could reach Heaven on their own terms.

God observed the Babylonians’ purpose. As a result, God disrupted the work by confusing the language of the workers so that they could no longer understand one another, causing them to speak many different languages. By doing so God thwarted their plans. The city was never completed, and the people were dispersed over the face of the Earth.

Fast-forward to the 21st century, year 2021 U.S.A. capital year one to Joe Biden’s reign. Never before has our country, government, presidency, and Congress experienced such disarray and confusion. Several exemplars, elucidations of the many allegations, accusations, soaring, zooming, across the aisle in both directions and nationwide. Legislators feud, reaching a boiling point. Focus on stopping this new administration. If you said you will get your country back without a fight, you were fantasizing. People think it is okay to act like savages.

We are so tribal. Everybody now is an angry Democrat or an angry Republican. Was the profanity, heinous things, that people accused each other of really over the top? Put the heads on pikes. Right. I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats: Either get with the program or you are gone.

Obviously there is ground for concern, serious concern, as history has a habit of repeating itself. Are we unfortunate, dammed, or are we being tested? Are we willing, able, to interfere with history’s behavior? Impede? Or witness our domed Capitol added to the collections of abandoned mausoleums — Rome’s Coliseum, Parthenon? The Acropolis? Taj Mahal? Tower of Babel? Will we prevail, persevere, break out seasoned and emboldened, and enhance the essence of our Lady in the Harbor? Our Constitution? Come on, gals! Come on, guys!



Truth Coming Out
November 22, 2021

Dear David,

Before I run to my iPad to write, I take the time to do some research and investigation. If what I’m looking for isn’t there, I wait for more info to come forward.

Jumping on the horn, calling people white supremacist, and to this day media claiming a young man shot and killed two Black men and wounded another Black man. These men were white. Listen, they were white, hello CNN, MSNBC, and Colin Kaepernick. Besides these left-wing morons, plenty more have decided Kyle was a white supremacist.

When then-President Trump offered the mayor of Kenosha help, he refused. This mayor decided to allow Black Lives Matter and others to burn his town to the ground, destroy private property, and menace the citizens of Wisconsin.

Had help arrived, none of the above would have occurred, plus there would not have been the need for a young man running for his life, as the video showed, nor would we be having marching protests. Jump the gun, listen to the left-wing media, then stop and look for the truth.

Check out the F.B.I. lately, chasing innocent parents attending school board meetings and arresting them, as per Biden and Merrick Garland. More on the F.B.I.: A whistleblower revealed the agency is definitely investigating parents worried about teaching critical race theory in their kids’ schools.

Ex-director James Comey allowed Clinton’s private computer contractor to run the investigation of the hack and keep possession of hard drives central to it: CrowdStrike’s head man, Shawn Henry, a former high-ranking F.B.I. employee. Imagine that truth is coming out with the help of some honest people.

In God and country,


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