March 4, 2021
I write in celebration of a particular relative of mine who was beloved and respected by the family and by many others in the community of Springs.
As a Bonacker, we share the status of cousin with hundreds of folks near and far. As a Talmage Hamilton, I was amused as a child to find that my Grandmother Hamilton, Natalie Bennett Hamilton from Springs, was a cousin of my Grandfather Ferris Talmage, also from Springs. The point is we are all connected in some way.
Both of these folks also knew my great-grandmother Mary Fulford. She was a fixture in the community of Springs for nearly 80 years. Mary was not born in Springs, but in a small southern town into a large family of folks who had been born into slavery. She came up to East Hampton as a young teen around 1896 to work for my grandfather William Talmage and his wife, Louise, who had two toddlers and was expecting my Grandfather Ferris. Her older sister had traveled to Westhampton years before to work for Louise’s family in their home. Mary moved into Willow Hill in Springs with the growing family. Almost two years after the birth, Louise died of complications suffered during delivery.
William was a truck farmer, with animals and three small children, who went to sea on a small ship out of Montauk when necessary to make ends meet. He grew to depend on Mary to manage the kids and keep the home functioning, a big job for a teenager. She received room, board, and a small salary. As the kids grew, Mary went to church at the Springs Presbyterian Chapel, with the kids in Sunday School. She became the mother figure for the family. My Grandfather Ferris knew her as his mother, and always treated her as his mother. His brother, Lionel, and his sister, Edith, called her Mary or Mamie and also treated her as their mother.
Years passed and Mary always dressed as a lovely woman, was active in the community, and actually was occasionally courted by local gentlemen, one of whom proposed. Mary declined.
She was the first female of color in Springs, and I am sure there were some uncomfortable issues over the years. My Mother, Helen Talmage Hamilton, mentioned that she and her cousin Louise went to see “Gone With the Wind” with Mary in attendance as chaperone in 1938. They lined up outside the theater with everyone else in town, A couple of teenage boys in line started making comments about Mary, who was dressed as a lady in all-white gloves, shoes, dress, and hat. Mary ignored the comments, but Helen and Louise went up to the boys and suggested they shut up or they would get beaten up.
Eventually, Mary took in all the grandkids for summer vacations and assisted in raising four generations of Talmages. After my great-grandfather died in 1939, she began to go out of the house to work for other families, like the Cooks and Diefendorfs. They all loved her and she loved them. She received life tenancy in Willow Hill, and we all went there for Thanksgiving, year after year. Mary insisted on cooking, sometimes for 20 people. We visited all year frequently, as she was my Mom’s grandmother and my great-grandmother. Mary lived until she was 91 and we saw her in 1973 with my new baby, Brigid, and again with Brigid at 5 years old just before Mary passed in 1975. She is buried in the Talmage plot in Green River Cemetery just below Jackson Pollock.
I share Mary’s life with our family because growing up on a farm with folks of all colors and cultures (Black, white, and Montaukett), and having Mary in my life made me a person without color issues. I have only recently become aware that not everyone here grew up as I did. I was blessed knowing and loving folks of many colors, but Mary was family.
PRUDENCE T.H. CARABINE
There Is Hope
East Hampton Village
March 8, 2021
The Ladies Village Improvement Society has hired a man for its first-ever, I assume well-paid, face-of-the-organization job. The Village of East Hampton has fired a beloved employee of Main Beach in the same graceless manner in which Lys Marigold discovered she was no longer chairwoman of the zoning board. The once-friendly open front lawns of David’s Lane are rapidly becoming a hard hedge-lined artery a la Southampton.
What is to become of us?
Does the L.V.I.S. really think it can replace the women who resigned, including one of its most promising, youngest, and spirited provisional members, Morgan Vaughan? Obviously, they realized they had gold in these two — there they are at the very top of the official Committee List just published in the 2021 Yearbook — both appearing on the closely-guarded 125th Anniversary Steering Committee, while Bess is not only included on the 125th Anniversary Cookbook Committee, but was also asked to write its history.
But the days are getting longer, spring is in the air, and the vaccine seems to have finally arrived here. Receiving a personal notice to opt for an appointment directly from Supervisor Van Scoyoc’s office was warmly welcomed. It felt a reminder that the nation at large seems to be again in the hands of trustworthy people. So, there is hope.
That the C.D.C. has loosened outdoor gathering regulations beginning in April bodes very well for LongHouse and our other outdoor treasures. The ducks, geese, and swans in the Nature Trail are splashing and quacking as the sun spreads its bright rays and as much as 60 pounds of nutritious duck food is consumed on a given day. This is one of many things the L.V.I.S. does do very well. So, I will continue to love and keep my Nature Trail Committee, even though our small group has lost, in protest, one of our brightest new stars, Chrissy Sampson. Life goes on.
March 7, 2021
The most impressive thing happened in our town on Friday, and a lot of congratulations are due. After waiting and wondering for months when Covid vaccines would be available locally, we learned on Thursday that a supply had finally arrived in East Hampton (so far just for those of us ages 65-plus).
Thanks to smart advance planning, East Hampton was really well prepared to get those shots into arms — in this case, literally overnight.
The Child Development Center of the Hamptons building in Wainscott was all set up, the word went out via social media about the availability of the vaccine, and by Friday morning, hundreds of our neighbors had heard and were lined up to finally get their shots, me included.
This letter is to extend huge thanks to all involved in planning, including Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, the town board, the administrators and staff at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, and, perhaps most particularly, to all of the extremely cheerful, kind, and well-organized volunteers who actually made getting a shot a rather pleasant experience.
And as more vaccine becomes available, all our neighbors will be able to get their shots locally, too. What a great community effort.
I am sincerely appreciative,
MARY ANN MCCAFFREY
March 8, 2021
I would like to acknowledge and thank East Hampton Town Councilman David Lys for all his hard work and dedication to the community of East Hampton. His work with spearheading multiple town Covid testing sites and and the C.D.C.H. Covid vaccination site have been tremendous successes.
David works very hard and his dedication is clearly noticeable. The community is very lucky to have him at any time, but during a pandemic, David has stepped up and continues to service and impress the community. Job very well done, David, keep it up.
March 8, 2021
Dear Mr. Rattray,
The establishment of the local East Hampton Covid-19 vaccination center here in Wainscott at the East Hampton Town Center for Humanity (formerly the Child Development Center of the Hamptons school) is due to the remarkable efforts of our supervisor and the town.
With the help of volunteers throughout East Hampton Town, residents from Montauk to Wainscott are now being vaccinated through an efficient registration and appointment confirmation system. I encourage you to remind everyone to go to ehtownvaccine.org to book an appointment. Thank you, Peter Van Scoyoc and our volunteers, you are saving lives.
March 7, 2021
To the Editor:
I presume, indeed I hope, that you will be inundated with letters expressing gratitude and appreciation for the efforts of the Town of East Hampton to vaccinate residents over the age of 65.
The medical staff and volunteers made heroic efforts to ensure that the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of those eligible to receive the vaccine did so as expeditiously and painlessly as possible. Some of the volunteers stood in the bitter cold for hours to direct the vast aggregate of vehicles that had assembled. This was testimony to the fact that government agencies, guided by scientific knowledge and the understanding that their purpose is to serve the citizenry, can function extremely well. My sincere thanks to all who made the operation possible.
March 7, 2021
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Reading Christine Sampson’s article in this week’s Star titled “A Pandemic Year: Lessons Learned in Looking Back” deeply saddened me.
Certainly this past year has taught us all to grieve, even for those we did not know personally, but who perished in the pandemic. It also taught us all to be grateful for the valiant efforts of those first responders who came from near and far to help those who contracted the Covid virus and/or whose lives were so impacted by it.
But that being said, the one “lesson learned” lacking from Ms. Sampson’s lengthy analysis was any mention of the mass panic sewn so irresponsibly by our politicians, aided and abetted by both the mainstream and social media outlets on which we rely to keep us informed. Others may disagree, but to me, this omission was glaring.
Yes, we needed to shut down everything as soon as it became apparent that the spread and effects of this virus were unlike anything we had experienced in our lifetimes. But the subsequent repeated shifting of the goalposts by politicians — many of whom proved to be clearly in over their heads — not only provided no positive results after the first three to five weeks of shutdown, but had a disastrous effect on our economy that will continue to impact us for years to come, if not longer. There can be no acceptable explanation, no justification for the 1000s of small and family-owned businesses forced to permanently cease operations — often when following the science could have prevented many of them from having to do so.
Ensuring such overreaction does not happen again, especially if driven by a zeal for ratings points and market share, should be our greatest lesson learned from this past year — and from this pandemic.
JAMES R. WELDON
March 1, 2021
(Continued from March 4.) Look at what we’re told to believe and is preached to our children: We’re all racists, every single last one of us. How is that even possible? The American Flag is a symbol of white supremacy, and the National Anthem—written by a patriot under the influence of gunpowder vapors — is a symbol of repression and a national embarrassment. Insurrectionists are allowed to burn down and loot blocks of cities, destroy national monuments, claim neighborhoods as their own totalitarian blockades, invade police precincts, burn churches, destroy law-enforcement vehicles, kill and maim innocent people in “peaceful protest” costing billions of dollars in the name of social justice for months, but storming the Capital by a relatively small mob of whipped up Trump supporters in an afternoon is a crime against humanity, deserving of a lifetime sentence of disgrace, loss of income, incarceration and personal freedoms including ever holding public office. But what was the expectation of our legislators, the media and so-called leaders after years of encouraging people to go out, fight and hate each other? What choir did they think they were preaching to? Graduates from the School of Mr. Rogers? Teaching people to hate each other wasn’t part of my early childhood curriculum. What’s changed?
Oppression. For a year we’ve lived in fear and under control of a virus that has upwards and across all ages a 97% survival rate except for the most elderly and the very ill. So why are we still hiding? It’s time to revolt. It’s time to take the gloves off and knock the bogeyman to its knees-we have a vaccine and the therapeutics to live with it. It’s time for Americans to take the wheel back from the politicians drunk with power and tell them they’re not in the driver’s seat anymore. For the sake of the next generation, we need to reassert our liberties and freedoms, now.
They say it takes six weeks to break a bad habit. To begin, we must question the science behind every new and extended restrictions on our normal behaviors and freedoms. Demand backed up scientific evidence from controlled studies published inreputable medical journals and triple clinical data, national and foreign.
Next, stop training the next generation to live in fear and isolation, parading around little masked zombies, like mini-virtue signalers, locked away from society and forbidden to receive in-school learning. Children are the least likely to be affected at all by the virus. Are our children voice-less, invisible citizens not worthy of representation? Why aren’t more parents advocating for their children’s human rights? There isn’t an educator or child psychologist alive who thinks that the emotional and mental harm done to school-age children over the last year won’t have a long-term serious impact on the next generations’ mental health.
We have to stop allowing our elderly to die alone in institutional care from reckless, criminal public policy. We have to demand all schools be re-opened for all who wish to participate following practical mitigation, not based on doomsday models, predictions and outrageous funding to placate the unions.
We have to demand the healthy be set free to lead their lives as they see fit, free to make their own personal choices, in their own best interest and continue to protect the most vulnerable. We must demand that all our constitutional freedoms be reinstated before there is nothing left to reinstate. If you choose to be vaccinated, do so and stop wearing a mask as a fashion statement. Masks serve a purpose: if you are sick, wear it to stop the spread or wear it from catching an illness caring for a sick person. Wear one, two, three masks all the time if YOU so choose, but don’t allow the government to weaponize or mandate masks. No citizen should be harassed for walking down a public street without a mask. Remember, when the virus was at the peak of spreading and killing, masks weren’t recommended. The experts can’t take that back, no matter what excuse they manufacture. Double masking is doubling the control over your fear. Good hygiene, quarantine the sick, social distance in hotspots, protect the vulnerable. That’s it. That’s the science.
We have to condemn the cancel culture movement and identity politics destroying people’s lives who made a bad decision in their teens and 20’s, or anyone for having an opposing belief, dismissing whatever their contribution to society has been since or their heart-felt apology, (except if they’re on the other side.) You cannot legislate beliefs, only actions. So, get over trying to control thought. When a government forces you what to think, it’s not going to end well. And we must ensure Big Tech does not become the censors or curators of our First Amendment as the self-appointed thought police.
If we take these steps, America might regain its footing again as a tolerant, prosperous, free country-the best democracy in the world, where everyone had the right to live and let live. Because America is more than just a country; it’s the original “movement”. It’s the land of the free, the land of opportunity, the land where dreams do come true whatever your skin color, ethnicity, sexual identity, religion and creed is. If you idolize a politician who tells you to think otherwise, you’re likely a person who never questions authority, and in a democracy, you are a dangerous person.
Don’t let politics influence what common sense tells you. We were invaded by a highly infectious virus whose death rate is extremely low for most of the population. We learned who is most vulnerable and how to protect them. We flattened the curve and much, much more.
Rise Up and Wake Up, America. Unify, organize and act locally, regionally and nationally to let your voices be heard. In the words of Kris Kristofferson: “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.” But we let freedom slip right through our fingers. Picture your life in 2019. Fight to get it back, not each other. Unity’s just another word for everything to gain against systemic hatred. We are one nation — under God. Or we’re on the brink of fascism. Decide what team you are rooting for.
All Five Beaches
East Hampton Village
March 8, 2021
I have been reading the letters to the editor, as well as the articles in The Star regarding the East Hampton Village Board and watching board meetings when I am able to.
I find it interesting that they are cutting the position of the beach office manager, Rose Lawler Kerin to what — save money?
I find it ironic that they can find $145,000 for Marcos Baladron, the new village administrator, who had no qualifications for the job whatsoever. In addition, two employees were each given $20,000 raises. A newly hired employee is getting $40 an hour to input information in the computer. Where do they come up with these random figures?
A new code enforcer was hired, a new parking system, the possibility of different traffic markings in the parking lots and Newtown Lane for not many more spots. I find it interesting that they can find the funds when it suits them, and they cannot save the job of a local gal who has worked for this village for 26 years. And the financial situation that this board is getting themselves into will be blamed on the past board?
There have been many supporters of Rose Lawler Kerin in The Star, as well as on social media, so I will not enumerate all of her qualifications and responsibilities. But to imply that an office manager is a nonessential position for the five village beaches is ridiculous. The office is simply housed at Main Beach, but the office is responsible for all five beaches. I am not aware of how many beach managers there will be but will they all be there at the same time? I would think their days would be staggered. Will they be handling emergencies, Sea Spray Cottages, phone calls, travel from beach to beach, ordering payroll, paperwork, scheduling daily beach permits, and simply be a face in the office at all times?
I believe during Trustee Minardi’s YouTubes and interviews, he stated that he wanted the beaches to be the best that they can be. What exactly does that mean? Does he want them to be aesthetically beautiful? They are. They have been rated number-one for several years. Does he want them staffed with more lifeguards and beach attendants? They are. Is garbage picked up daily? Yes, it is. Are the bathrooms cleaned regularly? They are. Is the deck clean? Yes, it is. Was there always someone in the office to answer questions and take care of all these concerns? Yes. There was! So I am not quite sure what he means by this.
Let’s add another factor into all of this: If the concession at the beach is opened this season, that means that there will be people with food on the deck — another responsibility. And if it is not opened this year, it certainly will be by next year.
I will venture to guess that there will be money found for beach equipment, but not for a daily friendly face in the office who has a pulse on the workings of all the beaches. Since all of the above-mentioned responsibilities of maintaining the beaches will need to be done, I think there will be a face in the office. It won’t be the same face every day and it won’t be someone who has true knowledge with years of experience behind her of how to run the beaches. And if there is, I will also venture to guess that it will not be Rose Lawler Kerin, the niece of Jerry’s political opponent, as pointed out in The Star two weeks ago. I find that very suspicious.
East Hampton Village
March 8, 2021
Dear East Hampton Star,
Upon further reflection on the parking situation coupled with discussions with at least two business owners who will be directly affected by the new fees, it has become evident to me that there is something inherently fishy about this whole proposal. For one thing, according to my sources (who asked not to be named), it doesn’t seem that anyone asked the merchants or business owners what they think of the proposal. This is third-hand information at best, but these are people I have known for years whose opinions I value and whose information has always proved to be correct the vast majority of the time.
Again, according to my information, no one has run the plan by the local business owners. One of my sources, who has been an anchor store in the village since at least the 1970s, is worried that he will lose the summer boost because out-of-towners won’t want to pay to park. The other stands to lose business because the parking fee will add significant cost to many of his products.
I have had a lot of people respond to my previous letter, all are residents of either the village or town and all have many of the same questions I do. The most often-asked one is “If the village needs a new septic system, why don’t our taxes pay for it?” After all, this is basic infrastructure which is the kind of thing our taxes are supposed to pay for. And most of us are happy with the number of restaurants which already exist in East Hampton. Why try to attract more? If this is the way the village board wants to go (because no one else seems to want to), they why not make new restaurants pay the bill for what residents never wanted in the first place?
The whole thing smacks of greed and growth, both of which are a danger to our community. The entire East End of Long Island has been overbuilt to begin with. The time to stop would have been sometime in the mid-1980s. The whole reason that most of the buildable parcels were zoned as they were was not only to keep the quality of life to a certain level but also to preserve some of the feeling of a rural community.
Those who have followed my letters of the past 23 years or so may remember that my neighborhood (like many of yours) was plagued with building and all the headaches that come with it. In fact, in the time that our house has stood (broke ground in 1967, we moved in June of 1968), nearly every house in Egypt Close has been razed and rebuilt or at least completely remodeled, at least once.
The greed of developers seems insatiable, as at least twice a year I get a call out of the blue asking if we want to sell our house. The simple answer is “no!” but I usually ask how much they’re offering (which is a lot but not nearly what it’s worth to my family). Then I say, “Double it, tack on six more zeros to the right, please and no sneaky decimal points, only commas — and offer to bring back the dodo bird, and then maybe we’ll think about it.” If I’m in a rush I tell them to stick it where the sun don’t shine.
The decision to subdivide large properties is a terrible idea because it causes our already fragmented environment to be further fragmented. This is one of the many facets of the deer problem: We keep squeezing them into smaller and smaller areas and meanwhile, those who feed them cause the population to grow out of control. And just because you feed them doesn’t mean they won’t also eat the shrubs and other plants. Fragmentation is also bad for our beloved birds. There was a time when I could go to the David’s Lane trail and find all kinds of warblers, among other species. In the early 2000s, I began to notice that there were fewer and fewer species. Five years ago, the last time I went to David’s Lane (there are too many cellphones and people ride bicycles on the trails), I only found common yellowthroats, yellow warblers, and heard a northern parula. Normally at the same time of year I used to find at least 10 varieties.
There has also been a brand-new house built on a parcel which was subdivided from a property accessed from Egypt Lane. This property has always had a propensity to flood; I have a photo I took in 2010 of the entire property under enough water for ducks to swim. Now that there’s a house on that property, it means a lot more runoff. Where does it go? Into a dip in the road in Egypt Close. To be sure, flooding has been a problem for us since the road was built, but it doesn’t mean that we want the problem worsened. The problem itself is not caused by any lack of infrastructure but by the simple fact that we live next to a swamp. Most of Egypt Close is only a few feet above the water table and many homes are forbidden to have pools for this reason. Or they were. Most of the houses which have basements experience flooding in them during heavy rains or hurricanes. The house is also much too big for the parcel and looks incredibly out of place. Our neighborhood has begun to resemble Beach Hampton as if it were full of McMansions.
To my point about growth, I once had a long conversation with an economics professor who was as puzzled as I was (and still am) at the ignorance that moderation and even stagnation can benefit people’s pocketbooks. Unless they are endlessly greedy which seems more and more the case. It’s a fact that people will pay good money to get away from other people. That’s what the Hamptons were originally based on — being an exclusive playground for the rich. But underneath there was the entire support structure of the people who serviced that need as well as a local fishery which sustained the traditional fishermen whose families were here since Colonial days. But then came the crowds wanting to see the rich and famous or at least shop and eat like them. This continued to take its toll until much of the East End lost the charm it had prior to 1982 when President Reagan deregulated the real estate market and killed rent caps. Unscrupulous money-grubbing landlords priced their old tenants right out of business and replaced them with Fifth Avenue stores which were too pricey for people who live here year round.
As a result, I know very few people who shop in East Hampton anymore. I personally patronize White’s, the Golden Pear, and Village Hardware. I also use the lot behind the hardware store when I have biweekly therapy. If I were to be forced to pay to use the lot, I would simply go elsewhere. So will a lot of people, I’m guessing. Though the parking fee may benefit someone, it could actually do terrible damage to the rest of the local economy. I don’t plan on ever moving away, no matter how bad things get, but I do have to wonder how long it will be before I can’t find a storefront or building that I recognize in the downtown village.
I miss Diamond’s. I miss Candles and Things. I really miss the East Hampton Fudge Company. I miss the 5 & 10. I miss Marley’s. I miss the Old Book Barn. Those are the kind of businesses we need to attract! Not Saks Fifth Avenue or Starbucks or Ralph Lauren Polo. And certainly not restaurants (I dread to think that they might be about to let Burger King or McDonald’s in!).
Well, that’s enough rambling. As always, thanks for reading.
March 8, 2021
It has come to our attention that despite many years of planning, the promised replenishment of Montauk’s downtown beaches as part of the Fire Island to Montauk Point Plan has apparently been delayed in a suggested construction proposal last week from the Army Corps of Engineers. Its proposal to delay the pumping of 450,000 cubic yards of ocean dredged sand on 6,000 feet of downtown beach in Montauk from late 2021 to 2023 is unacceptable and Concerned Citizens of Montauk will fight this delay. Without this sand, as part of a long-term comprehensive plan to protect the downtown area, Montauk remains extremely vulnerable. The Army Corps should deliver what they promised, when they promised it.
Concerned Citizens of Montauk
Will Get Worse
March 2, 2021
We have endured a year of Covid deaths and isolation in our homes, two impeachments of a scurrilous president, an insur-rection broadcast worldwide of the American Capitol being trashed, with sadistic thugs clubbing a cop lying helpless on the ground. We’ve witnessed in the Texas blackout indisputable evidence that America has slid so far into lazy incompetence that we can’t even keep the lights and water on. Cheer up. Things will get worse. Ten, 20 years from now we will look back on these as the good old days.
In the background, barely noticed, worldwide, it was the hottest summer in recorded history, said to have caused up to 3,000 early deaths from breathing the foul air just from California wildfires. According to NASA climate change estimates, those fires spewed 91 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. For perspective, that is 30 million tons more carbon than the state emits from power production.
California is only one of many fire hot spots suffocating the planet. Other areas of global concern include Australia, Southeast Asia, the Amazon, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, and other parts of the Arctic.
Optimists take encouragement that we have in office, albeit by the slimmest of margins, the political party that pledges to address climate change. If we look, however, at our small community as a microcosm of political America, it is difficult to be sanguine about our chances.
The area surrounding Beach Lane in Wainscott is one of the most exclusive places in the country. If the map were color coded for clout and sophistication, there would be a bright red dot there. Nearby residents are the least likely to suffer any hardship of deprivation. Their lives are circumscribed by privilege. Yet they will brook not the slightest temporary imposition on their fiercely-defended cocoon to help solve a planetary existential problem.
I attended one of the Wainscott meetings fighting against the burial of the wire that would bring ashore more clean energy than the entire town uses. The image that sticks in my mind is of a steel-haired lady lamenting in a plaintive tone the threat posed by this construction to her little dog that she walks to the beach on that lane. What if he fell into the trench? There was a coo of sympathy from the neighbors. Contrast that view of our upper crust, versus the future Queen of England in overalls working as a carpool mechanic in World War II.
To solve the climate crisis, we’re going to need a grittier class of rich people.
I think one of the swans has died.
The one still here, swims in silence
as they both did, but their silence
didn’t sound like silence,
didn’t feel like loneliness.
Deep on the dark green Gardiner’s Bay,
their ballet did not lack for the want of music.
Clouds, terns, gulls, conch, stones,
their proscenium arch.
Me, their devoted audience.
A joyous Mazaltov each spring
when a parade of cygnets trailed
honking proud parents.
Cirque du soleil with a dandy chorus line.
Front row seat for me.
By Fall, all but the Mr. and Mrs. left town.
From beach to beach, jetty to pilings,
shoals to sandbars, high tides to low,
season to season, I am their daily guest.
They never failed to show.
This winter, there is only one.
Every day, only one.
The current next to it, so still.
I say how sorry I am for you;
the one still here, does not look my way.
East Hampton Village
March 6, 2021
To the Editor:
I have to chime in with nothing but praise for Lyle Greenfield’s letter in last week’s issue concerning KHTO, the East Hampton Airport. It is so clear that the town would benefit enormously from closing the airport and repurposing the land.
Greenfield’s list of other uses seems to me so thoughtful and thorough that I don’t need to list them here. Our town is clearly at a major crossroads in terms of its future, and the choice is between its continuing to be a community committed to its residents, its natural beauty, and its life as a community on the one hand, and being simply a playground for wealth and privilege with little thought for the year-round quality of life of its own population on the other.
It’s also disturbing to see that local employees of the village are being replaced by “apps.” I haven’t yet seen mention either of the number of summer jobs for local youths who “chalked” cars that had overstayed their parking limit and that are being lost to a roving vehicle with scanners.
I recently drove west to east along Main Street just late enough in the day that all the show windows lights were on. I remember when Main Street had shops that were of use to residents of the town. Now it seems that only the valued book-store qualifies in that regard. Otherwise it simply looks like a very expensive shopping mall. We had better hold on to what we have left!
A New Model
March 5, 2021
I’d like to lend my fullest support to the vision touched upon by Lyle Greenfield in his letter to the editor of last week regarding the future use of the town airport. It is my belief that the town should do everything in its power to reclaim full authority of the property once the current contract ends next year, dismantle the airport, and immediately put this land toward a housing initiative that directly addresses several ongoing crises. We need this site to be affordable housing, with partially rented and partially owned units, paired with a solar farm that serves to provide energy to the development with microgrid capability, and is connected to its own sewer waste treatment facility.
At least half of the site should be put into conservation, and hopefully some of the land can be put into cultivation for a farm and/or greenhouses that would be beneficial to a community-supported agriculture program. This development could serve as a new model for a self-sufficient and sustainable neighborhood that we are in desperate need of. Shutting down the airport is in most of the public’s greatest interest, as we would immediately see the benefit of calm and quiet skies overhead and much less air pollution from jets and helicopters.
Removing the pavement and runways would greatly reduce the runoff pollution that makes its way into the nearby Georgica Pond watershed, and in that way improve water quality. We have the capability to make this vision a reality, and I would love to see the town lend its full support through a public and/or private partnership. For this reason and many others, I hope that no village of Wainscott comes to pass, which might thwart such an environmentally minded project (that is probably outside its supporters’ narrow, self-serving view anyway). I say help Wainscott lead us into the future.
I for one would be a proud resident.
March 8, 2021
Dear Mr. Editor:
The citizens of Wainscott continue to fiddle while the remainder of our hamlet’s unique character burns!
Recently, the bungled efforts to incorporate Wainscott have consumed too much of our attention and concern. Clearly, disagreement with the town board’s wind power-at-all-costs policy and the vitriol toward the supervisor constantly put forth by the leaders of the incorporation drive and their highly paid P.R. firm did not provide sufficient justification and support for Wainscott’s incorporation. Nor should they exclusively command our attention and concern.
While the incorporation debate has raged, the development pressure on Wainscott has greatly accelerated and currently threatens to forever change Wainscott’s unique character, particularly in and around the corridor of preserved farmland between the highway and Wainscott Pond.
Just last week the town’s architectural review board bravely pushed back on two ominous applications: a proposed 18,000-square-foot house with 17 bedrooms proposed for 104 Main Street (south of Main Street, near Wainscott Pond, and a proposed 12,000-square-foot house at 18 Sayre’s Path (which would be more than twice the size of any of the other nine houses in the subdivision known as the Map of Wainscott Farm. The property at 419 Montauk Highway has recently been converted into a storage and supply yard for an electrical contractor, in blatant violation of the zoning code.
I believe these matters demand our immediate attention. The A.R.B. may well be the last meaningful battleground in the fight for our hamlet’s character. The members of the A.R.B. deserve our thanks, our attention (i.e., participation), and our support. Otherwise, Wainscott is doomed to become overdeveloped, just like Sagaponack. I note the incorporation of that former hamlet, in the end, did little to save its character.
DAVID E. EAGAN
Time to Speak Up
March 8, 2021
I wish all residents of Wainscott Hamlet and neighbors in East Hampton town had tuned into Saturday’s Wainscott citizens advisory committee Zoom meeting. I am grateful to know the town has the experienced staff, necessary resources, and commitment to manage something as complex as the implementation of the Wainscott Hamlet Study.
Sylvia Overby led a discussion and answered questions about the implementation process that highlighted how challenging this process will be. There is town history involved that only long-serving town officials and residents can access. It was heartening to hear thoughtful questions and concerns voiced by a broad cross-section of Wainscott hamlet residents and hamlet commercial owners. It made me feel when we work together, we can get things done.
It took four years of community engagement for the planners to write the hamlet study. Listening Saturday, it will be a long process to begin to implement the study. Community engagement will be key to getting the results we want regarding traffic management on 27, amenities like public parks and playing fields, safer parking for the commercial strip, a better aesthetic look for the entrance to East Hampton, and water quality protection for Georgica Pond.
Development of the sand pit is the elephant in the room, not only for Wainscott, but the whole town. I hope all town residents will think about and voice their concerns about development of the 70-plus acres — twice the size of the Bridgehampton mall. This is the time to speak up and let town officials know you care.
March 8, 2021
I write this in my private capacity, and not as a representative of the town or the town planning board, which I chair.
Now that Supervisor Van Scoyoc has determined that the petition by the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott to incorporate the hamlet of Wainscott into a village is not legally sufficient, I hope that our community can put this episode behind us and join together with the town to address the myriad issues that face Wainscott. Maintaining water quality, addressing growth, and deciding on the future of the airport are just a few of the urgent concerns that cry out for open-minded, forward-thinking leadership on the part of the hamlet and the town. Further division and narrow-minded agendas will only harm the hamlet and the town.
C.P.W.’s initial reaction has been to attack the supervisor and the opponents of incorporation and to gird for litigation. I hope that C.P.W. will reconsider this course of action and, instead, turn its energy and resources to addressing concerns beyond the landing of an electric cable at Beach Lane. Wainscott’s future presents more than enough work for all its residents.
Very truly yours,
March 6, 2021
To the Editor,
Last week’s Star apparently just did not check or verify the story headlined, “Dems Spurn Two Incumbents for Nov. Ticket.” In addition, the editorial “Under the Bus” similarly was not supported by the facts of what transpired at the open interview process for all Democratic candidates, including those of the two incumbents not chosen.
In our opinion, both of the incumbents’ interviews was not their best. In addition, in both categories, councilperson and trustee, there was a surplus of candidates, four applicants for two seats on the board and two candidates applying for the one position as trustee. If there were not, we are sure that the incumbent’s renomination would have been assured.
The bottom line is that we, (my wife and I), felt that the two new candidates demonstrated more enthusiasm and desire for the nominations. Apparently, most of the other voting members of the committee felt as we did and voted accordingly. There was not one iota of suggestion, conspiracy, or coercion on the part of any of the committee or for that matter anyone else, that influenced our vote.
No one likes to lose an election, I understand that, but that is how it works in a democracy.
LARRY S. SMITH
Toeing the Line
February 26, 2021
To the Editor,
It is distressing to see local East Hampton politics mirroring our federal politics. Both Rick Drew and Jeffrey Bragman have been hard-working, diligent advocates. More important, both have been willing to ask tough questions and to dig deeper on local issues. The fact that they have been independent critical thinkers and asked those questions should be lauded. Toeing the line may be what local politics is all about now. Sad!
Sidestep the Process
March 8, 2021
Last week several letter writers expressed disappointment because their preferred candidate for town council or trustee had not been endorsed by the East Hampton Democratic Committee. The pressing question is whether the town’s Democratic Committee should be endorsing any candidates at all. At present, our Democratic Committee tries to sidestep the primary process altogether.
Primaries on town, county, state, and national levels happen routinely. Other committees do not endorse candidates and sideline others. In our town, those who have not been selected and endorsed by the committee receive none of the committee’s support nor do they benefit from the advertising and phone banking that is accorded to the endorsed candidates. Anyone who chooses to primary finds that the system is stacked against him or her.
There are 19 districts in the Town of East Hampton and each district has two elected delegates who determine the candidates. Thus, 38 individuals are determining who will next serve on the town board. It would be much more democratic to allow all voters to hear from all the primary candidates, without prejudice.
I am an elected delegate for Election District 17, and I believe that the committee has no business endorsing anyone. We might end up with five or six candidates for two open board seats or for trustees, and some of them might be one-issue candidates or total wackadoodles, but I think our voters can be trusted to determine who will serve our town board or as a trustee. I hope that the committee is willing to have a discussion in the near future. I also hope that registered Democrats in our community speak up if they also want to see a level playing field for any candidate who wants to run.
February 26, 2021
It is disappointing that the Democratic Committee did not nominate Jeff Bragman for another term on the town board.
It is refreshing to see someone put country before party, or in this case, “town” or perhaps just “people.”
I hope that Mr. Bragman does mount a primary challenge and those of us who support him help him win both the primary and the general election.
March 7, 2021
To the Editor:
Peter Van Scoyoc has acted exactly like a Southern Republican who suppresses votes by finding alleged technical issues to deny the vote to Wainscott citizens who have the legal right to vote. He was elected as a Northern Democrat, but those are obviously not his true values.
March 8, 2021
The CPAC agenda for its February rally in Orlando, Fla. scheduled three nonstop days of speakers harvested from every dark corner of the conspiracy universe, and the usual boldface liars posing as ethical government leaders. An event best considered a support group for the pathetic remnants of the former administration and its attacks upon the nation’s Capitol and democracy.
The daily CPAC program was tightly wrapped in a blanket of religious tokenism events to give an appearance of authenticity and respect. Realistically, only folks hungry for an obvious cult gathering, and desperately seeking mob-style personal reinforcement, would willingly attend such a travesty.
Journalists attended to document CPAC, saving the rest of us the pain and effort. Curiosity had me watch only the February 28 wrap-up speech by the recently deposed, twice impeached president. He appeared late as usual, his gimmick to enhance anticipation. He raved and rambled for 90 minutes, until the room appeared exhausted. It was almost entirely fact-free self-adulation, biased and nasty, as expected. His tirade was a vindictive sales pitch that had the attendees cheering devoted approval and loyal support that the election was stolen, and hopes their dear leader would again be elected president.
What can one make of such a public display, shortly after a resounding electoral defeat, a record of two impeachment trials, an obvious mishandling of the deadly pandemic, and failure to support the needy from a budget he previously stripped with a tax gift to the wealthy? One must try to understand those who continue to support this reincarnation of a snake oil salesman.
My Wall Street background suggests Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes are the models for this scam. It’s all about money and power, rather than a commitment to citizens and country. At the conclusion, D.J.T. said, “There’s only one way to contribute to our efforts to elect America-first Republican conservatives and in turn to make America great again, and that’s through Save America PAC and donaldjtrump.com,”
A few days later, D.J.T. filed several cease-and-desist orders against the R.N.C. and others from using his name or likeness for their own fund-raising. Clearly, he plans to continue to bilk his most gullible followers for his personal gain. As usual he would be expected to share this money only with like-minded loyal supporters. All the public can expect are more fantasy promises.
Ponzi and pyramid schemes are illegal of course, as Bernie Madoff and many others learned, but they remain today scamming gullible victims.
The timing of this CPAC Klan meeting-style wrap-up was on a Sunday during Lent (a time Christians typically do penance, practice repentance of sins, alms giving, simple living, and self-denial). CPAC was also during the wrap-up of Black History Month. The symbolism and insensitivity of this appears both deliberate and with mean purpose.
Any person aware of Covid-19, white supremacy, the January attack upon the Capitol — and the clear connection of all of it in some part to the former president of the United States — might be shocked at the arrogant lack of any learning or concern. The damage done recently to the nation’s health and security, and the degradation of our once admired standing in the world seems not to bother these people.
Let’s hope we are witnessing the end of this ugly era, and now understand the monstrous threat that still lurks.
Not About Helping
March 8, 2021
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan comes on the heels of a second stimulus, which was passed in December. That one cost $1 trillion, and the first one in March amounted to about $2.2 trillion. This enormous bill is about helping politicians, not about helping the country. There is no stimulus money for the economy.
Nine percent of the bill goes directly to the assistance of those suffering at the hands of government lockdowns. The rest goes to a smattering of special interests and payoffs, i.e., the National Endowment of the Arts, bailing out blue states that were in dire financial straits way before the pandemic hit. These democratic politicians ran their states into the coffin. So now here is $350 billion for those states that mismanaged their money to pensions. Note that I stated mismanaged.
Four billion on loan forgiveness, this one really gets me, money for those criminals in jail for felony arrest. The Boston killer is an example of who will be getting money.
To add insult the extreme and excessive borrowing will destroy future jobs and wages. There is so much money left over and not spent for school openings (still one year later, not opened); stop spending. We can’t keep printing money and borrowing. How do we pay all this back? A child in kindergarten will tell you this is crazy.
In God and country,
March 8, 2021
When Lee Zeldin said he’s considering running for governor “after receiving many messages of encouragement,” I guess he didn’t realize that almost half of them were probably from Democrats desperate to simply get him out of East Hampton, off the South Fork, and far away from Long Island — 200 miles away in Albany!
Given that Zeldin’s reasons for running include Governor Cuomo’s mistreatment of women, Cuomo’s “attacks on our freedoms and safety, plus his bullying and abuse,” I’d have to say that this hypocrite who “emerged as one of former President Trump’s most zealous supporters” deserves a big scarlet “H,” for hypocrisy, painted on his forehead.
Scheme and Scam
March 7, 2021
As almost always happens in our political world everything gets turned upside down or ass backwards. So, when the Covid-19 pandemic screwed up the normal voting processes in the election, the usual voter suppression techniques that Republicans have utilized for the past 55 years got substantially screwed up. Steal the Deal, or whatever moronic name they called it, was a response to this essential failure.
It wasn’t the Democrats’ success in stealing the election as much as the Republicans failure to steal it that became the issue. Still the Repubs gained 20 seats in the House and almost kept the Senate. They simply weren’t able to scheme and scam voters as they usually did and were shocked by the efforts to turn out people of color.
In 2018 the Republicans were massacred in the House but still kept the Senate. The signal to expand their voter suppression efforts was quite clear. (Republicans never look to expand their base, only to limit the competition.) This year, in response to the surge in nonwhite voting, they’ve filed 300 more voter suppression briefs than in January 2020. They call them anti-voter fraud bills but they always come down to the same thing: making it more difficult to vote since there is no voter fraud.
What the pandemic did to the Republican suppression plan was to force people, for health reasons, to vote by mail. This limited the effect of towns without polling locations, short hours of voting that required people to lose a days work, and dozens of rules that made voting a pain in the ass. Voting by mail was the antidote for suppression.
As everyone who isn’t totally brain dead or a MAGA moron expected, the new laws are aimed at eliminating mail in voting. The Supreme Court is jumping on board but the Congress is trying to beat them to the punch. The bottom line is there is absolutely no evidence of voter fraud.
In reality, voter suppression is so much easier than seducing voters. Nothing has to be offered or prepared or postulated or imagined. The essential effort is legal. How to make voting difficult enough to keep people away from the polls.
In conjunction with voter suppression is the endless search for wedge issues that don’t require concepts any real beliefs and have no impact on people’s lives. So issues like, school prayer, abortion and gun controls are guaranteed to agitate and excite the base. For example, Republican politicians have always been slightly more racist then Democrats on a global basis. So in 1965, when the Civil Rights Act was passed, they jumped on the chance to welcome southern Democrats into their tent. They quickly figured out that racism in any form that it was proffered to the public, worked. So they included it into their agenda. Yet, Just like abortion and gun control, they don’t believe for a second that racism is a good thing. Winning is everything.
Seventy percent of Americans support the new $1.9 trillion Covid-19 bill. Yet every Senate Republican voted against it — not because their constituencies didn’t support it or because they thought it was a bad bill and unnecessary. (See the lines of cars waiting for food that stretch for miles.) But, because, united, they give a sense of legitimacy to something substantially illegitimate. See voter fraud.
Scum always floats on the top of still water. You don’t have to smell it, or taste it, or touch it to know that its there. You just have to open your eyes.