Lives on the Line
March 18, 2021
Dear East Hampton Star,
I want to weigh in on the chronic problem of racism in this country especially as it applies to Asians. Although I’m of European Jewish descent, I actually have four cousins and a godsister of Asian descent. One cousin married a Korean and their son, though of mixed race, looks very Korean. Another cousin, who found she could not have kids of her own, adopted two children from Korea who have become successful in the music world. My godsister was adopted from China, a victim of the draconian family-planning laws enacted around 1980. All of them experienced race-based bullying and discrimination, especially my godsister, whose mother, as I had suspected for many years, was actually racist against her own daughter.
While there has always been a lot of racism against Asians in this country, in this heightened climate of racial attacks like the one that took place in Atlanta a few nights ago, I have begun to really fear for my family. I’m especially worried about my godsister, who has been living in Texas and has no nearby support, as her mother has been recently committed and none of the rest of us who took care of her growing up can make the trip to Texas — for many reasons. At least she has a job where they like her and treat her with respect. But she was caught up in the disaster after the big freeze. She never lost power, but she still has no running water at her home.
I adore my Korean cousins. I don’t even necessarily think of them as Korean anymore and only use the term for the sake of this letter. I had a very dear friend in grade school who was Black who hated the term African-American. He was like my brother, and, honestly, when I looked at him, I saw my best friend — not someone of another race. He died too young, at the age of 27. We hadn’t seen each other for 10 years and his mother was afraid I wouldn’t come to the funeral because it was at a primarily Black church. I told her that the only thing that would keep me away was if the pastor locked me outside. In fact when he found out who I was, he assured me that I was as welcome as anyone.
I never saw the logic in hating someone because of skin color or because they had different-shape eyes. Hate is a terrible thing anyway. It’s what is causing so much destructive behavior in our government, as well as in our society. It didn’t help that “president” Trump was and is one of the world’s worst bigots and racists. The fact that he was able to get into office, commit numerous crimes against the United States Constitution, and get away with the worst of them has opened the floodgates. I fear that anyone who is not acceptable to the white supremacists and their ilk now all have walking targets on our backs. Yeah, I have one too, since I’m of Jewish stock and the son of a rather famous Jew at that. And I’m an atheist. So I know what it’s like to be discriminated against and treated like garbage. First Amendment or no, hate groups should be outlawed.
One final thought: My best friend, had he lived to the present, would probably be risking his life to save us all from Covid-19. He had become a pathologist, and he had been trying to find a cure for AIDS when he died. His incredible devotion to the bettering of others is mirrored in all the front-line responders who put their lives on the line to save everyone else. This is why I find it so hard to hear so much news about the virus.
Thanks for reading. And a big, heartfelt thank-you to all the front liners of all trades who sacrificed so much for those of us who could not — or would not.
Walking the beach
Lily at my side
As the March cold
Skips across the sand
I like the beach
It is timeless here
Like the vista of shore and sky
Endless before me
My thoughts surge and recede
Like the ebb and flow of the waves
I am alone and detached
Like the driftwood and seashell
Way off I see walkers, alone or in groups
The groups are from Gurney’s
Their New York clothes and cellphone chatter
Like a flag in the wind
The singles walk head down
Immersed in their thoughts or themselves
They are dark against the beach
Like a slim tree with legs
I find beach glass today
Very rare on the south side
Soft green and aqua
Colors of promise and warmth
I would find it with Jake
On the shores near Duryea’s
The green was my good luck sign
A portent of things to come
The beach today is clarity and light
Piercing the uncertainty that surrounds me
A familiar tension of place and state of mind
Jarring yet recognizable
Sea, sky, sand
A triumvirate of elements
Yesterday, today, tomorrow
The triad of time
If I never stopped walking, where would I go
Would I move beyond my circumstance of the moment
No, because my thoughts are at my side
And like Lily, they softly follow me
PERRY DURYEA III
Happened to Me
March 17, 2021
About that neighbor who is always yelling at his wife. Or blasting the TV at all hours. Or letting his dog poop on your lawn. Wanna get even? Here’s how.
All you will need is his name and address, and an Optimum account. (You will also need for the neighbor to have their service contract with Optimum.)
Call Optimum from a phone that is not in your house. You can borrow a friend’s cellphone. If you can call from a remote location — Manhattan or New Jersey is good — that is even better.
Hit the button to request a connection to new accounts. When you finally get through — could be a long time, but it’s worth the revenge you’ll be wreaking — tell the operator that you are moving soon and would like to set up an account at your new address to begin just after your closing date. If you are asked to prove your residence at this new house, you must say that as you have not yet closed on the property, it is not yet in your possession but you will be moving in right after closing, maybe two or three days later. When you are asked for the address of your soon-to-be property, give the address of your nasty neighbor.
When the operator reads back your personal data, thank her. And then hang up.
Almost immediately, your neighbor’s service from Optimum — all of it including phone, internet, and cable
— will be disconnected. It will take four days at least to get the service restored.
How do I know this?
It just happened to me.
How do I know it will happen again and again?
The Optimum customer service rep who finally got things straightened out told me, “I’m sorry for the inconvenience but our system cannot place two accounts at the same address, so it always must disconnect the first account in order to put through an order for a different account. It is set up to do this immediately even if the new account won’t go into effect for a month or more. It’s not anyone’s fault. The system is set up to do it this way.”
A smile at the end of the tale? Optimum sent me a questionnaire asking me to evaluate their “service.”
March 18, 2021
To the Editor,
With “East Hampton Village to Hear Comments on Paid Parking on Friday” the mayor makes his village’s exclusivity evident to all. That’s intentional — he’s promoting his village’s brand and that requires promoting its exclusivity. And why not? He ran his campaign by appealing to New York City richies and won. Promoting the very special and, of course, entitled residents requires the conspicuous display of special treatment (and the lower-class treatment of everyone else).
Here’s the pecking order, if you missed it: “The village board has said village residents with beach permits would be exempt from fees, East Hampton Town residents with town beach permits would be allowed two hours of free parking, and all other visitors would be charged $2 per hour.”
I know which class I am being identified as. But to throw it in our faces!
So this summer, those people you see running to their cars to avoid a fine are just townies and outsiders, who can’t afford the village, but sure are targeted to be the only ones paying.
Flood of Money
March 22, 2021
Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott is in the midst of a litigation and public relations spending spree as it tries to contain a series of losses in its efforts to stop the South Fork Wind farm. At the same time, it is hiding from public view the details of its spending and the sources of its funds.
As an exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(4), C.P.W. is required to annually provide financial and other disclosure to the public. Its I.R.S. Form 990 for the 2019 fiscal year ended Sept. 30 was due on Feb. 28. It has not been filed. Ignoring the filing deadline for making legally required disclosures is not something new for C.P.W. It filed its 2018 I.R.S. Form 990 five and one-half months late, hoping perhaps that it would be filed under “old news.”
But the 990 for 2018 turned out to be big news. It revealed that during its first eight and one-half months of operations, C.P.W. had spent $314,362 on legal fees and $307,734 for “advocacy consulting” by Mercury Public Affairs.
The legal and consulting expenditures for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 are likely several times the prior year’s levels, and those in the current year are surely even greater yet. In the last several months, C.P.W. has sued the town over the cable easement and has threatened to sue the supervisor over his denial of C.P.W.’s petition to hold an incorporation vote. It has also indicated that it intends to sue the New York State Public Service Commission over its grant of a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need. And Mercury has been busy issuing vitriolic statements castigating all who have dared to disagree with C.P.W.
The sheer magnitude of C.P.W.’s spending on lawyers and consultants is of substantial interest to all Wainscott residents, and so are the details. The veritable flood of money being spent raises questions about what C.P.W.’s real objectives are and begs for information about its funders. C.P.W. claims that it is a grassroots organization. Its burn rate says otherwise.
And then there’s the question of what the legal services budget for the new village would likely be if the C.P.W. folks were to be put in charge. Gouri Edlich, C.P.W.’s chairwoman, has belittled any skepticism about the adequacy of the budget presented by her consultant and has represented that legal fees for a Wainscott village would never exceed $100,000 per year.
If C.P.W. is going to insist on continuing its incorporation drive, Wainscott residents should have the opportunity to evaluate the credibility of Ms. Edlich’s assurances in light of the actual legal fees that C.P.W. has incurred over the last two years under her leadership.
It is easy to understand why C.P.W. might be reluctant to make this disclosure, but the law and transparency require that it file its overdue I.R.S. Form 990 promptly and make it available on its website.
Transparency also requires that C.P.W. discloses its major funders. Anyone who thinks that those who are bankrolling C.P.W. will not expect to run the village they hope to bring to life is naïve and in for a rude shock. Better to know who they are before there is a village vote than find out after they take charge.
JOHN H. HALL
March 15, 2021
Dear Mr. Rattray,
In 2013 I wrote a letter decrying the many incorrect and problematic assumptions in a report by Mitchell Moss of N.Y.U.’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management on the presumed economic benefits of air passenger service between East Hampton Airport and New York City. Most importantly, the report extolled the contribution of those passengers to the local economy. But the report was based not on passenger manifests, but entirely on a wildly overblown guesstimate of the number of people transported by commercial air taxi service between New York City and East Hampton and fabricated assumptions regarding the money these folks contributed to the East Hampton economy.
Nowhere did it attempt to gauge the many negative effects of the oppressive noise of aircraft engines on the lives and property of tens of thousands of East End taxpayers below their routes. Now, eight years later and with no sign that the noise-making technology of the ferry aircraft employed has improved even slightly, the East Hampton Community Alliance has commissioned the EBP Business Analysis firm to repeat the original Rudin study.
Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, they based their assessment of the number of passengers benefiting from this service and the contribution of those travelers to the local economy on the very same guesswork that was offered in the original Rudin report.
They properly acknowledged the original Rudin report as the source of their information though they attempted to correct some of the report’s more glaring errors. For instance, they adjusted for the fact that almost all of the flights fly empty on one leg of their trips between East Hampton and N.Y.C. But, for no particular reason, then they increased the estimate of the number of passengers per trip from three to four.
Like the original, they failed to acknowledge that the vast majority of travelers are second-home residents and not, therefore, likely to spend money locally as tourists might at $1,703 per weekend. Inescapably, this report, like its predecessor, was contracted with the explicit purpose of conjuring a justification for a private airport serving a relative handful of residents located on a parcel of public land in East Hampton that could as well be used for any of a long list of alternatives of far greater benefit to our populace and posterity.
Surely the number of people who enjoy the airport’s services pales in comparison to the number of folks who would enjoy an aquifer protected from fuel spills and fire-retardant foam or a pristine parkland or community solar power or properly sited affordable housing or lower and middle school recreational facilities or other uses yet imagined. To my eye, this second round of shaky arguments for deploying our public lands as an airport serving the few only confirms what so many East Enders have been saying, public land is for the public.
Sincerely and repeatedly,
T. JAMES MATTHEWS
Closing the Airport
March 22, 2021
Dear Mr. Rattray,
It’s been gratifying to read additional letters from the community in support of closing the airport in East Hampton for environmental and other reasons that impact so many of the area’s residents. Patricia Currie, co-founder of Say No To KHTO, reminded us of the 51.5 million pounds of carbon pollution caused annually by the air traffic and the staggering 290-percent increase in jet traffic in just recent months.
Scott Bluedorn and Fred Kolo each emphasized, in some detail, the environmentally and economically beneficial uses the town’s 570 acres could be put to in the absence of the airport. Bravo. The rest of this letter will be filled with information and opinion, so I recommend taking either an energy drink or a nap before reading, Mr. Rattray.
On Thursday I signed in to a Zoom panel discussion hosted by Express News Group as part of their Virtual Sessions series, this one called “Turbulence: Can East Hampton Airport be tamed without being closed?” It was far more informative than I’d anticipated, which is a good thing if you’re gonna sit quietly in front of your computer for an hour and a half. The panel was moderated (with “fair balance” for all) by Joseph Shaw, executive editor at Express Newspaper Group. The panel consisted of Kent Feurring, president of the East Hampton Aviation Association; Barry Raebeck, co-founder of Say No To KHTO; Kathryn Slye Allen, of the East Hampton Aviation Association; John Kirrane of Noyac Citizens Advisory Committee and Southampton Town Anti-Aircraft Noise Committee, and East Hampton Town Board member Jeffrey Bragman.
The moderator asked a direct question of Councilman Bragman, which I’ll paraphrase: Would the town actually consider shutting down the airport? His answer was appropriately guarded: The town is looking at all options and closing the airport would definitely be one of them, though that is not the intention at present. So this is a real thing, and presumably a decision will need to be made prior to the expiration of East Hampton’s “contract” with the F.A.A. in September of this year.
Dr. Raebeck spoke at length about the extraordinary carbon pollution caused by the air traffic, in addition, of course, to the noise pollution that has plagued the community for decades and increased exponentially in recent years. Ms. Allen responded that the pilot members of her association had taken the “pilot pledge” to help mitigate the noise, by voluntarily entering East Hampton’s air space through alternative routes and only taking off and landing between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Eyes started rolling, and Dr. Raebeck responded that those hours literally took up all of the day’s light, when residents would be out on their decks or backyards attempting to experience the “quiet enjoyment” they’re entitled to.
Mr. Kirrane pointed out that the “pilot Pledge” had been made and never succeeded for over a decade. He also pointed out that East Hampton’s is a landlocked airport, so there are no routes over the sea or the bay that don’t impact a residential area below, whether it be Wainscott, Noyac, Sag Harbor, North Sea, Shelter Island, etc. (It also occurred to me that the population of East Hampton has doubled since 1970, from approximately 11,000 to 22,000 residents. Literally hundreds of households impacted by aircraft noise didn’t even exist back then.)
Regarding the idea of a solar farm on the town’s acreage, both Ms. Allen and Mr. Feurring suggested that solar panels could easily be installed on both sides of the runway, as has been done with other airports around the country. This, of course, does nothing to address the noise or chemical pollution at issue in the discussion. She also asserted that the fence around the airport grounds actually helped protect endangered species living and breeding inside the property. With that I nearly coughed up my spring water on the MacBook screen (luckily I had a hand towel at the ready).
Next, she reported that a study had found the airport contributes over $30 million in employment revenue to East Hampton. I sat with a calculator: That would mean between 1,000 and 1,500 seasonal workers, or maybe 500 full-timers? Who are these people, I wondered? Do they work in restaurants? Are they the drivers, groundskeepers, housekeepers, and nannies of the wealthy? They’d be working here anyway, right?
Finally (not really), there was the hypothetical: If there were no airport, imagine the pollution and traffic from all the additional vehicles on the road. And I thought, “Hey, who’s getting off the jets and helicopters with backpacks and bicycles and pedaling to their destinations? Nobody. They’re going to the parking lot for their cars, to the terminal to rent one, calling an Uber, meeting their drivers.” In other words, the same number of vehicles would be on our roads.
Finally (not really), the discussion turned once again to the town’s options. If free of F.A.A. funding, could East Hampton impose stricter rules and guidelines on the type of aircraft permitted and the hours of use? Someone answered that the town, as a government institution, would probably be subject to F.A.A. rules and could not restrict the airport’s use. And if the airport were sold to a private individual or entity? Then the town would have no control over the use of the airport whatsoever. Hmmm.
Complicating this panel discussion for me personally was the fact that I regard both Dr. Raebeck and Kent Feurring as friends, and I respect their points of view. In Kent’s case, as a resident and aviation enthusiast, he believes a key element of the airport’s importance is that it serves the recreational use of small plane pilots and provides a place where people can learn how to fly. This, for me, was the most compelling reason to maintain an airport.
He would like to sit down with all parties and work out some sort of compromise that will satisfy the needs of all involved. So here it is, Kent: The town will lease the airport to you, or to the Aviation Association, for a modest annual fee, with the stipulation that no jets or helicopters be permitted to fly into the airport, that no commuter traffic be permitted into the airport, that allowable hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and its use will be limited to residents of the Towns of East Hampton and Southampton and their guests. If that isn’t possible, then the East Hampton Airport should be closed.
Look! Up in the sky! Birds!
Now Is the Time
March 18 2021
Today, March 18, 2021, is a celebratory day. The New York State Public Service Commission unanimously approved the application for the South Fork Wind Farm.
This project has raised a lot of community involvement and concerns. While no endeavor is ever a perfect solution, this project takes us one step further in reaching New York State’s renewable energy goals.
Now is the time for us to come together as a community and feel proud that East Hampton is leading the way for the South Fork Wind Farm to be the template for future projects. Our town is composed of many people with diverse interests, but all of us can take pride in the fact that our small town is in the forefront for environmental sustainability.
It was when I started learning more about renewable energy, attended Zoom meetings, and gave serious thought to the adverse consequences of not taking positive action that I put aside any doubts about supporting the Win With Wind effort. There is a time with all innovations that a decision has to be made either to support progress or fall backward by standing still. The time for wind energy is now.
Congratulations, East Hampton!
March 22, 2021
Thursday, March 18 was a momentous day; the long-awaited ruling of the New York Public Service Commission in case #18-T0604 was handed down. This is the permitting step that will allow Orsted/Eversource to lay their offshore wind farm cable in New York waters and then bury the terrestrial portion of cable under the street for the four miles or so to connect to the East Hampton electrical substation.
For those of us who have been engaged in this exhaustive process for three years, it was not surprising that the P.S.C. voted unanimously to approve the proposed South Fork Wind project and its associated cable landing at Wainscott beach.
Also not surprising was the absurd press release issued that same day by Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott. The release, typical of C.P.W., offers up disinformation and nonsense galore. In it, Peter Van Scoyoc, leading his evil cabal of town board members (minus, of course, C.P.W. fanboy Jeff Bragman), has somehow managed to orchestrate the permitting approval by snookering N.Y. State. C.P.W. insults the P.S.C. Administrative Law Judge Anthony Belsito, claiming that he did not do his due diligence in recommending the P.S.C. approval. Shame on C.P.W. Never mind that Judge Belsito considered each and every one of C.P.W.’s arguments over countless hours of testimony and cross-examination. Never mind that he and his staff traveled from Albany to East Hampton to personally inspect each of three possible cable landing sites. Never mind that this process has been ongoing since 2018 and there were many, many months of negotiations among interested parties. Never mind that after all those lengthy negotiations during which compromises were reached and conditions imposed, all five relevant state agencies signed off on the application, including Department of State and Department of Environmental Conservation. Never mind all that.
None of it amounted to a hill of beans according to C.P.W. Somehow, Svengali Van Scoyoc managed to hypnotize all the state agencies and the administrative law judge and the P.S.C. commissioners to grant this historic permit.
But please don’t take my word for any of this. The record is public. You can read Christopher Walsh’s detailed account in The Star, or you can go directly to the P.S.C. website and listen to the webcast. Judge Belsito makes an oral presentation and he clearly enumerates C.P.W.’s main beefs. And then he knocks them down, one by one.
Those of us who care about incorporating renewable energy into a suite of policies that will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels are celebrating this step forward in our fight to combat climate change. Even though the cost-is-no-object efforts of C.P.W. have delayed the construction of the wind farm by many months via their stalling tactics and disingenuous arguments against South Fork Wind, we are now on course to see this green infrastructure made manifest by the end of 2023. The next step, the federal permitting process, is currently underway.
Be well. Stay safe,
Harnessing the Wind
March 20, 2021
To the Editor:
Re: “State Approves Offshore Wind Farm Landing Plan,” March 18. The well-funded Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott dominated the resistance, but now that the East Hampton Town supervisor has rejected their petition to make Wainscott a village, the not-in-my-backyard blockage has hopefully reached the end of its road. Facts and the common good won out. At last, we can all feel relief and optimism that the South Fork Wind Farm is taking firm steps toward getting built and providing us with clean, renewable energy.
The Public Service Commission acknowledges the absolute legislative mandate for renewable power. New York State is committed to 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2035. Whatever his sins, Governor Cuomo did make that happen. We cannot go forward simply burning fossil fuels and letting the waters rise and storms’ fury intensify. In fact, we must get turbines into the water harnessing the wind’s energy as quickly as possible.
The South Fork Wind Farm is still going through a permitting process and a review by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The earliest opening date for the farm is sometime by the end of 2023, making it five years from the initial plan submitted to the P.S.C. to generating electricity. More wind farm projects are in the offing. Hopefully, under President Biden, the Bureau of Energy Management, led by a Long Islander, will do its reviews efficiently, instead of sitting on them as they did during our former president’s term.
Soon, both commercial and sport fishers will be able to fish in the vicinity of the turbines — fish love the reef environment around them — and boaters will be able to appreciate their majestic beauty. Back on shore where they’ll be invisible, we’ll be running our air pump-powered homes and electric cars with renewable offshore wind backed up with battery storage for the rare calms, and creating a cleaner, safer planet.
But we have to move fast off the mark. There’s a climate deadline staring our planet in the face. Now that this obstacle has been cleared from our path, the South Fork Wind Farm can get built.
March 22, 2021
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I am writing to thank you for the most interesting article written by Christopher Walsh in last Thursday’s East Hampton Star — “Solar Installations in Surprising Locations.” The first paragraph tells all: “Long Island could generate more electricity than it consumes with mid to large-scale solar installations on developed sites, including parking lots, commercial building rooftops, and capped landfills, a new report says.”
The article goes on to say, “. . . as the report asserts, developing just one-quarter of such low-impact sites would provide the Island’s electricity needs, while generating more than 10,000 jobs in the fast-growing solar sector and some $10 billion in economic benefits. It also demonstrates that mid to large-scale solar farms can be sited in areas of high population density, avoiding detrimental impact to farmlands or natural areas critical for wildlife and water-quality protection.”
With the adverse effects of drilling for and installing gigantic offshore wind turbines in our most essential bountiful ocean waters and the resulting noise pollution, which is known to affect a number of important species of fish and marine mammals, and as the huge costs of such a project will only result in a brief window of time before necessary decommissioning, it is clearly better to turn to solar now.
In addition, everyone should be aware of the huge sub-ocean freshwater aquifer just offshore, which stretches from Massachusetts to New Jersey and is at least 50 miles out to sea from the shore. This aquifer was mapped in 2019 and was estimated to hold 670 cubic miles of fresh water, which is more than Lake Erie and Lake Ontario combined. Fresh water is always in demand and should not be threatened by drilling for turbine monopoles.
The information about solar, as noted by Mr. Walsh, is at the Long Island Solar Roadmap (solarroadmap.org/maps), jointly published by the Nature Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife. The information about the sub-ocean offshore freshwater aquifer is at a number of sites: nature.com/scientificreports at the title “Aquifer systems extending far offshore on the U.S. Atlantic margin” by Chloe Gustafson, Kerry Key, and Rob L. Evans. Gustafson and Key are of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, and Dr. Rob L. Evans is at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Shorter articles are easy to find online by typing in “huge sub-ocean freshwater aquifer.” Although one article says the aquifer lies approximately 600 feet below the ocean floor, it was confirmed to be only approximately 100 meters below in the vicinity of Martha’s Vineyard, which is near the area of the proposed wind farm.
As clearly wind farms are most expensive and intrusive and damaging to our great Atlantic Ocean with its tremendous and precious ocean life, it is clear that we should turn first and turn now to solar for our village and town and for Long Island and the Atlantic Coast.
Possibility of Serving
March 16, 2021
My name is David Cataletto, and I am running for East Hampton Town trustee this fall. I am excited for the possibility of serving our community as a dedicated and hard-working trustee.
I grew up in East Hampton and went through the great public schools here. I have always loved the outdoors: surfing, sailing, and lifeguarding in the summer.
After graduation I attended UMass Amherst and majored in anthropology. Eventually, I received my master’s degree in teaching and now teach sixth grade history at the East Hampton Middle School, I’ve been teaching for 15 years now and I absolutely love it!
At school, I am involved in the SurferRider club and have helped to lead beach cleanups and clam and oyster seedings. To my students, I try and pass on my love of nature and our responsibility to preserve and enhance it.
My wife, son, and I live in Northwest Woods. My wife is an art teacher at Pierson high school. We are both very active in our local community.
I am a trustee at the Amagansett Life-Saving Station Museum and currently head the education committee there. Also I am on the East Hampton Historical Society education committee and this summer created a series of virtual historical lectures.
I am also on the East Hampton nature preserve committee and enjoy being a part of maintaining and helping to grow our wonderful trail system.
I have a deep love of East Hampton and preserving its rich history and natural surroundings for our generation and generations to come. I am especially passionate about keeping our waters clean, keeping beach access rights, and preserving our wetlands. For these different reasons, I think I would be an asset to East Hampton Town and promise, if elected, to be an advocate for our community and a truly dedicated trustee.
Lesson Falls Short
March 21, 2021
To the Editor,
I read Ms. Mazur’s “Civics 101” lesson in last week’s Star describing the democratic process used in the selection of candidates for the upcoming election.
Ms. Mazur asks us to believe the Democratic committee did their “democratic” due diligence in deciding not to endorse Rick Drew for trustee. However, it was so apparent this was not the case that even the local newspapers viewed the nominating process as a preplanned event. The civics lesson falls short of providing any believable evidence of genuine, thoughtful review that found Rick Drew’s qualifications lacking. The only reason he was not nominated was party politics.
Let’s look at why Rick should have been nominated. He is serving his third term as trustee. During those terms, he has been the project leader on numerous water quality and environmental issues. He is a member of the harbor management committee and a member of the DeepWater Wind review committee. He was part of the process that secured $29 million in compensation from Deepwater Wind. With regard to that, he fought tirelessly to ensure the interests of all East Hampton residents were considered. The list of his dedication to service goes on and on.
Rick has attended 124 of the 125 trustee meetings held during his three-year tenure. He has contributed to those meetings with a thoughtful, intelligent, and at times questioning voice that has served to inspire his fellow trustees to see issues from different perspectives.
It might be worthwhile for Ms. Mazur to inform us as to what qualifications the district members have to judge which candidates are best suited for any given position. Referring back to Larry and Betty Smith’s letter in The Star, it gives one pause because they made it seem the members’ valued enthusiasm above knowledge, experience, and a record of dedication and hard work.
Most committee members had endorsed Rick three times before. What changed this time? If they had reservations now, did they bother to consult with Francis Bock, the trustee clerk and chairman of the trustee board, to get his opinion about Rick’s importance to the board? Mr. Bock is also a committee member. Why was he not consulted? Were they afraid to hear valid reasons for why he wanted Rick to continue to serve the residents of the town?
This “no” vote for Rick Drew was preordained by the hierarchy of the committee and done in a disrespectful manner. The other members were expected, and possibly coerced, to go along in lockstep. This leads one to believe the quality the committee leaders value most is unquestioning loyalty.
One more important fact to consider. In the 2019 election Rick Drew received 5,190 votes, the second highest total of all 16 candidates on the ballot for trustee.
The voters spoke loud and clear. These so-called independent-thinking and supposedly knowledgeable committee members turned a deaf ear to the voice of the people and a blind eye to Rick Drew’s qualifications. Instead, party politics prevailed.
Rick’s only fault was he did not do everything the party leaders wanted him to do. Let’s not try to deny or make excuses for the obvious chicanery.
Neither I nor anyone else needs an inane Civics 101 lesson. What is needed is for the members of the Democratic committee to recognize they took part in a prearranged travesty, not a democratic process as Ms. Mazur would like us to believe.
March 22, 2021
I appreciated Betty Mazur’s letter “Civics 101” and would like to add some information.
Ms. Mazur explained that there were 10 candidates who went through the screening process seeking to obtain one of the nine spots on the ballot. Currently, four of the nine trustees are on the Democratic Committee, the committee that chooses the candidates for the nine spots on the ballot.
In order to be nominated, candidates go through a screening process. The screening was done via zoom. Since my husband, Rick Drew, has been through the screening process before, I didn’t pay much attention until I noticed a change in tone. I started listening as Rick was being lectured and admonished, mainly for his public presentations and questions, interpreted as opposition, to the wind farm. Rick isn’t opposed to wind energy, but he knows that a good idea poorly planned and executed can become a disaster. He does his homework.
After the screening, Rick was invited to the nominating convention and as required, obtained a commitment from a committee member for his nomination and second. On the night of the convention, Rick was blindsided. The person who had agreed to nominate Rick did not nominate him, nor did he let Rick know of his decision. Thankfully, Francis Bock stepped in and supported Rick’s nomination. Then committee members voted for their slate.
According to Ms. Mazur, because of time constraints and the length of the entire nominating process, around 30 people on the committee chose not to read nine names and simply said, “Everyone but Rick Drew.” Wouldn’t it have been more of a time saver not to have invited Rick to the convention at all?
Clearly, the committee knew Rick was not on the list. I believe in the democratic process, but this was more like a horrible middle school nightmare. Rick has served three terms as a trustee. He has only missed one meeting in all that time! He cares deeply about our community and the marine environment. He has demonstrated his support for clean water and for the people who make a living on it. Rick thinks carefully about the impact of governmental decisions on the entire community. He doesn’t just blindly follow the party and he should be applauded for researching issues and for asking questions.
Out of the nine trustees elected in 2019, Rick received the second-highest number of votes. It’s too bad the Democratic Committee doesn’t agree with the voters. “We, the people” appears to have been replaced with “We, the party” once again.
Attempting to Impugn
March 22, 2021
I may not be the most politically active member of the community, but I always pay attention to and vote in local elections.
It is clear to me that the Democratic leadership of the town is attempting to impugn Jeff Bragman’s integrity simply because he served as a moderating voice on the board. He asked questions and demanded the facts; he did this not for his own political self-interest, but for the best interests of the voters he represented.
Last week, Betty Mazur, the vice chairwoman of the local party, crafted a letter to this paper making it seem as though Mr. Bragman deliberately sabotaged his own endorsement process to justify a run for supervisor. More accurately, Mr. Bragman simply remained loyal to his campaign promises to always do what is in the best interest of town residents. He refused to go along with policy just because everyone else was, and he was punished for it. This is the kind of integrity I expect from my elected officials.
I have known Jeff Bragman for a long time. He has been an outstanding member of the community for over 30 years. What you see is what you get, plain and simple.
I would like to see more respect for those who stand up for what they believe in, even if they stand alone.
March 22, 2021
To the Editor,
Pamela Bicket’s letter (East Hampton Star, March 11) questioning whether the East Hampton Democratic Committee should endorse any particular candidate prior to a primary reflects my thoughts. Everyone who enters a primary does so having gathered the requisite number of signatures from registered Democrats in the district. This shows a commitment to the process and a certain amount of support from voters.
Instead of endorsing candidates before the results of a primary are known, perhaps the Democratic committee might better serve registered Democrats by using its considerable resources to inform voters about the platforms of all the candidates, arranging debates or forums, and thereby making it easier for voters to make informed choices when they go to the polls.
I am an elected delegate from Election District 4. I join Pamela in asking that the Democratic committee have a discussion about whether pre-primary endorsement of candidates is really the best policy.
One of the Worst
March 18, 2021
Just finished reading this week’s letters in The Star. I’m going to address Mr. Vilar’s commentary on Governor Cuomo. So you want the governor to resign? Why not let the legal process play out? Innocent until proven guilty.
Mr. Vilar has called the governor a sexual deviant who uses his position as a conduit for sexual predation. If you have been a Republican for the last five years or so, you supported one of the worst sexual deviations to ever serve our country. Not to mention, he is a racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, lying, hate-filled human.
You want to talk about rollouts for the vaccinations? Please, what did the Republicans do for the American people over the last year during the pandemic? Nothing.
It is easy for our town Republicans, who serve in a capacity that represents our town, to blame every Democrat. I am sick of the righteous bull—-t. Look around your own party. Plenty of blame there.
March 22, 2021
Town government has epically failed in such a way that it really is breathtaking. This past week those failures were front and center.
I have a rental home in East Hampton, and, instead of cashing out for the big bucks, I choose to rent to a local who lives and works in the community. The stories were gut-wrenching, as I was told repeatedly that a young family was going to be homeless come May and how desperate they were. All that is except for a dude from the city who matter-of-factly said he would gladly give me $1,000 more a month because it would be worth it to live in “the Hamptons” for the summer. Needless to say, I did not rent the home to him. Yes, I am making less money than if I did summer/winter rentals, but I feel obligated to help our struggling families and young adults.
The current town board will give you a song and dance about creating affordable housing and caring for our local working families, when in reality, it is a ruse and nothing more than smoke and mirrors to detract from their failures. The current administration has done nothing to create economic opportunities, which is the direct antidote to a community housing’s high cost.
So disingenuous is the current town board about the health of East Hampton’s economy that under the guise of good fiscal management, town employees have not had a contract since 2018. So badly treated are town employees that 50 percent qualify under Housing and Urban Development guidelines as low income. If an employer does not care about their employees, how much will they care about you? Think about that.
In this election, residents will have a real choice to elect a town board that understands economics. It is time to vote for Ken Walles for supervisor and George Aman and Joe Karpinski for town council. They understand that financial security is the foundation of a secure enlightened community that supports our young families, cherishes our seniors, is benevolent to those in need, and financially secures residents who need economic opportunities.
East Hampton Town
March 20, 2021
I just can’t. I cannot stay quiet when I’ve read the ridiculous rhetoric by the local G.O.P. crowd. Are you kidding me? They attack the local Democratic committee for not crucifying Cuomo? Last I checked it was not their job to prosecute or judge him or anyone. The local G.O.P.’s audacity to comment this way, when they supported a predator in chief, is beyond laughable. It’s insane.
Now they’re touting a person for supe who organized a Trump truck brigade this past summer on the North Fork. Wait, what? Check it out, as this person boldly poses next to his shiny new red truck, all Tumpitized, for the camera. Frankly, it sickened me. I don’t care how many hotels he ran, or how big his ego is, this is a town about people, not posing or pretend caring about our local issues.
Everything isn’t about how rich business owners can become and shoveling shit against the tide to save a few hotels and condos. Be smart and recognize a con when you see it. This is about power and ego, don’t be fooled.
Why always these self-serving candidates, G.O.P.? Interesting. Instead, look to the people who are governing locally now, who have actually made things happen for the people of this town, our community, and the environment we must consider — first — on this fragile spit of land. No more building McMansions until there’s not a scrap of open space left.
Local people have nowhere to live affordably, yet there are available abandoned houses we could utilize for people to purchase reasonably and fix up and live in. Our waters may indeed become unrecognizable, this is true. What fish will we be eating, then? As someone who has been fighting for local water protection and stopping the pollution of our aquifer, I know who is full of bull and who is not. If you support the sand mining industry, then you don’t give a fig about the drinking water or keeping our bays clean. There is no middle ground. You’re either all in or you’re all out. I say this whether you’re waving a blue flag or a red one.
I am not a die-hard supporter of Governor Cuomo, by the way. We are still waiting for him to sign the bill that relinquishes the power from the Department of Environmental Conservation, which remains the quintessential rubber-stamper of sand mining, with the governor’s approval. That’s got to end. He can turn this around and save the aquifer, if he chooses. Thus far, he has not. Karma tells me his time is running out.
You done good during the pandemic, governor. You were the only leadership we had. You and Dr. Fauci. My mom is safe at 90 because of his stringent measures. Did he make mistakes? Yes. Compared to the do-nothing virus denier in chief, no contest; we know who has the dead toll on their hands.
I worked for the Retreat and wrote a novel about violence and predatory behavior against women; I am no defender of anyone who crosses a line into abusive behavior. If you do the crime, you do the time, in my book. But so many men get away with it. Look at the loser who skulked away last national election. He’ll never pay for his abuses against women.
The last thing we need locally is the bad example we just got rid of nationally. Maybe you can overlook the local nastiness last summer, the verbal attacks on neighbors and amongst former friends, and psycho relatives during the presidential campaign. I cannot. The vitriol spewed daily on social media, forcing people to close their accounts, was unforgivable. No loss there. Real friends keep in touch in real ways.
The past is not the past, it is our teacher. As my mom always said, “It is the company you keep that is the most telling.”
Eyes wide open,
March 15, 2021
To the Editor,
The following facts about a recent New York City kid-killing demonstrates that there’s little justice there for horrific child murderers. But Suffolk County’s ongoing Tommy Valva fatal “torture” case proves that Suffolk County “justice” is not much better.
Poor little Tommy’s suffering may have ended with his (merciful?) death more than a year ago, but his executioner father, Michael Valva, and his co-murderer, Angela Pollina, are both still alive. The facts of the recent Manhattan murder follow, and my opinion of so-called justice there and here in Suffolk County is a pox on both of them.
Ryan Cato may have struck the fatal blow(s!) to 10-year-old Ayden Wolfe’s battered body, but many other adults “helped” make this murder possible: His mother, who virtually “allowed” it to happen. His father, who apparently had not seen his son since last June. The two cops who spent only 12 minutes walking up and down a hallway listening for sounds of a beating and then left. Despite having been told that the one good neighbor’s 911 call had reported hearing 40 minutes worth of banging and screaming: “Do you want me to beat your ass too?” followed by “Stop!” and soft moaning. Then these “serve and protect” cops only twice tried calling the 911 caller back for more information even though they still had 24 more hours to save Ayden from death. Why didn’t they knock on every apartment door on that fatal floor? Why didn’t they make the superintendent unlock every door not opened?
Police Commissioner Shea merely asked if the “officers’ actions were consistent with all department procedures and whether our current procedures need to be revised.”
Our New York State legislators and our court system judges, who allowed killer Cato to be free to torture Ayden to death despite having been arrested three months before for choking the mother of his 6-year-old autistic son, and last month was arrested, but released, for assaulting a school bus driver.
It’s hard to believe that our society again allowed such an avoidable killing to take place despite the lessons supposedly learned from the similar cases of Nixzmary Brown, Eliza Izquierdo, Lisa Steinberg, Zymere Perkins, and too many other young children.
March 22, 2021
Want to know if there is any remorse around for voting Biden-Harris. Are you really happy with the gasoline raised 70 cents more than last year? Electric bills being raised, taxes going up, and it goes on and on. The borders are pitiful: crowds by the thousands coming in day in and day out. Coyotes and drug cartels making a fortune.
Illegals with Covid-19 being let loose in our country, children being held for more than 10 days. Eighty six million dollars are being spent to send Covid immigrants to hotels. Do you think this is dangerous for hotel workers?
Taped on Wednesday, an interview with President Biden and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, this was not viewed until Thursday. Biden’s potential confusions, mumbling, mistakes were edited for clarity. ABC refused an answer on an email request for clarification. No tinkering allowed here.
Biden has not held a solo news conference in his first two months. This is a record. Circumstantial evidence raising concerns about Biden’s cognitive condition among us ordinary Americans, who may disagree on policies, but covet confidence in any leader.
Trump underwent nonstop scrutiny.
In God and country,
March 22, 2021
Watching Rand Paul batter Anthony Fauci on Covid-19 was the perfect example of mindless disinformation. Paul berated Fauci for his insistence on mask wearing as someone who is disconnected from reality. Fauci, as his position required, did not go back at Paul for creating a partially informed alternative reality. He simply stated the scientific reality about new and frightening variants that are causing enormous problems and need to be carefully and properly dealt with.
Fauci’s problem is that he is a scientist and public servant with a clear and conscious role to play. He didn’t go after Trump and his mindless babbling about the virus, so he couldn’t tell Paul what a disingenuous jerk he was. Rand Paul was political asinine — Covid-19 isn’t.
Paul’s rationale for not wearing a mask was the minimal number of people affected by the virus compared to the size of the country (absurdly false). Preparing for what might happen against real world threats. Basic risk-threat analysis.
Fauci could have mentioned the expenditures on homeland security and national defense as similar to the virus danger. Since 1812, 209 years, we have been attacked once on our home soil by another country — in 1941, 70 years ago.
Twenty years ago, due to the extraordinary incompetence of our government, we were attacked by a group of terrorists. Ten times more people die each year than did in 9/11 because of drug overdoses, car accidents, the flu, and tobacco, yet we have spent about $1 trillion on homeland security. Since 2000 we have spent about $14 trillion on defense spending without a single country in the world posing any threat whatsoever to our territory.
Rand Paul is a genuine cretin. Put on your mask and save us the repulsive task of looking at your face.
In the same vein, the Biden administration decision to fire staffers who had admitted using marijuana puts Joe and Rand on the same pedestal. Profoundly brain dead and ignorant. Joe has never gotten past Nixon’s drug war.
Because of our socially backward approach to life in general we are finally beginning to accept legalizing pot. When every reasonable study since 1970 explains that the only way to solve the drug problem is to legalize drugs. All drugs. Not rocket science, Joe. Better to put your head in the sand and give the drug issue a pass.
Between Biden and Paul in these two situations we have the ingredients for the perfect political buffoon. Or Donald Trump redux. Zero knowledge, zero understanding, zero plan.
Rand needs a lobotomy, and Joe a chocolate bar. Anesthetize and distract. They both could benefit from a serious infusion of weed.