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Letters to the Editor for April 1, 2021

Wed, 03/31/2021 - 17:00

Love and Prayers
East Hampton
March 21, 2021

Dear David,

I wanted to take a moment to thank all our family, friends, church family, and the community at large for their tremendous support, love, and prayers during the illness and passing of my son, Paul Craig Jones III. I was truly touched and amazed at how many people Paul touched during his lifetime. He gave so much of himself to others during his life and that has been evidenced by the never-ending support that his loved ones have received back from our very kind and giving community. People from near and far, both young and old and from all walks of life rallied behind our family during this very difficult time and for that we are grateful. Each act of kindness and gift of love is greatly appreciated.

Paul was a man of many talents and passions. A committed and dedicated man, he was a loving son, brother, uncle, and father, a mentor, and a great outdoorsman to name just a few. He grew up in East Hampton and was a son of the Calvary Baptist Church. Before Paul became ill he embarked upon a mission with me and others within the Calvary Baptist Church family to create and cultivate a community garden on the church grounds. He envisioned the seniors and little children coming with their little pots of plants for the garden. Being a natural at gardening and landscaping Paul was very excited to be a part of this project meant to provide fruits of labor to the church and the community and substance to the body and souls of all those who desired to take part. It is my greatest hope that we will be able to continue with this faithful endeavor and allow those who knew Paul to be a part of the upbuilding of this labor of love.

With our whole hearts the Jones, Logie, and Saland families want to thank each one of you for your kindness, your love, and your prayers.



Your Support
March 26, 2021

Dear David,

On behalf of everyone in the community who chipped in to help the people at the Talkhouse while we were closed due to Covid, we just want to say thank you. It meant a lot that you were there for us. It’s been a trying, and often tragic, year for all us. But your support sustained and sustains us. We look forward to being there for you and our community going forward.




Differing Views
March 26, 2021

Dear David:

I have a question. What happens to a community when people are no longer able to respectfully disagree with each other? We used to say that BookHampton’s shelves housed a thousand different ideas all sitting side by side in peace.

As neighbors, we used to be able to express differing views without being subjected to harangues of unsubstantiated claims and abject hatred.

Must we now be so frightened by those with unfettered hostility that we are forced to retreat into silence and allow them to rule by rage and intimidation? What kind of neighborhood are we, when we can’t manage to coexist as neighbors?




East Hampton
March 23, 2021

Dear David,

The cover photo on the latest issue of The Star may have been intended to honor the East Hampton High School goalie shown making a save. But it’s extremely unflattering of her Sayville opponent. These are teenage girls. There’s a good chance that girl and her parents were humiliated by having that photo appear on your cover.

Teens have always been self-conscious but the ubiquity and power of imagery today, especially on social media, can make those years even harder on their self-confidence.

You have a responsibility in publishing cover photos, especially when teenagers are the subjects.




Too Late
March 29, 2021

Dear Mr. Rattray,

The Star was almost always delivered on Thursdays and occasionally on a Wednesday because of a holiday. Two weeks ago, The Star was delivered to my house around 7 p.m. on a Monday night — too late to write a letter to The Star about what was written in it. One week ago, the delivery was on Tuesday night, way too late for my possible letter submission.

This week, I thought I hardly had time to read The Star before this week’s would be delivered. I was wrong. It is now almost past the 5 p.m. limit on having my letter in The Star.

But, since I am not getting The Star to read properly, I can just say to read this letter about my problem.



No Laura?
New York City
March 20, 2021

Dear David,

What happened to Laura Donnelly? At first, I thought a vacation. She might have gone to some exotic spot to subsequently delight us with equally exotic recipes. Or perhaps, a rest period or heaven forbid, an illness. But when our paper arrived this week and still no Laura, no recipe to add to my collection of Donnelly recipes, no discussion of foods and food places and people far and wide I felt the need to inquire: What happened to Laura Donnelly!



Laura Donnelly has moved on from The Star to new projects. Ed.


Accomplished Men
March 24, 2021

Dear Editor,

I’m catching up on my Star issues and was pleased to read about the induction of Greg and Ernie Schimizzi in the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame. These two humble and accomplished men have contributed more to the community than most know. They can’t say no when there is a need. Also good news that the Hampton Classic will return in August. Their coverage of this event has been broadcast each year with the best equestrian commentary to make the show accessible to all.

Thanks to both of them,



Much Worse
East Hampton
March 29, 2021

To the Editor:

Police still are needed at that Stephen Hand’s Path-Route 114 intersection. Like no other intersection in town, the long straight stretches of Route 114 in both ways from the light incite dragsters. Add to that, cars and trucks souped up for a macho roar of sound for a quarter mile, and you get all the Hamptons should not be permitted to become. I wrote about this problem a year ago, asking police and town officials to take steps. Nothing has been done and things are much worse for residents a quarter mile in either direction from the light.

Four offenses are being committed that police can and should address: speeding, noise pollution, disturbing the peace, and cars without adequate muffling.

If East Hampton police officers or responsible town officials would visit our intersection — or leave sound measuring equipment there — the extent of the deliberate, in-your-face racket would be as clear and obviously unacceptable as walking down Newtown Lane banging a drum.

Yes, the new flood of cars and trucks makes noise; that is life in our vanishing peaceful small town. But those are not violations. We are asking the police to deal with violations.

If traffic officers monitored the intersection for half an hour a day, and gave out tickets for egregious violations, in a few weeks word would get around that the law will be enforced, that antisocial behavior will have limits. It would be one limited mission for the police; but it would save us from drivers who don’t know or care that anyone lives here.

Don’t we have a right to expect that for our taxes?



Caught My Eye
East Hampton
March 26, 2021

To the Editor,

While driving west on Further Lane a day or two ago, something caught my eye that brought me to an abrupt stop in front of a crew of four cleaning up the lawn and driveway in front of an attractive home. As I opened the passenger side window they stopped their work and looked at me a bit apprehensively.

I shouted out to them, “Thank you for using the rakes!”

Everyone was all smiles as I drove away.

Of course using rakes rather than gas-fueled blowers, or even electric blowers, is healthier for the workers and healthier for the soil, not to mention more considerate and healthier for the rest of us.



Destructive Impact
East Hampton
March 29, 2021

To the Editor,

The East Hampton Town Board took a step in the right direction last week when it limited the use of gas-powered leaf blowers during, essentially, the summer months. In doing so, the board joined the growing number of municipalities that recognize the destructive impact of these machines. They are noisy, polluting, and highly damaging to wildlife. It’s hard to imagine why anyone tolerates their maddening drone.

They are, however, not only bad for our peace of mind. They, along with a whole range of unnecessary landscaping practices, contribute to the growing destruction and loss of pollinator species, blasting their nesting, hibernating, and egg-laying sites. This, in turn, has further harmful consequences up the food chain for native and migratory birds that feed on insects.

The good news is that East Hampton has moved to curtail the use of the blowers. But it should do more. Larchmont, for example, allows their use only during April, November, and December. This makes sense, both for the well-being of humans and insects.

There’s a lot more we can do to improve our landscaping practices (without putting landscapers out of business, by the way). For anyone who might feel uncomfortable with changing familiar landscaping habits, I recommend and There’s abundant information there about how these changes have been put into practice already, why we need them, and how to bring landscapers into the process.




Dramatic Decline
March 28, 2021

Dear David,

Spring is here: a time when East Hampton homeowners start dreaming of summer gardens in bloom and the trilling of birds in our trees. But our landscape practices are contributing to the dramatic decline of American bird species — some two-thirds of them. But another “two-thirds” project could save them. East Hampton’s own Edwina von Gal has a great website showing how you can save our songbirds by planting two native species for every non-native planting.

Why two-thirds? We have lost three billion birds already. Most of them are not exotic or endangered; they are the ones that inhabit the places we live — and now those places are inhospitable for them. Two of the main causes of bird decline are loss of habitat and use of pesticides. In too many cases, our plant choices do not give them what they need and pesticides have killed their insect food sources.

But here’s the good news: These are two things we have total control of in our gardens. If birds can have access to landscapes that are at least two-thirds native plants, their populations can revive. If your property, no matter how small, could commit to planting two natives for every three plants, you can make a big difference. And, of course, no pesticides.

You can keep what you already have (except invasives) and just incorporate natives going forward. Replace some lawn! For tools and tips, visit



Our Streetlights
March 28, 2021

Dear David,

There is an issue of great concern on the horizon for everyone living and working on the East End.

While LED light sources save energy, they need to be selected to avoid high “blue light” waves (Kelvin) to prevent health and environmental damage. Specifically, the lower the Kelvin, the less percentage of blue light in the LED light source. Blue light is a contributing factor to macular degeneration and lowered melatonin and will create more sky glow, reducing our ability to see stars in the night sky.

I am alarmed that there is an effort underway in the town to change all our streetlights to a Kelvin that will cause more sky glow and reduce visibility at night. Right now, our streetlights are in the 2,000-K range. They should not be changed to a Kelvin over 1,800 so that the “color” will appear the same and a great deal of energy will be saved.

I ask that your readers alert the East Hampton Town Board that this is an issue of concern. This effort is also underway in Sag Harbor.

In Southampton, the LED streetlights were replaced and are much too high in Kelvin and you can witness the greater glare and sky glow as a result.



The Tipping Point?
Gardners, Penn.
March 27, 2021

Dear Editor:

I’m writing, again, on an environmental problem that has nothing to do with wind farms or global warming. But it’s a problem nonetheless. We don’t hear much about it because it doesn’t affect most of us. We’ve been told the problem is well under control and we’re fixing it right now. Not to worry. To think otherwise is just plain silly. So don’t ask. But I have a silly question that I’ve asked before and even written about in this newspaper. I hoped someone else might ask it too.

Why have Peconic and Gardiner’s Bays become so suddenly barren? No scallops, eelgrass, shorebirds or ducks, sand eels, bluefish, and it goes on. I won’t waste The Star’s ink with a longer list. Nor will I list the excuses we’ve all heard. But most of those explanations have been happening for years so what was the tipping point? Here’s the most silly question: Is it possible there are too many oysters in oyster farms?

How is it Suffolk County, which leases oyster farm sites, East Hampton Town, which must do something, anything, for the environment, or the East Hampton Town Trustees, who are so enamored with Stony Brook University that they will now plant kelp in Three Mile Harbor, never wondered themselves. How can you and I ask? I guess we shouldn’t. But we can read.

The internet is amazing. You can ask it anything and one way or another it will answer. I found a lot of stuff about oyster farming, much good, some not, but I believe it gives us information about oyster culture we’ve never gotten before. If you want to start easy understanding, go to the Journal of Fisheries and Livestock Production then “research ecologic consequences of oyster culture.” Yeah, it’s a real thing. It’s a specialized publication for people interested in fisheries and livestock production — yeah, there are people who do — with fewer statistical charts and less jargon. I hope you might see we should begin to ask silly questions.



No Single Action
March 29, 2021

Dear David,

Your March 17 editorial “Climate Goal Means Much Work Is Ahead” states with regard to the East Hampton Airport that “though the heavy use by jets and helicopters are important sources of emissions, it is likely that the air traffic would shift elsewhere, with no net positive impact at a global scale.”

For sure, some fraction of KHTO jets and choppers might divert to other facilities. But Montauk Airport is remote and inconvenient; Gabreski Airport would be okay for long distance travelers, yet, given on-ground travel time, useless for the vast majority coming in from N.Y.C., and Southampton Heliport is small and handles only choppers (and could and should be shut down immediately).

Your bottom line seems to be that closing KHTO would likely have no impact “at a global scale,” but no single action of any kind will have such an impact. What eventually will be hundreds and thousands of small and large efforts, including wind farms, solar farms, electric cars, and reduced travel by private jets and choppers, the most energy-inefficient form of transportation on the planet.



March 29, 2021

Dear David,

 Thanks for your editorial highlighting East Hampton’s efforts to curtail carbon emissions. However, it is mystifying that you say the substantial carbon impact of the airport is not a great consideration, as the aircraft travel likely “would just go elsewhere.”

Would the excessively large houses being built here that you condemn just be built elsewhere? Would the legions of cars and trucks descending on us every day to maintain the overbuilt houses just travel elsewhere?

Aircraft pollute in five fully documented ways, not just one: visual, groundwater, noise, psychological, and air. In an age of unprecedented climate crisis, for you to simply dismiss the egregious and unnecessary impact of East Hampton’s largest sole-source polluter is odd indeed, especially given the long-term environmental ethos of The Star.



Like New Coke
March 28, 2021

Dear David,

I know the wise taxpayers of Wainscott see right through the expensive marketing campaign being promoted by Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott. I liken it to the effort by the Coca-Cola Company when they decided (failing miserably) that “New Coke” would be a good thing, but they failed to recognize that it was unnecessary to old Coke consumers. Old Coke was just what they liked and changing the idea of Coke was just a marketing and advertising campaign, not a better product.

The same can be said for the incorporation attempt in Wainscott. It is the New Coke being marketed to the wise taxpayers as something they should want, need, and like. Except it isn’t. C.P.W. has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars (the public can’t get the most current tax filing for this 501(c)(4) for actual spending costs, so what are they hiding?) on marketing and promotion to generate a false need that few in Wainscott want, feel they need, or have use for. Taxpayers know when they are being sold a bill of false promises dressed up like New Coke.

Wainscott citizenry has a long tradition of not following charlatans, shiny objects, fads, and never bought into New Coke marketing. Perhaps all the Mercury Group bills piling up over at C.P.W. have overwhelmed the calculators and that is why they have not filed the required tax forms.

Can you imagine if this group tried to run a village? Marketing and advertising are not governing. All the millions they have spent and no wins in the win column, the focus groups have failed them. They want the government to be unpaid volunteers but are spending millions on promotion, marketing, consultants, and litigation.

Taxpayers use good old-fashioned common sense and know when they are being sold malarkey! It tastes like New Coke: all marketing and advertising but no honest flavor.

Wainscott will remain a hamlet, and we will not be sold a solution in search of a problem.




No Thank-You
March 29, 2021

Dear David,

I’m reading the March 3 paper with all the thank-yous for Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, for 65 and older residents receiving their Covid vaccine. I have no thank-you for Peter, or the town, for help.

I called his office more than once after I saw Most Holy Trinity Church, sponsored by Minerva Perez for, according to the paper, nonessential workers, receiving the vaccine, disputed by the supervisor’s secretary. I’m a 76-year-old with C.O.P.D., which I explained; my husband is 77, also with underlying health problems. I have been on the phone, on the internet, reaching out to all pharmacies. Please note my and my husband’s ages.

The supervisor advised me to watch the papers, go on the East Hampton Town site to get information, as no list was being done. Here’s the odd thing, friends who knew someone who also knew someone received a phone call at 7 a.m. to go to the Child Development Center for their shots; they were all registered. I guess I didn’t know someone. The press has pictures of a second clinic. Each time I went on any site, including calling the state hotline, no availability.

Okay now wait for it, I emailed (hold tight) the one y’all hate, Congressman Lee Zeldin, he in turn offered me all the info I needed to sign up and get an appointment. Also helpful to me was Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. My husband and I traveled to the Southampton campus to get our shots, thank you. For our age, in our 70s, the East Hampton Wainscott site would have been easier.

In God and country,



Need to Know
East Hampton
March 29, 2021

Dear David,

An East Hampton Town department that was not publicly identified recently reported a Covid-19 cluster of seven employees who tested positive, some of whom have become sick with the virus. Surprisingly, at the last public town board meeting, the supervisor did not present a Covid-19 report, although the significant Covid-19 development among local town employees was apparently known to him at the time.

People need to know the facts in order to remain safe. The latest news reports indicate that New York State is experiencing more new Covid-19 cases per capita than anywhere else in the country except New Jersey. Last week, New York City reported the second-highest rate of new infections in the United States. A new spike is threatened.

When Councilman Jeff Bragman learned about the current Covid-19 cluster among town employees, as a responsible representative of the community he disclosed this to the public as important information that they should be aware of. Bragman did the right thing.

Very truly yours,



March 10, 2021

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I am a registered Democrat living here permanently and have been voting here for more than 15 years. During that period I have always voted for the Democratic slate of candidates, whether for town board or trustee.

I do not personally know Jeffrey Bragman nor have I ever met him. However, I have been extremely impressed with him whenever I would watch the live town board meetings on TV. He always seemed to raise a point or question that the rest of the board did not seem to care to discuss. These differences with the board appeared to me to always have the interests of East Hampton itself as the basis for his questions. These discussions would often lead to arguments with other board members, which I actually viewed as a positive process in resolving town issues.

I am not writing this letter as one more resident supporting Jeff Bragman though I certainly do feel that way. I’m writing this letter primarily because after reading all the letters in his support in the March 4 issue of The East Hampton Star, I was appalled that there was not a single letter in The Star from any board member or East Hampton resident explaining the reason why Jeff Bragman was not nominated to run for the board in the next election. Maybe it is time for East Hampton to sometimes run Democratic primaries for board members to see how town residents feel about the candidates. Just sayin’.



Subtle Coup
East Hampton
March 28, 2021

Dear David:

Something is wrong with this picture.

In 2017, Jeff Bragman was elected to the East Hampton Town Board with 3,707 votes. And this was after winning enough votes in the primary to gain his spot on the ballot as one of the Democratic nominees. So, one would assume that Mr. Bragman would be one of the Democratic incumbents seeking re-election this year.

Well, not in East Hampton. The 38-member East Hampton Democratic Committee (of which I was once a member) has decided to strip away from East Hampton voters the ability to decide whether Mr. Bragman deserves another term. Instead, the committee picked one of its own to be the Democratic nominee, shunning Mr. Bragman in a subtle coup. As prior letters from Pamela Bicket and Loring Bolger have complained, the decision by the Democratic committee is inappropriate, regardless of whether it is legally permissible.

Whether Mr. Bragman has been a thorn in the side of the town board or has voiced opinions contrary to those of the other members of the board should provide no basis for the committee to deny Mr. Bragman another term. There have been no allegations (at least publicly) that Mr. Bragman has violated any professional or ethical strictures. Nor have there been any allegations that Mr. Bragman has not satisfied his responsibilities as a town board member. So, whether or not he deserves another term should be the decision of the East Hampton voters to make, not a few dozen members of the Democratic committee. That the committee abrogated that decision to itself is shameful.




The Same
March 29, 2021

To the Editor:

The same people that want vaccine passports don’t want voter ID.



Brazen Attempts
East Hampton
March 29, 2021

To the Editor:

First, we were told what’s the harm, let him say the election was stolen for a couple of days; it’s just his way of saving face. But as days turned into weeks turned into months, the Big Lie gained traction, especially once Republicans realized it could offer cover for sweeping legislation that they cynically insist is designed to stop (nonexistent) voter fraud, but in reality, is laying the groundwork to subvert future elections.

The more than 250 voter-suppression bills introduced by Republicans in 43 states are brazen attempts to roll back access to voting, as legislatively violent as the Capitol assault was physically violent. Just as Jan. 6 was a day when people stopped everything to witness what was once unimaginable — a violent attempt to overturn the results of an American election — the coming days will be crucial in defending our right to elect our own leaders.

It is critical that the For the People Act, which would block voter suppression efforts, become law. Already passed in the House (Lee Zeldin voted no), the bill is currently in the Senate. Call our Democratic senators and let them know you stand with them in supporting this important legislation. And let Lee Zeldin know that voting against the For the People Act was unpatriotic, almost as unpatriotic as his vote to nullify the election results on Jan. 6, just hours after the deadly insurrection.




The Filibuster
East Hampton
March 28, 2021


This week the Republican Legislature in Georgia passed a sweeping election law bill that will severely limit the ability of large sections of the population from voting. What is so strange about the bill is that in the presidential election Georgia Republicans refused to accede to Donald Trump’s request to overturn the election because they said it was fair, legitimate, and honest. Three times the ballots were counted and certified. Three times they found no electoral fraud. They did find out that two dead people had voted, not the 5,000 Trump claimed. (If brain-dead were part of the dead classification 70 million voters would have fallen into the fraud category.)

So, despite the triple Georgia count and the refusal of election officials to accept Trump’s fraud charges, Georgia’s Legislature found it necessary to pass this law. What does it say about Georgia Republicans — and the 253 other Republican-generated election bills that are floating around state legislatures? To be fair but brutally honest, the adage “once a political scumbag always a political scumbag” is the most accurate description.

When we add the 169 Republican legislators who supported overturning the election and the treatment of Merrick Garland during his Supreme Court nomination to all the proposed bills, the question about the filibuster is instantly resolved. No one in their right mind would question for a second the Democrats’ decision to do away with the filibuster.

Pass the H1 voting rights bill, pass immigration reform, pass gun control measures, and pass an infrastructure bill. Screw unto others as they will screw unto you.

Ethics, morality, bipartisanship in Congress have been dead for 30 years. Pretending it can work is pointless. Because it is impossible to pass viable and positive legislation: Politicians think only about getting re-elected. Mitch McConnell said when Obama got elected that his primary purpose was to make sure that he wasn’t re-elected. No, douchebag, your role is to pass laws and improve the living conditions in the country.

In Georgia, the local Democrats outworked their Republican counterparts and turned the state. The response to being outworked was not to work harder and better but to change the laws. Unprovoked and unnecessary, as well as un-American (not sure on that one), it reeks of laziness, cowardice, and racism. Governing is really hard, complicated work. Reducing it to political scheming disrespects the whole process.

Two hundred-fifty-three election bills to rectify a problem that has been proven not to exist. Insisting on the veracity of a proven lie brings into question the legitimacy of the Republican Party. If it is incapable of differentiating truth from fantasy it no longer deserves to be treated as an equal party in governing the country. Logically, it raises a serious question of intellectual competence. No logical reason to discuss the filibuster. Just do it, Joe.



Much Higher Voice
New York City
March 19, 2021

To the Editor:

“What has happened before will happen again. What has been done before will be done again.”

There is nothing new under the sun. Spruced-up by Ms. Xu, scholar: “History always knocks twice, first as comedy, and then possibly as tragedy.” The “happened,” the queen.

Once upon a time there was a king. The king gave orders, and because the people obeyed those orders, the kingdom flourished. Then one day the king became mute. The king gave orders by raising or lowering the tone of his voice.

One day the king wanted to give an order in an even lower tone, but the king’s voice could only go so low. He was unable to give the order everyone knew he needed to give. So the people kept on obeying the last order he had given, even though they knew that this order was no longer the right order for the times. So the kingdom fell into poverty. Most people blamed the times.

Then one day a small boy had a suggestion: “Why doesn’t the queen give the orders? She has been speaking in a much higher voice, and could easily give the right orders.” Back than the people were bemused. Nowadays, happily irrelevant, extraneous.

No need to delineate the correlation of this anecdote to the critical, troubling, ongoing episode in our government. The happening now.

Enter Kamala Harris, our first woman vice president, bracing, animating her biraciality, a Presbyterian, married to a Jewish executive, at the prime age of 56. The first American joining this illustrates, eminent club of accomplished women national leaders: Golda Meir, eight years prime minister, Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, 10 years [at least] as prime ministers; Isabel Peron, Angela Merkel, 19 years and still going strong. It is about time! A high potential for originating, implementing policies, plans, pertaining to our contemporary, urgent national issues.

Attained her “baptism of fire” as a prosecutor on the battlegrounds of California.

Sly commentaries from sources close to this situation indicate that she is already executing several of the “boys’ suggestions.” Her crucial, deciding test will occur in 2023, when she, President Harris, will be presiding over an overwhelming, overpopulated Republican, conservative House and Senate. Fasten your seatbelts. One does not have to be a genius political forecaster to predict this impending confrontation; any aspiring high school student can see this coming.


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