Litter Is Winning
March 31, 2021
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Our group performs litter cleanup along a portion of Springs-Fireplace Road in the center of the industrial area. This last week, we collected more than double the trash we collected at the same place last year. The great majority of what we pick up is what is thrown out of cars: containers of what people eat, drink, and smoke.
Last year’s experience only doubles down on the observations we made to you (in a letter of March 7, 2020) that litter is winning in our town. The pandemic, shifts to takeout food, the increase in town population with second-home owners have only combined to greatly increase the trash along our roads, and increasingly, on our private and public lands, on the trails and beaches where we walk.
Our town desperately needs a spring cleaning. Unfortunately, the town’s litter and recycling committee has not been able to garner the attention it deserves, and the various departments that handle parts of our litter problem need help.
Beyond just cleaning up this spring, we need to increase our litter awareness in public programs, local schools, and community organizations. We need to focus on youth programs that both recruit volunteers and inculcate the need to change behavior. We need anti-litter programs in the stores that sell the products that end up on our roads. We need to educate and encourage another generation to take responsibility for their trash and to take care of our common areas.
We are asking you and The East Hampton Star to help promote and lead a communitywide litter cleanup campaign, to engage local organizations, committees, schools, churches, and families to join existing — and start new — litter cleanup projects now. We and other organizations and town employees would gladly participate in a steering committee and provide resources to organize and complete specific cleanup projects this spring. We need you and the strong and widely supported voice of The East Hampton Star for this community-building endeavor.
April 2, 2021
To the Editor,
Many thanks to the Nature Conservancy for blocking access to a network of makeshift paths that had insinuated its way across the Sheppard Memorial Dunes next to the Indian Wells Beach parking lot.
These dunes are a preserve, though many nature lovers had mistaken the area for a park. Their regular walks, often with dogs and children in tow, had widened what had been narrow deer paths into what looked like official nature paths.
Thankfully, for the sake of the delicate plants and nesting birds for which the area is preserved, the Conservancy stepped in and erected a stretch of snow fencing with some warning signs across what had become a
de facto entrance. Perhaps the town should follow suit by erecting more permanent fencing along that side of the parking lot.
In the meantime, it’s well worth reminding everyone who enjoys the outdoors that before taking a walk, please check that you are entering a “park,” not a “preserve.”
ALICE HENRY WHITMORE
East Hampton Village
April 2, 2021
No David, you are not wrong! Bald eagles hovering over Hook Pond, their chosen habitat, should indeed be included in the village’s highest planning priorities. Eagle
sightings have ranged from the pond’s shoreline to select surrounding trees and the Maidstone Club golf course where an eagle has already landed on the newly constructed osprey platform.
What could be more valuable to the village than its natural resources and coastal habitats? With the impact of climate change threatening the future of our local environment, the village’s future cannot just focus on its bricks-and-mortar facade.
Time on My Hands
April 2, 2021
To the Editor,
Well, it is Friday morning, had my shots, but still sort of playin’ it safe here out east and inside, on a very cold morning with time on my hands.
Don’t write too many letters to papers, but will have some fun discussing the first five in today’s letters:
The first two are as usual very nice thank-you letters from those who wish to broadly acknowledge reactions of many around them who have celebrated or commiserated on personal events. A nice use of this freedom in the press/Star.
The next one is as good — a short comment about the overwhelming moronic, stupid, evil nastiness taking place in, now, almost all walks of our lives. 1984! Yup. Left, right, politics, totally slanted media, cancel culture, so-called constant charges of racism, etc., Charline’s letter really says it clearly and understandably! Bravo.
The fourth one sort of falls into some of the negativity of above. There are billions of sports images out there all the time, and in almost all there is a winner and a less-than-winner (not loser). We all see in football, basketball, hockey, baseball, even tennis, golf, and track someone in a compromising, unpleasant situation. The press loves these images, and for the most part we all laugh.
Why should the media now become part of the “everyone should be protected from everything all the time” and particularly from seeing someone with a very unhappy face in a highly competitive confrontation.
Does anyone, other than the letter writer, think that the strong athletic girl and her parents were truly humiliated by the picture? Probably enjoyed the publicity and had a good laugh over it! Tsk, tsk, tsk!
Finally the letter from one of your unpaid weekly opinion columnists:
He is really upset about getting the paper late, and not being able to read it adequately and in time for him to write his weekly “contribution.”
This is a real laugh! I get the paper online every Friday morning, as I have just now. Read it all and go on to The Post, Times, and W.S.J.
I think I get the online version when I pay for the actual paper to be delivered. Can’t figure out what the complainer’s problem is. If he pays for and gets The Star delivered he can surely read it online and have the weekend to write his column.
Bay Street Theater
April 2, 2021
To the Editor,
The standoff between Sag Harbor officials and Bay Street Theater regarding the theater’s continuing efforts to get village board approval to stage its summer season in an outdoor tent in Steinbeck Park leaves me deeply disheartened. The fact that the village board, the mayor, and the deputy mayor seem so unyielding and uncooperative in
their resistance to every good-faith proposal from Bay Street to reopen safely for the summer season seems ridiculous and tremendously shortsighted. Do village officials not realize how important Bay Street is to the community, residents, visitors, and the local economy? To lose the entire summer season again for a second year in a row would be a sacrifice for the community, local businesses, East End theater lovers, and hard-hit theater professionals and, no doubt, a blow to the long-term survival of Bay Street Theater itself.
There are several parks and open-air spaces in town that could accommodate a tent and audience of up to 200 hundred — put your heads together and come up with a solution! For a year-round weekender like me, the Bay Street Theater is among the town’s most welcome attractions. Maybe it’s time for the mayor and the board to realize just how lucky Sag Harbor is to have such an ambitious and acclaimed theater in its midst.
Close the Airport
April 5, 2021
To the Editor,
With the town passage of Resolution 2021-329, endorsing the declaration of a climate emergency in the Town of East Hampton, it seems like the perfect time to close the airport. The air pollution and noise pollution are beyond extreme.
The town could put the land to use in a number of wonderful ways: Perfect location for wind and solar fields providing electricity for the town, a town recreational facility with swimming pools and gyms, a series of trails for walkers and bicycle enthusiasts of all ages.
There are thousands of people negatively impacted year round by the airport. In addition, our neighboring towns with no voice in East Hampton deserve our compassion.
We encourage everyone to write to our local politicians to encourage them to do the right thing for the environment and people of this generation and generations to come.
Reinstate the concept of peace and quiet — close the airport.
ROBERT and SUSAN CASPER
Signals and Wi-Fi
April 2, 2021
Dear East Hampton Star,
Many readers who follow my letters may remember that I have a condition which doctors call perceived electromagnetic hypersensitivity. For those new to my letters, I will explain a bit later. For now, what you need to know is that this condition, as it manifests in my case, means that I’m sensitive to cellphone signals and Wi-Fi, among other things. For this reason, I can’t use or even own a cellphone. The primary symptom is a kind of seasickness — not vertigo — that never gets to the point of being physically ill.
What I have to report is that I got more proof that my condition is very real on Monday. I was trying to write an email to a friend when simultaneously the house went silent and my constant feeling of malaise lifted somewhat. This was at the beginning of the blackout. Suddenly I could think more clearly and even my typing improved. For the next few hours I was able to get more done than I normally would in a full day. When the power finally came back, the seasickness increased with the weight of a cinderblock. An hour later, I began having a migraine, which I treated with Tylenol.
The last time I felt anything like this clarity of mind was back in 2003 (I think it was), when the entire Northeast went dark for three days. There were fewer cell towers and they had fewer antennas broadcasting weaker signals so the relief was more pronounced and for three days I was able to think clearly. And for some reason, when I took a trip to Tokyo in 2014, once the plane was in the air, the signals seemed to drop away and once we were over the Arctic, I felt totally clear.
On the ground in Japan, oddly, I did not have the same degree of discomfort as I do here at home. Not sure why. This is the last trip I ever took by airplane because although the plane itself is mercifully low on electro-magnetic fields, the airport has enough to nearly bring me to my knees. Until I can get an E.M.F.-shielded place to wait for a plane, I will never ever fly anywhere again. This even goes for public transportation as well, since many buses and trains have Wi-Fi and I can only stand it for a few seconds. The last time I helped my father onto a Hampton Jitney, I nearly collapsed and my mother had to walk me off the bus.
The way this condition seems to work is that it can trigger particularly sensitive nerve cells. I was born with very sensitive hearing, which seems to be the case for my inner ear as well, which is the way we keep our balance. Seasickness results from contradictory information being sent from the inner ear and the eyes. The inner ear tells the brain that the body is moving but the eyes say that the body is relatively immobile. My type of perceived E.M.F. hypersensitivity seems to work in the same way. My doctor once asked me if it gets better at night, and I was able to answer him affirmatively because I’m aware that when the sun is in the sky, it is giving off a ton of E.M.F., most of which is screened out by the Earth’s electromagnetic field as well as the atmosphere. But there’s still enough to make a difference. I’m convinced that I didn’t notice this condition because I was born into a world with a lot less E.M.F. pollution. We had radio and television signals and a small but growing number of telecom satellites but that was about it. And I did notice a dizzy sensation when standing near a radio tower or high-tension line tower. It was around 1997 that it began to manifest.
Those of you who remember me as manager of Wild Bird Crossing in Bridgehampton will also remember that I eventually had to quit because my condition was just being made worse by “improvements” in cell towers and the addition of Wi-Fi hubs in nearby stores.
I have essentially been forced to live almost like a hermit since 2010. Last year, as G5 was rolled out in Manhattan, my annual holiday month in the city with my parents was difficult — and then there was the added problem of Covid-19.
This brings me to my final beef, which is with electric cars. I want an electric car. I have wanted one for decades. The problem is that whenever I speak to a dealership about removing anything that receives or broadcasts a cellular or Wi-Fi signal, I’m told that it’s not possible. The technology is somehow integral to the working of the vehicle (which I know is a lie). I also want knobs, dials, and buttons — not a touch screen that can break easily and is much more distracting. I want a car that is just a car, not an entertainment system, smartphone, or tablet on wheels.
What I want specifically is my old 1989 Chevy Corsica with an electric motor and airbags. If it has Wi-Fi or cellular capabilities (even OnStar), I won’t be able to drive it. In part this is because the electric motor already gives off an E.M.F., which may itself turn out to be problematic. However, I was once shown a demonstration of a high-power electric motor with no electromagnetic shielding and it barely affected me, possibly because it is not on the same wavelength as Wi-Fi or cell towers.
Well, this letter is long enough, and I don’t want to seem like a perennial sad sack (probably too late for that). But I will leave off with one final request: Please don’t automatically set your Wi-Fi hubs to the highest level and maybe turn them off — I mean unplug — when they are not needed. Who am I kidding? You always need them because you can’t live without your phones or computers.
As always, thanks for reading.
April 2, 2021
I learned to make people happy by baking. My main teachers were my father, Wolfie, my mother, Mickey (a Hungarian excellent baker), some study in France beginning as a 14-year-old, and a baking class with a French woman in Berkeley in the 1970s. But my most important teacher was the bakery at the Rascal House, an amazing restaurant that I owned with my family in Miami Beach.
The Rascal House had the most advanced bakery of any restaurant that I knew of in the United States, and I am including the fancier, most expensive restaurants. Even in France, only about 20 of the top three-star restaurants did as much work, and the quality of work that was done at the Rascal House. Our prices were only about a third to a half of the fancy restaurants’, and we also gave diners many more baked goods for free than any restaurant in the world.
The Rascal House had 465 seats and a huge takeout business. In Miami Beach’s big winter season, we would have between 12 to 16 bakers working each day. Around the late 1960s and early 1970s, we expanded the restaurant to have its own bakery preparation and wall oven area of over 3,000 square feet (not even counting the flour, sugar, and other needs storage area).
Also built was my beloved refrigerated room, where two bakers would put together most of the baked items that used creams and some of our chocolate desserts. On a warm day, I loved to come from junior high school and squeeze into the cool room to learn to make (and eat!) these mainly French desserts. Yes, our heritage was a mix of Jewish heritage, especially from Hungary and Eastern Europe, but it had a strong French influence. Our chocolate eclairs were the finest that I ever ate — and when you ordered one eclair you were given two.
A workweek was six days of nine hours. The first bake group started at 2 a.m., as that was a baker’s traditional starting hour. Almost all the rest of the bakers came in at 4 a.m. We would serve freshly made Danish and all breakfast baked goods at 6 or 7 a.m. However, Wolfie hired a few bakers to come in around noon so that when you ate lunch or dinner at the Rascal House the rolls you were served were baked within the last two hours.
Wolfie and Mickey loved to be generous. All rolls and breakfast Danish were free for every meal from the morning opening to our closing after midnight. A Rascal House table might have had three dining couples who were being served from one large and always freshly refilled basket. At the end of the meal, each couple could ask for, and expect to receive, one free bag to take home.
April 1, 2021
To the Editor,
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s plan to purposely slow already-slow snail-mail deliveries makes a mockery of the U.S. Postal Service’s unofficial motto chiseled into the granite above the entrance to its main post office building in New York City: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Postmaster General DeJoy (whose so-called leadership seems less like a general’s than what you’d expect from a newly-enlisted private) seems as if he’s aiming to destroy the Postal Service. I judge him (and not his hard-working couriers who do the best they can with what he hasn’t taken away from them) by this recent experience.
A box of 25 copies of the Theodore Roosevelt Association Journal mailed to me (Feb. 11) by its editor from Providence, R.I., took 40 days to reach me on Long Island (on March 22), ironic, since 40 days and 40 nights is how long the rain pelted Noah’s Ark during the Bible’s great flood — though my wait felt more like the 40 years the Israelites wandered the desert after Moses led them out of Egypt.
Strangely, the package started its journey moving fast, getting from Rhode Island to New Jersey in just two days. U.S.P.S. tracking then informed me that it departed Jersey City on Feb. 13, and on Feb. 17 was in transit to the next facility. But then I got no updates for 28 straight days, until on March 17 I was told that my copies had made their way all of 10 miles to Kearney, N.J., during those four-plus weeks. And then, miraculously, my seven-pound box speeded up again to cross the Hudson River, cross state lines from New Jersey into New York, cross over Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens into Nassau County, and onto my front stoop in Plainview in just five days.
These 25 magazines (about Montauk’s own Teddy Roosevelt) could not have been delivered by email, but Mr. DeJoy has already taken all the joy out of anxiously awaiting a package delivered by good old snail mail.
One in Four Women
March 29, 2021
Last week, the Democratic-led House voted to reauth-orize the Violence Against Women Act. First coauthored in 1994 by then Senator Joe Biden, the law was designed to protect women from domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking through a wide array of programs. The law was re-authorized and expanded several times over the years ending in 2013. It expired in 2019 after the G.O.P.-controlled Senate refused to consider the measure.
The need for the law has become even more acute in light of the significant uptick in domestic violence cases during the Covid-19 closures that forced closer quarters among domestic partners.
Only 29 House Republicans voted to continue this national program to reduce violence against women; shamefully 172 House Republicans voted against this protective program. Domestic violence, including domestic partner violence, has become a national public health crisis. Nearly one in four women will experience physical violence at the hands of their intimate partner in their lifetime.
Firearms contribute significantly to the violence crisis. Around 4.5 million American women have been threatened with a gun and nearly 1 million have been shot or shot at by a domestic partner. A woman is five times more likely to be murdered when her abuser has access to a gun.
One has to ask why so many Republican House members voted against the act. Well, the Violence Against Women Act includes a provision that would close what has become known as the “boyfriend loophole.” Those convicted of domestic violence against a current or former spouse already are prohibited from legally buying a firearm; the act would extend this prohibition to “boyfriends” — those convicted of stalking or assaulting a dating partner. The F.B.I. has found that a boyfriend is just as likely as a husband to kill an intimate partner.
Our spineless G.O.P. House representatives have once again fallen in step with the National Rifle Association’s opposition to the provision closing the boyfriend loophole, choosing to ensure that a domestic abuser can purchase a firearm, instead of protecting women from a clearly documented threat of violence.
Who was one of the 172 Republican House members opposing the act? Of course, it was our congressman, Lee Zeldin, who would rather put women in danger than approve sensible restrictions prohibiting access of domestic abusers to firearms. It should come as some comfort that New York State legislators recognized this problem and closed the domestic violence loophole in New York’s “red flag” law.
Women voters in the First Congressional District should all condemn Mr. Zeldin’s myopic view to emphasize gun rights over our safety.
April 4, 2021
I went to church Good Friday, and the priest pulled out a bottle of water. If he can do this why can’t people standing on line to vote carry with them a bottle of water? This is one of the many Pinocchios Biden gets for his remarks on the new Georgia voting law. This law seems to be less lenient than in 35 other states.
The law states that a person who is wearing elective apparel cannot hand out food or water to those waiting on line to vote. A poll worker can give these items out. Or you can carry your own.
Second lie Biden is pushing: closing the polls early. There is no change in how long the polls are closing. They are not closing at 5 p.m.
If you are flying you need to show ID to board the plane; go to Costco, need ID for your purchase. If you order concert or baseball tickets, pick them up at will call, you need ID. I went for my first Covid vaccine, and guess what — without showing ID, I wasn’t getting the shot. Thank God I had my ID.
The net effect was to expand the opportunities to vote for most Georgians, not limit them.
Someone who enables President Biden should have him tell the truth, not have lies come out of his mouth.
Ms. “I won the governorship” Stacey Abrams, who pushed for a very long time, this law was racist (the word of the
year, suppressed voting, is now upset that coke and other high techs are involved in this. She’s upset that the M.L.B. is pulling out of Georgia, because now jobs are at stake.
In God and country,
Rooted in Garbage
April 2, 2021
The new problem, or crisis, with immigrant kids at the border is rooted in the garbage philosophy that we are something that we aren’t. Essentially, it is slavery, with its attendant racism, and our bizarre religious exaggerations that fuel and sustain the problem.
That kids at our border are a major problem for the richest most powerful country in the world should open people’s eyes a tiny bit: It we can’t deal with desperate, unarmed kids who pose no threat whatsoever, how do we deal with real problems?
When the 19th century was closing out and the new slavery called Jim Crow didn’t bring the same level of benefits as the old slavery, we turned to Central America as a possible alternative. Dark-skinned, smaller than us, essentially unarmed and defenseless Central Americans were the almost ideal replacement for slave labor. The two most salient characteristics of Central Americans are that they weren’t inside the U.S. and they were familiar with Christianity.
One might have thought that the Mayan people who inhabited much of Central America had something interesting and humane to offer us. We ignored the land-based communal culture that presented the idea of social responsibility as too barbaric for our Christian capitalist souls. Instead of embracing, we subjugated and battered and hardly anyone in the U.S. knew or would have cared.
More than a century of economic and political violence has spawned brutal and unlivable conditions. Military leaders and paramilitary groups trained as terrorists in the School of the Americas are at the power centers of most of the countries. Life is so difficult and dangerous that many people are willing to make this long and frightening journey to a place that is responsible for their misery. We can’t ever come to terms with this problem until we come to terms with what we have perpetuated.
There is a misguided belief that Democrats are not as bad as the socially retarded cretins in the Republican Party. Not true. There is a blindness, no, not blindness, but an obtuse insistence that what is happening in Central America doesn’t have a “Made in the U.S.A.” stamp on it. Consequently, as with gun issues, nothing gets done and the problems fester and grow. Solutions are impossible without recognition of what’s wrong. It begins with a simple question: Why are they there? What’s the genesis? The history?
We don’t ask these questions because we are uninterested in the answers. We don’t solve the problem because we just want it to go away. Trump was hoping they would die on the road.
Yet, having viable, functioning neighbors in Central America could be a good thing. If we did a mini–Marshall Plan we could create new outlets for our exports and a really good source for trained workers. We could vaccinate the region, before China does, to start the process. Stop selling arms and training paramilitary groups. Invest in public education, health care, and small manufacturing. Treat the populations as real people instead of bothersome slaves.
Do all the things that we are supposed to do as a world leader that not only benefit us but someone else. And solve the problem of the kids at the border for the kids as well as for us.