So Much More
May 3, 2021
To the Editor:
Thank you for the article celebrating the East Hampton High School musical “The Pandemonium Panic of 2021.” Kudos to the talented cast, crew, and dedicated teachers who collaborated to put on a great show. I hope more people will get a chance to see it online.
As we near the school budget vote, please keep in mind all the activities that make a school so much more than just a center for academics. Please support the full range of programs that enhance our students in the arts, leadership and service opportunities, as well as the athletics, which receive most of the attention.
Nurturing our community’s children and preparing well-rounded citizens is among the most important tasks we have as voters.
CHARLOTTE KLEIN SASSO
May 2, 2021
The trustees of the Wainscott School, led by David Egan, are to be commended and thanked for doing such a wonderful job overseeing the Wainscott School District.
Over the years they have spent countless hours on all the work involved in running a small district with complex fiscal issues. Preparing budgets, applying for grants, tracking all students and their classifications, special needs requirements, transportation, and the general operations of building, grounds, and maintenance have been front and center handled expertly by the current trustees.
David, Bill Babinski, and Kelly Anderson have done an amazing job and we are so fortunate to have them. So I encourage all residents to support them and the proposed budget should be approved. With such trusted and thorough oversight, Wainscott students will benefit in the future, as will the taxpayers. Thank you David, Bill, and Kelly for your stewardship!
DOREEN A. NIGGLES
April 30, 2021
To the Editor,
It’s that time of year again when out of town businesses that give nothing back to the community flock to the area to consume resources and cause chaos. Chief among these is the Surf Lodge in Montauk. Word is they are looking for rooms for their staff. We should all just say no! No one should rent rooms or worker housing to them or similar businesses.
Families who live here year round, are raising their children here, and support it all by owning a seasonal business, cannot find rooms or housing for their seasonal workers. Let Surf Lodge and similar business buy a house for their workers with the many millions they make and take out of the community in the three months they are here.
As a community we need to stand together and prioritize the few resources we have, including housing, to support local businesses.
As for the Surf Lodge, it’s hard to believe it is still there: chaos three months of the year and an eyesore the other nine. No property on Fort Pond is a better target for some combination of eminent domain and the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund to purchase, demolish, and return the land to is natural state on Fort Pond. No property on Fort Pond is more damaging to the environment and our quality of life. Simply put, we must make it go away.
Besides denying housing and resources to this and similar operations, we need to make this an issue in the next election. We need to elect officials who care more about our community than out of town businesses and, dare I say, their own pockets. Truly, there is no other explanation for the continued existence of Surf Lodge in its current location. We got rid of Trump; we can get rid of Surf Lodge. Let’s get started. Resist!
April 27, 2021
To the Editor:
Every spring, farm animal sanctuaries receive dozens of phone calls from people who say they can no longer care for their young chicks or ducklings. Most often, the callers first saw the baby animals on the floors of farm supply stores. The babies looked so cute that the people couldn’t resist buying them. But after a few weeks the buyers found the young animals to be more trouble than anticipated. Farm sanctuaries have usually accepted all the chicks and ducklings they can care for, so people often dump them in woods, lakes, or ponds — or just along roadsides.
We know about this problem firsthand because, in addition to our efforts to protect wildlife in East Hampton, we own a farm animal sanctuary upstate. From March through May, we receive an average of two calls a day from people who want us to take their young animals. But we are past our capacity. Sometimes we can help a caller figure out a way to keep the animals. Sometimes, we can find another home. But tragically, we cannot always help.
We wish that farm supply stores would stop displaying chicks and ducklings for sale. The stores must know about the problems they are causing.
Most stores cannot even properly care for the young animals before they sell them. The babies are hatched from fertilized eggs in incubators and placed into artificial brooders. As Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns emphasizes, the chicks and ducklings do not receive the warmth, comfort, and protection a real mother provides. Many babies get sick and die.
We hope stores will stop luring people into purchasing the babies, and, in the meantime, that people will think twice before buying them.
BILL and ELLEN CRAIN
April 30, 2021
To the Editor,
Town board members: You are all working from home; now that our seniors have been vaccinated you should start taking us to medical appointments. We all have the cards showing we were vaccinated, as were our bus drivers. Many seniors cannot pay drivers to get them to the hospital and other medical needs. We need this service now.
May 3, 2021
Mr. Tom MacNiven’s letter regarding the Sag Harbor low-flying plane incident is not an isolated incident. His description leaves nothing to the imagination. That combined with the Sag Harbor residents’ calls to the police department was borderline terror to some who witnessed this and felt fear and near-panic.
This has plagued other areas and my neighborhood for over 30 years. The yearly increase of operations will make matters much worse.
Over the past 32 years, I and many of my neighbors had similar fears. It was the constant daily occurrences of planes turning as close as 50 feet over treetops, hundreds of yards off the actual runway heading. Their so-called “voluntary compliance” was ignored despite the sign “Elevate to 1000 ft. before turning” posted in the terminal.
I have mentioned the branch incident where a plane apparently clipped a tree and it wound up in my pool. Of course a mental giant of the East Hampton Aviation Association waved it off as “that never happened.” I didn’t recall inviting him to my party.
Calls to the then-airport manager were futile; he did nothing. Other incidents were reported to F.A.A. Flight Standards. Nothing was ever done. Was there not a jet incident on the taxiway that slipped off and into the mud? Apparently it went unreported to the F.A.A.
One incident where a World War II trainer plane banked low right over my home. My grandchild ran into the house screaming in fear and for five years refused to come to visit. I reported it to Flight Standards. Never heard anything from them.
Late at night recently, a thundering helicopter shook my house and woke me up. Mr. MacNiven pointed out the potential fire hazard.
I have a newspaper photo of a fuel truck parked on the grass and a helicopter no more than 30 feet away, flying directly over the truck, and the pilot’s face can be seen.
There is the fuel farm a few hundred feet south. Imagine, as Mr. MacNiven mentioned, thousands of acres of tinder-filled woods exposed if a crash should happen. He mentioned the deepest part of the sole-source aquifer lies under the airport. Wainscott residents had been drinking contaminated water. Leaded gasoline is used and pollutes wide areas with their exhausts.
The time is overdue to eliminate a disaster waiting to happen. It is past the time in which the safety of residents should be the only priority. The town government is there to ensure the safety of the residents, not so some moron can buzz homes and towns. Close it as soon as the F.A.A. grant assurances expire this summer.
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
A Peaceful Summer?
East Hampton Village
May 2, 2021
Dear East Hampton Star,
Well, as summer rolls ever closer and tourist season approaches, we are again beset with an overabundance of construction and lawn-care noise. This morning I was woken up by the beeping of heavy equipment at 6:50 a.m. My immediate neighborhood has again turned into a major construction zone, with two houses making major additions. These properties are right next door to each other. One is adding a sunroom and the other is adding a whole new section that looks like it will make a whole new living area.
My parents, whose house I’m lucky enough to live in year round, are out for the weekend. They arrived Thursday, and there has been constant construction and yard noise from 6:30 a.m. to well after 6 p.m. As for me, I’ve been putting up with this for weeks now. If it’s not hammering and the sound of chain saws and wood chippers, there’s the god-awful crashing from the destruction of existing construction. Apart from the noise, there are all the vehicles which park in our limited and very narrow road, making it difficult to get in and out of my driveway.
Those of you who follow my letters may remember that it was only a year ago that my direct next-door neighbor finished a demolition and rebuild of the house on that property which had lasted nearly two years. Prior to that, three other houses very close by had been demolished and rebuilt in succession. Last summer saw the remodeling of one house and the complete construction of a completely new house on virgin ground. One was 5 Egypt Close, which was a house belonging to a relatively close friend of my family, and it was sad to see another of my childhood memories out here be replaced. That was the remodel. The other was the construction of a McMansion on Egypt Lane very close to Egypt Close. These sites were close enough to my home to cause disturbing construction noise and traffic problems.
The point is that Egypt Close has been a permanent construction zone for the past 20 years or so with one or another house being rebuilt, or at least having an addition built. Coupled with the endless noise of lawn and tree-care machinery, the noise ordinances in place have not really made my life any better. In fact, I’ve been diagnosed with a form of P.T.S.D. because of the stress caused by the constant noise of leaf blowers and other equipment. Would it be too much to ask of the village and town to please have a really peaceful summer for once?
I started living out here permanently because the city had too many loud noises. That was 30 years ago when it was relatively peaceful. Now, not a day goes by without some kind of disturbing and seemingly endless noise.
Before I end, there is one other major concern I have about the two projects going on across the circle from me. Egypt Close is a cul-de-sac and we like it that way, since there is very little through traffic, which ought to keep it quiet. But there are a few places where low areas of the road have a tendency to flood when we get substantial rain. In the old days (1968 to the mid-1980s) the problem was severe, and at least once the flooding was bad enough that you could actually swim in the lake it formed. In the 1980s, my parents formed a block association specifically to approach the village to address the problem.
This was instigated by a Village of East Hampton plan to extend Egypt Close to Amy’s Lane and allow construction of a new house on the vacant plot next to mine. We paid for an environmental impact statement, which ultimately showed that the flooding was caused by an excess of runoff not only from the surrounding homes but also in large part from Pantigo Road. The expansion of the road was stopped, and the plot they wanted to build on is now a reserve that can be rented only for the purpose of farming trees. Rhett Landscaping rented it for many years but never actually built on it. A berm was built along Pantigo, which was meant to curb flooding as well.
Then came the construction of a house between us and the highway. The plot on which it was built had long been designated as too small to legally build on, so I’m not sure what happened there. What I do know is that this plot had not been touched in over 150 years and was part of our flood control (though not part of the final settlement legally since it was assumed it was never going to be built on). With the loss of a lot of trees and water-absorbing undergrowth, the flooding began again.
The village eventually put in two dry wells, which had little effect. By this time the two houses down the road were being built and the flooding was nearly as bad as before. The only real difference is that climate change has lessened the amount of rain we get so it looks like the flood control was more effective than it actually was. And with all the new houses being McMansions, footprints have expanded and the owners have done extensive paving. They may have put in dry wells but the road has still been flooding regularly. It takes substantial rain but we get enough at least once a month in spring and summer.
With these two new expansions, even with added dry wells, the flooding will be worse, or at least more frequent. The reason is that the dip in the road is so close to the water table that it’s affected by the tides. Heavy rain at high tide will almost certainly cause at least a minor flood. This may not only be too deep to drive through but it could conceivably flood nearby basements.
When we took the village to court, I was given to understand that they would not allow the footprints of any of the existing houses to be expanded. From what I can see, this has not been adhered to, and the consequence is that we all have to put up with the flooding. Personally, I can cope with it. I just hope my neighbors understand the consequences of what they are doing/have done. I don’t think they do and they couldn’t care less.
As always, thanks for reading.
Nothing Is Free
May 3, 2021
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. I’m not rich. I’m considered middle class, soon to no longer exist. My husband and I worked hard all our adult lives in order to put our children through college. You want to give free college, among plenty of other free things? Nothing is free. Will we be reimbursed for what we paid for our children’s college education? You plan to tax and regulate the citizens, please stop lying, you will tax everyone.
The teachers union seems to be in charge of you and the C.D.C. Schools must be open now. Rumors are maybe they won’t open in the fall. Teachers still getting their salaries and some refusing, even after getting vaccinated, to return to the classroom. Stop their paychecks if they refuse.
Packing the Supreme Court defies the Constitution: The text of the U.S. Constitution states that Congress simply doesn’t have the power to pack the high court. F.Y.I. Trump did not pack the court, he filled empty seats.
In God and country,
May 2, 2021
To the Editor,
I thought Biden’s speech on Thursday night was completely irrelevant except to remind everyone how low the bar has been set. After Trump’s four babbling sessions there’s nothing left to say. If Biden doesn’t lie and bullshit repeatedly he will have raised the bar.
The Republican respondent to Biden, Tim Scott, seemed more like a guy suffering from premature ejaculation talking about his sexual exploits. Too little, too soon, too lame.
Yet some Biden detractors attack him relentlessly while having been mute for four years. They may not be entirely wrong but then who is? Biden, however, has grasped something that no one else seems to have figured out. It was like he woke up from a 20-year-nap and said, “What the hell?”
Since Clinton sold out to Wall Street there has been virtually no investment in the bottom 75 percent of America. Schools, infrastructure, education, industry, and human capital: zero. Nada. Almost every dollar spent and earned was for the benefit of a small part of the population. For most of the country their net worth declined and their debt increased.
The “Rape of the Sabines” is a Roman tale of the abduction of a group of women in order to increase procreation in their cities. The shortage of women forced the Romans to abduct women from other places in order to sustain and grow their power.
Over the last three decades the American experience has been quite similar, according to every major calculation, governmental and private. Rape in the current context translates to “ripped off” or “screwed.”
What was good became mediocre, and what was mediocre turned to crap. Ignorance and identity politics obfuscated the process. Five out of 10 Americans don’t know who fought in the Civil War. Job security was a nonsubject. Wages, benefits, and working conditions were in free fall. More bridges, tunnels, and roads received negative grades than positive. Good jobs left the country and were replaced by crappy ones. Most Americans were in worse shape today than in 1990.
Ignorance replaced knowledge as the MAGA phenomena took hold, i.e., Anglo-Saxon values. (Where are the Irish when we need them most to tell the story of how the English tried to starve then to death in the late 1840s? Genocide by starvation. And amazingly, the Irish were white Christians.) The best of Anglo-Saxon values without racism.
The number zero is always a negative when calculating progress, but zero is an upgrade when talking about the past 30 years. Real incomes declined, education went negative, life expectancy went down, pain increased. We reinvented the concept of blood sucking and turned it into a national pastime. We redesigned drug addiction and privatized prisons to make them profitable. We created wars and refused to end them because they never should have happened in the first place. We privatized the military to limit the wars’ impact on the American people, so it didn’t matter how long they lasted.
Then, in an amazing moment of clairvoyance and conscience, Sleepy Joe awoke from his nap, coma, deep sleep, and said “Enough!” With every Republican and half the Democrats having been part of the historical debacle, (Joe included), he sat down with Sanders and Warren and decided to go for it.