August 10, 2021
To the Editor,
As we ply along through August, our summer season appears to be busier than ever. One cannot walk through East Hampton Village and not notice an atmosphere of revelry and hope. For over 100 years, the Main Beach fireworks show has been a true staple of summer in East Hampton, and for over 80 years, the East Hampton Fire Department has been the proud steward of this show.
Originally hosted on the Fourth of July by our veterans after World War I, the fireworks show was the culmination of events in the village that included baseball games and dances and would draw crowds from near and far. Local merchants stepped in to help run the show as it increased in scope, led by Felix Dominy, a successful Main Street merchant and arguably the most revered chief of the East Hampton Fire Department. Chief Dominy soon enlisted the Fire Department to manage the show, which has been held annually at Main Beach, save for a few years when it was held over the bay.
This show is made possible solely by the generosity of donations from the public and is free for all to attend. Although fog plagued the 2019 show, and Covid kept us at bay in 2020, we’re excitedly optimistic about our return to the beach. This year’s display will be bigger than before and much more eco-friendly. The show will again return to its origins and serve as the ending to a day of fun and activities in our beautiful village such as the Artists and Writers softball game in Herrick Park. There will be live music at the venerable Main Beach Pavilion, as well as good food and a few other great surprises to the evening as made possible by our faithful supporters and benefactors.
So please bring your family and friends and join us on Saturday night (rain date of Sunday) for an evening of pure small-town Americana. The show will start after dark.
GERARD TURZA JR. Chief
East Hampton Fire Department
August 15, 2021
To the Editor,
My fellow readers find many issues that are complaint-worthy, but I would like to express my thanks to the village for the hanging baskets of colorful flowers that adorn Main Street and Newtown Lane this summer. These blooms add a welcoming feeling as we enter the village. To those responsible, thank you!
August 13, 2021
Thank you for the mention of my reading at the East Hampton Library next Thursday as part of Authors Talks. I really do appreciate it. I don’t really feel my novel is semi-autobiographical, David. Here’s that definition: “Semi-Autobiographical Fiction (SAF), also known as roman a clef, is any work of fiction wherein the central elements of both the narrator and the plot are based on the author themselves.” I suppose the topic, and definition, will come up in this week’s talk and in other “appearances.” We’ll see how it goes.
The details you add regarding local events and world news are great, and the facts you add about my background and memoir add a lot. This will all add to my talk and to the Q.-and-A., for sure!
On Aug. 29 at 3 p.m., I’ll be doing an author talk (live, no Zoom) at the Romany Kramoris Gallery in Sag Harbor. My novel takes place during one week — the Monday before Labor Day, 2008, through the following Monday, Labor Day. So — perfect timing, I feel.
Many thanks again. I read the entire Star every week and have since 1975.
With all best wishes,
Lack of Foresight
August 16, 2021
To the Editor:
I could not agree more with Richard Zimmerman’s letter dated 8/12/2021 that development in East Hampton Town is way beyond the point of no return. I can remember when upzoning was discussed in the 1980s and 1990s, but the fear of lawsuits and deep pockets panicked our locally elected and appointed officials.
Just think how beautiful the East End would have been if all those one-acre plots were upzoned to two acres and two to four acres, and so on. The Community Preservation Fund could have been used to buy all those lots that were considered unbuildable. With fewer McMansions, the trade parade and traffic would have been reduced. The lack of foresight by officials and residents was and is tragic. In 1983, Paul Goldberger nailed it with his article “The Strangling of a Resort.”
Party in the U.S.A.
August 10, 2021
To the Editor,
At the Aug. 3 East Hampton Town Board work session, board members had some discussion about special events permits over all, and specifically in relation to a very large (up to 500 people?) and rather elaborate party — complete with marching band, mermaids, and a million-dollar set performed by mega pop star Miley Cyrus — that had been permitted by the town to take place over the prior weekend in Amagansett.
The board acknowledged that four complaints about the party were received and responded to by the town police over the course of the evening between 5 and 11 p.m. I’d note, I live several miles away from that homeowner’s property, and I could hear the party that night until nearly 11:30 (though I was not one of those four complaints). But my comments here are not about this one event in particular.
I’m going to venture that for every four people who actually pick up the phone to register a complaint with code enforcement or the police about events like these, there are four more, or 40 more, or even 400 more, people who have been disturbed in some material way by those events, be it by not being able to enjoy their own property in peace, being subjected to the incessant thumping of amplified music and forced to listen to loud voices and shouting for hours, or having their sleep disturbed. We know that many people who are disturbed by these special events and other loud parties don’t report it for many reasons, often because they feel they don’t want to bother our hard-working police who are quite stretched on a summer Friday or Saturday night, or they are afraid or feel “icky” about “telling on” others.
I understand that the enforcement standard when complaints are received has always been “get out the decibel meter” and see if there is a code violation, but could it be time for the town to rethink that standard and think about overall disturbance levels? Disturbance is a true quality of life issue, and it is more than just a decibel level at the particular moment the police or code enforcement might arrive on the scene. It is the intensity and the persistence of noise and activity over many hours, plus traffic blocking roads and illegal parking, plus scores of rowdy and inebriated partygoers spilling into residential neighborhoods creating hazards when they walk away or drive away from a party, plus the frequency with which these events take place, which in the summer season can be a few days/nights every single week.
Meanwhile, development and density continue to surge unabated in the town, with ever more properties built upon or redeveloped with the construction of ever larger houses with ever greater occupancy.
Unless and until something changes materially at the airport, property owners as well as masses of guests and visitors from all over can jet in and out of East Hampton unrestricted on a whim. As we see so often in the news and social media and in our own day-to-day experiences, many in our society appear to be losing respect for their surroundings and any true sense of responsibility to others and their communities, focusing only on their own personal desires and what they proclaim to be their individual rights. And wealth continues to multiply and concentrate. All of which means that over the coming years, quite likely we will see more and more special event permit requests for larger and more extravagant parties with greater frequency that will have more intense impact on neighbors close by and other community members at a distance.
In my opinion, the disturbance problem cannot be solved solely via enforcement or with the wave of the decibel meter, especially when 100 or 500 people are already at a party in full swing. And especially, when we know that our oversight and enforcement resources — police, ordinance enforcement, Marine Patrol, etc. — are strained beyond their head-count capacity to keep up with current rates and types of activity in our town.
Given the tidal wave of real estate development and population growth that has swept over East Hampton in the last decade and looks to be escalating unabated, critical town resources appear now to be underscaled to keep up with needs, putting citizens’ peace of mind and even safety potentially in jeopardy.
Just last week alone, on Tuesday, we heard a town board member acknowledge there are not enough Marine Patrol resources to go around to deal with beach fires, disorderly behavior, or litter and trash on our beaches. Then on Wednesday, a town planning board member at its meeting posited that code enforcement capacity cannot keep up with the growing number of issues. And on Monday of this week, we heard our police chief speak at our Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee meeting and provide details about how the collision of current staffing shortfalls on the force with an explosion of challenging behaviors and activities all around our hamlets has left them barely able to keep up with responding to the problems and complaints this summer, let alone being proactive in their police work.
Yet, the party rages on.
I know that this year the town was justifiably eager to see event planning and catering businesses do well and recoup last season’s losses, and so I imagine the special events committee might have been hesitant to create too many obstacles. And beyond the pandemic, we know our local catering and party and event planning businesses are important to our town economy and those who own and work in them. There are many of our local residents who count on the added income from catering work to be able to afford living here.
But these events can get overwhelming and do, along with other material issues, create a real challenge to quality of life. So, perhaps it is time to reset the balance.
We only have another four weeks or so left in the season. I would respectfully ask the town board and the members of the special events committee that after this season wraps, they take another look with fresh eyes at the special events code and permitting process over all and deliberate on some of the hard questions:
Should these big events be more limited or restricted in terms of frequency, scale, scope, duration, and location? Are extensive and exclusive lavish catered dinner parties on our public beaches truly consistent with the spirit of egalitarian access and the right to peaceful and passive enjoyment of our most cherished and important natural resources? How can the special events permitting process be better tracked, documented, and made more transparent to our residents?
Rather than considering events in a one-off way, should the committee take a more comprehensive view across the season? Should there be a “one-strike rule,” where individuals who violate terms of a permit and hold events that cause unduly large disturbances be denied future permits? Should very large “special events” be permitted at all in some or all of our residential neighborhoods?
To appropriate the immortal words of the Beastie Boys: We’ve got to fight, for the right, not to hear these parties.
A Ride Home
East Hampton Village
August 16, 2021
To the Editor,
On the evening of Aug. 10, the police shut down a teenage party on Timber Trail in Amagansett. The teens were not hurting anyone; they were in no danger, they were possibly drinking some alcohol. The police forced approximately 200 teens to simultaneously vacate the house where the party was being held out onto the unlit, unpaved roads of Amagansett. Most of the teens at the party did not have cars there and were now left all at the same time to try to find Ubers or reach parents for a ride home.
As most of us, including the police, know well, phone reception is extremely patchy in quiet parts of Amagansett. The teens were thrust out of a house where they were safe and were left with no choice but to walk en masse on the grass down the dark roads with no lights, trying to get some reception to ask someone to take them home safely. Most didn’t even know the names of the roads they were on.
The police gave no thought at all as to how all these children would get home, no thought to protecting the teens on a dark, windy road with no sidewalks, where, late at night, cars often pick up speed. The subsequent tragedy that ended the life of an 18-year-old was completely avoidable had the police thought about the safety of those children.
Devesh Samtani was one of the many teens forced to leave the party. He was walking on the grass when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Old Stone Highway and left brain-dead. His life support has now been switched off.
He was walking on the side of the road in a tight-knit group because he had no choice (there are no sidewalks), and it is only fortunate more children were not hit by this or another driver. Many dozens of teens were left emotionally traumatized by seeing their friend tossed into the air and so badly hurt. Many lives will never be the same all because the police didn’t stop to think about protecting those children but, knee-jerk, shut down their party and forced them out of a safe place.
This sunny, bright morning on a wide street with sidewalks in East Hampton I noticed a police car there to protect church parishioners. I can only ask why there was not similarly a police car to protect so many children on a dark, narrow, wind-y street late at night? Why no thought to their safety when they were left with no means to get off that dangerous road? The police put them into that situation and abandoned them.
I believe there needs to be an immediate review of police policy that forces teens out of the safety of a house late at night and places them into a dangerous, potentially deadly situation with no subsequent thought to their safety. Teens will continue to host and gather at house parties — that will not change — and it is unlikely phone reception in many parts of the Hamptons will improve any time soon. I can only hope this tragic situation will never be repeated. I ask all parents and concerned residents to help me try to change police policy.
Disaster in the Making
August 16, 2021
I hope all is well on board. Looks like we have a couple of big issues on the horizon, both quagmires of local government. first and foremost is the planned 50 apartments on Three Mile Harbor Road. You don’t need any special degree to realize that this is a planning and environmental disaster in the making.
As you may know, traffic on Three Mile Harbor Road is as unbearable as it is and due to the poor planning on North Main Street. Traffic is sometimes backed up to Oakview Highway; add 200 extra cars, school buses, trucks, etc., and the picture is bleak and dismal. Plus, adding the fact that the Soak Hides dreen is about one-tenth of a mile from the site only adds to the pollution of Three Mile Harbor. Soak Hides dreen also works its way to Hook Pond. And please don’t think “upgraded septic”; it still goes into the ground. What about road runoff from the proposed parking — storm drains filled with runoff from the asphalt surface, oil, antifreeze, and the like, also the major loss of vegetation and natural habitat. And again, our town board promises to save the environment and give us clean water. Mary Waserstein is correct “that the board has no interest in hearing how the residents feel.”
Next on tap is the Toilsome Lane brewery: nice idea, bad place. The increased traffic will make Toilsome Lane unbearable. Mr. Caruso obviously doesn’t live here or he would see the parking problems at Fresno. But wow, we do have 53 parking places with a 140-seat area in summer. I see Cyril’s on Napeague all over again. And special events! Wait for the noise of live bands. I can envision cars parked up and down Toilsome Lane. Oh, I forgot the traffic circle on route 114: Think it will back up?
The folks along Toilsome Lane and the neighboring areas better get involved before the Big Three (Larsen, Minardi, and Melendez) push it through like a letter into a mailbox. One oddity that always escapes me is that there are never any local officials who live around these quagmires.
As always, best regards.
Yours to command,
East Hampton Village
August 10, 2021
Growing up on Toilsome Lane in the 1970s and 1980s, I thought nothing of riding my 10-speed bicycle up and down the street, navigating the “Five Corners” and even crossing Montauk Highway without fear of losing life and/or limb. There may have been a few close calls, but really there were few cars driving along the lane.
Summer back then meant open windows, outdoor play, and maybe even a few games of chicken in the street. The good old days. Enter Mad Max summer 2021. Today I navigate a parade of semi-tractor-trailer trucks, clanking landscaper freights, speeding motocross, and cute but deadly race cars itching for a straight path to Route 27 or Main Street. And this is merely trying to leave my driveway in an airbag-protected vehicle. My bicycle sits gathering dust as it seems a guarantee I would lose life and/or limb pedaling along Toilsome.
Toilsome Lane is now the bypass that wasn’t built and looking back, should have been. We no longer open the windows anymore either; it’s the only way to have a normal level conversation. So, I can’t help but find it laughable and amusing that the proposed Toilsome Lane Beer Garden Brewery and Restaurant was presented as a year-round, super-cool improvement to the community. It will offer such amenities as two-story dining, an outdoor drinking area, a brewery, tasting rooms, and will be allowed to host special events like weddings, concerts, etc.
Sure, everyone likes to have a good time — especially in the summer. There was nothing like a late afternoon BBC at Cyril’s — though we often left at dusk. Walking along the Napeague stretch always felt risky after the sun went down — particularly as the crowds grew to dangerous levels, and one ill-timed bob and weave onto Route 27 could have tragic consequences. And of course, I remember the outdoor concerts, Back at the Ranch in Montauk, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Southampton College, Yellowman at the Talkhouse. Long before Covid, I didn’t mind standing shoulder to shoulder with strangers while the music played on. The best part of the Talkhouse, hands-down though, was the outdoor area. It was a slice of heaven after the smoky, crowded bar. It was a place to hang out well into the early hours of the morning. Such fun memories! I imagine the new Toilsome beer garden will provide similar respite.
This will surely be an interesting mix of Cyril’s (outdoor drinking!), Surf Lodge (inebriated people walking along a busy road!), Crow’s Nest (lines of traffic!), and Memory Motel (outdoor brawls!). But what to do with the pesky overflow? No doubt, the village streets will need to absorb the run-off traffic and parking, as well as the crowds of people walking through the neighborhood and all that that entails. Just ask the residents of Montauk how well that’s working out for them.
True, I have one foot clearly cemented in middle age and it’s easy to ride the nostalgia train of yesterday. But let’s be honest, a party hall is only advantageous to the owners and a paying audience of a certain age (I’m no longer in it) who won’t mind a blistering hangover the day after. I can think of a dozen other proposals that would benefit a residential neighborhood. Peace and quiet would no doubt be at the top of my list.
DIANA DAYTON DEICHERT
There Are Questions
August 14, 2021
As someone who lives on Route 114 and will be impacted by this business, I would like to hear more details of the project. We live with businesses around us, so that is not the problem.
Realizing it may be “as of right,” I do think that we should have been given notice of this proposal, as stated in the code. We did not know and missed the design review board meeting that had this proposal on the agenda, and the next meeting, Tuesday, was canceled.
As I understand it, the design review board and the East Hampton Village Planning Board will merge beginning in September with seven members. Do the rules for each entity still apply or are there to be changes? How will this particular proposal be addressed? What role will the Building Department play? Who calendars the meetings and where?
There are questions that have not been answered about this proposal, such as lighting, crowd capacity, hours of operation, the hazardous curve at the entrance, use of water — and no environmental impact statement about the traffic and parking this business will have on the surrounding neighborhood, which is mostly residential. There is also a concern about the train tracks of the Long Island Rail Road and people wandering onto the tracks.
Being a good neighbor helps everyone. I do hope that we will be notified of future meetings where information is given so that we can all live together.
JANE R. CROTTY
East Hampton Village
August 14, 2021
To the Editor:
My home is adjacent to the proposed 17 Toilsome Lane brewery, restaurant, and beer garden that is applying to the Village of East Hampton for approval.
The brewery could have seating for 140 people, outdoor music and concerts with a much greater indoor capacity that could be over 200 people, and an unlimited outdoor capacity that could add several hundred additional patrons.
The brewery not only threatens the quiet of the surrounding residential neighborhood but there is a life-threatening problem since the entrance is located next to a blind corner where Toilsome and Gingerbread Lanes meet.
It takes only four or five seconds for a car rounding the corner from Gingerbread to reach someone attempting to make a left turn into the beer hall when approaching from the direction of the rotary. Similarly, it only takes seven seconds when cars are exiting next to my property on 19 Toilsome Lane. I know because I timed it myself.
If this beer hall should become popular, it could attract hundreds of partygoers on busy weekends. Since Toilsome Lane has only two lanes, traffic could easily be backed up to Railroad Avenue and even to the rotary on Route 114. And let’s not forget that blind corner!
In summary, I have nothing against this project as long as the total capacity is limited to 50 people and outdoor music is prohibited.
August 16, 2021
After several early morning dealings with downtown Montauk and the beaches, I think we should change Montauk’s moniker from “the fishing capital of the world,” to “the garbage capital of the world.”
Level of Service
August 10, 2021
We know cellphone service is problematic. Internet is awful, too. It is about time Optimum delivers the level of internet service being paid for by customers.
After we went through multiple upgrades to gigabit speed, with new routers, replacement of interior and exterior wiring, the level of service is still not being delivered at the speed purchased.
There is power in numbers. So the time has come to file a complaint with the New York attorney general’s Bureau of Internet and Technology. Here is what you need to do to back up your claim: First, open a free account with a speed-test service, log in, and routinely check the internet speed being delivered. Second, after a few weeks, download a log file of the speed tests and include it with the complaint form. Finally, there is power in competition: Call VerizonFiOS at 1-800-VERIZON and ask to be put on the notification list for FiOS. Or go to its website and sign up on the waiting list. If enough people do this, the prospects of getting competition out here will improve.
August 16, 2021
Every Major League player will tell you that he owes his career to Little League. To displace Little League players for a medical center that is already too small for the community and has more red flags than a soccer match (Manchester United LOL) is a crime.
You are right. Charlie is right. George is right. Leave the Little League players where they are and move the medical center to the other side of town, where a proper building with room to expand can be built.
Yours in good sport,
CAPT. HARVEY L. BENNETT
Location Is Everything
August 8, 2021
Let’s talk hypothetically for just a bit. As you may know, the Springs school has just built the most lovely recreation park for its students behind the school right in the center of Springs.
How many of the nearly 800 students will use that park in the coming years not only for organized school sports and gym class but for just lying around on, reading a book, playing with friends, eating lunch, taking a nap, celebrating graduation, gathering with friends and family, you know, all the things young people do in parks? Most probably, the entire student body will at some time enjoy the park, and I am not counting other community activities that may be permitted there.
But let’s just imagine that, for some inexplicable reason, the Springs School had decided to build the new park in Wainscott instead. How many of that same student body would then make use of that park? Other than the schools sporting teams bused to the site, I suspect very few. It is just not the same.
Location changes everything — and especially at that isolated recreational dumping ground. It’s not central to any part of town or near any user group that I know of. And we know what is important when it comes to any real estate in this town, public or private: location, location, location.
Would Herrick Park with its multitude of users, young and old, from both East Hampton Middle School and the surrounding community be as popular if it were moved to Stephen Hand’s Path? No way!
Where parks are located in relation to the community’s user groups is the whole shebang. Location is critical. So why is this town board sending the Little League to Stephen Hand’s Path? That “park” is nowhere near where it needs to be.
All the users are on the other side of town in Springs, Amagansett, Montauk, and they are not just little leaguers. Many of us enjoy parks and for many different reasons and activities.
There are countless others who may desire to use the baseball fields and the inviting surroundings for play with their children, families, and friends flying a kite, throwing a ball, running, playing, laughing, and reveling in the outdoors just as they do every nice day at Herrick Park in East Hampton.
Herrick has been fostering a sense of community for children and families for over 70 years. It is an iconic village park, just as Mashashimuet Park is in Sag Harbor. And who in Sag Harbor would ever dream of relocating that remarkable landmark park out of town, let’s say, to near the East Hampton airport? Huh? Are you nuts?!
So why are we tolerating this town board’s attempt to move our parks and recreation to a remote location far from the people who wish to use them — to beside East Hampton Airport. It defies common sense.
Now we have the opportunity to bring parks to where they belong, as the Springs School’s glowing example shows.
It’s time to bring the parks to the people.
In the Shadow
August 10, 2021
At the work session of today’s town board meeting we heard from most everyone about insufficient cellphone coverage here in Springs. No one can dispute the need of that service. We are all aware of the dangers that can arise from no phone coverage in cases of emergencies.
We here in The Pit just do not want the health dangers that can potentially arise from living in the shadow of a cell tower. We do not want a highly utilized recreation area to be taken away from the children. We do not want the 6.9 acres taken away from the existing wildlife we have here. We do not want what is the epicenter of our community to be paved, fenced, and regulated. Who would want these things taken away from their families?
I would like to thank the board for reconsidering their previous positions of sure-mindedness to that of reconsidering and working toward an alternative site outside of a residential area.
August 16, 2021
We are seeing the dangerous consequences of grievance politics unfold in real time as America enters a fourth surge of Covid-19 cases. The current explosion of cases of the Delta variant is a direct result of the politicization of vaccinations and masks to the awful point where our country is unable to unite behind science and data to save lives. Grievance politics relies on creating victims and villains. It is manipulative and opportunistic and succeeds by inciting anger and placing blame. But it doesn’t provide real solutions to actual problems because it is usually performative and self-serving and is always destructive. Sadly, our town is not immune to the poison of grievance politics. It has been very disheartening to see a local politician, a member of my own party, engaging in a campaign of grievance and anger politics ahead of the general election on Nov. 2.
For many months, Councilman Jeff Bragman has used public town board work sessions as his bully pulpit, carefully crafting the narrative that Peter Van Scoyoc is a villain, that our local town board cannot be trusted, and that he alone can magically return East Hampton to simpler days of the past. Mr. Bragman has repeatedly used local hot-button issues as opportunities to publicly criticize and attack Supervisor Van Scoyoc and his colleagues on the town board. This was evidenced most recently at the public portions of the town board work sessions dedicated to the proposed emergency communications cell tower in Springs.
Members of the public are understandably concerned about a cell tower going up in their neighborhood, and tensions have been running high at these meetings. It was very disappointing to watch Mr. Bragman repeatedly make inflammatory statements that fanned the flames of anger after Supervisor Van Scoyoc had just tried to lower the temperature of the room by speaking calmly, rationally, and compassionately to the public. The two styles of leadership on display could not have been more different. Supervisor Van Scoyoc tried to unite people by providing facts and appealing to a sense of civility and community, while Mr. Bragman worked to divide people by inciting distrust and anger through criticism and finger-pointing. I truly hope that the voters of East Hampton reject grievance politics when they go to the polls on Nov. 2 and in doing so, send a message that our community is done being angry and divided. We face difficult challenges ahead and we can accomplish so much more if we work together.
East Hampton Town
August 16, 2021
To the Editor,
David Lys should be commended for bringing up changing the town code on geocubes on Aug. 10, though it is very interesting it’s finally coming to the board’s eye on a day another one of these projects was going to be going before the zoning board of appeals that night, another neglected piece of the puzzle in our town. It certainly wasn’t the first time cubes were brought up.
Geocubes have been brought up for years, especially since 2018. Then again, the councilman would have to pick up a phone or return an email, not something he’s ever done, like most board members, in certain situations. Even The Daily Mail covered a road being blocked in our town in June of 2019.
As a former historian, there’s another problem here: citing source material, another missing factor in our current administration; 2019 dealt with months of meetings in front of the zoning board of appeals about a road that was blocked and the destructive nature of geocubes, even an appearance by Ann Glennon at the November 2019 meeting, her first, but not last letter to open the road.
In July of 2020, Nancy-Lynn Thiele, assistant town attorney, had stated on the phone no site remediation bonds were going to be set for a home going before the zoning board of appeals on Mulford Lane. July 2020, an opinion was written and submitted; several government officials were on that email. David Lys was one of them. David Lys did what he does best: He remained silent until he can act like he does something.
A point in that opinion was no bonds for this project or projects on the road next to them, that road has been blocked since 2018. Silence again from our town board and councilman. As numerous meetings continued with the Z.B.A. into 2021, a voice once again rang out talking of a blocked road in February 2021, reminding the members of the Z.B.A. as they looked for an answer to the next project.
The words you are looking for are site remediation bonds, reminding them time and time again with these bonds; when people look to memorialize these structures, you now have a way to remove them.
On May 11 the Z.B.A. adopted what a member of the public had asked for. They remembered and brought it up, a site remediation bond as a requirement. It was then added by Ms. Thiele that hardening structures like geocubes would now require this bond as well. May 11, not Aug. 10. Aug. 10 was the day your town board just magically learned a road was blocked.
Eight years no senior center. Six years no tower turned on in Springs. Four years a road blocked. Two years sitting on hands. Nov. 2: a time to make a change.
This is written from firsthand knowledge. The trail is open for viewing. Site remediation bonds are signature legislation without being in office. May 11 will always be a victory day for this community, for environmentalists, for nature, for advocates anywhere and everywhere.
The tides are changing. Walles, Aman, Karpinski: We are the community.
Republican and Conservative
East Hampton Town Board
Destroying the Land
August 10, 2021
Sometimes the invasion comes from afar, but oftentimes, we need look no farther than our own backyard. Why are people (men mostly, let’s face it) destroying the very land and water that basically gave them their lives? How do they sleep at night when they are actively, purposefully, disregarding every environ-mental and neighborly decency known to mankind? They deforest a natural setting, dig into the aquifer, and mine and mine mindlessly, for their richie-rich sand to sell, to throw on a beach in Montauk, for instance. This is not okay.
It’s beyond a travesty that this goes on in East Hampton every day. When does this guy get stopped — when the water is poisoned? Wake up! Make these people accountable who thumb their fat cat noses at the rest of us, doing as they please. No regulations for them? Local fishermen get regulated, but not these sand-mine owners. They do as they please and apparently don’t give a good goddamn about our water or quality of life. Selfish to the hilt, counting their bags of money.
Is there karma, as some believe is coming? But by then will the aquifer be compromised? When a dicey, inept Long Island Supreme Court judge in Islip, goes against precedent and rules in favor of money and mining and not saving our aquifer, there’s no hope for our town if we allow this. Let’s take our power back! Stop the sand mine at Middle Highway before it’s too late. The enemy isn’t at the door, he lives here.
August 16, 2021
It seems that Mr. “Drowned Out,” who supposedly lives under a flight path, makes me wonder if Is he a pilot or associated with them? It is a mirage, looking at the parked mini-La Guardia jets, that take off with no thunderous roar or are the helicopters wind-up plastic toys, driven by hamsters in a wheel cage? Does he walk around with ear buds or wear industrial earmuffs?
He is dismissive and mocks those thousands of residents who are impacted with this disaster waiting to happen during decades of danger and disruption of some measure of the tranquility of daily living. Just because the so-called elite couldn’t care less about the residents, due to their own vanity.
So, I must ask, does he live under the flight path of the monarch butterfly or in a Cold War bunker?
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
August 9, 2021
If ever there was a clarion call to close KHTO, the just-released United Nations climate report on global warming is it. I hope the East Hampton Town Board is listening.
There can be no clearer message than that the climate crisis can only be addressed by changing human behavior. Noise, air and soil pollution, quality of life, drinking water supplies, safety, and property values are all crucial considerations. But the existential threat of climate change should be all you need to decide to repurpose the airport property. The sooner the better.
August 15, 2021
I wrote my first letter urging action on climate change 11 years ago. That does not make me a pioneer; James Hansen laid it all out for Congress in 1988. Worse, as chronicled in the book “Losing Earth” by Nathaniel Rich, scientists knew almost everything we now know about climate change in 1979. There were major behind-the-scenes convocations of scientists and politicians during the Carter administration to urge action to curtail use of fossil fuels. In the 42 years hence, humanity, nowhere more than in the U.S.A., and in the U.S.A., nowhere more than the Hamptons, has only accelerated its mindless march to climate catastrophe. Forgive me if I lose heart and conclude that humans, as a species, are apes in pants who are incapable of the long view. With a minority of exceptions, we each on our respective economic levels focus our tunnel vision on keeping what we have and getting more of it, consequences be damned.
On a curve where I can see the cars ahead on me, I sometimes count 10 massive S.U.V.s and trucks before I see an efficient car. This isn’t all rich folks from south of the highway. It is us. That said, it is also true that the rich bear an outsize share of the blame. First, because of their outrageous carbon footprints, and second, because they could be speaking for change in the only language spoken in Washington D.C.: the language of money.
Nowhere do they speak louder than at East Hampton Airport. The private jets clustered there like a flock of steel geese, just as the opposition to a buried cable in Sagaponack that would deliver more clean power than our town uses is saying to us, “Keep your lousy hands off our privilege. Others may suffer, but we are untouchable.” Like Branson and Bezos, the hobbyist astronauts, the aging-billionaire version of the spoiled teenager with a Corvette, so much financial power, so little interest in the connection between their lifestyle and our age of drought and fire and flood. They call news conferences when they throw a token few million into the environmental pot for public relations purposes, then burn up billions on a buffoonish joyride in space. Yahooo! Look-a-me! I’m a spaceman!
Maybe if we close the airport, it will open some powerful minds to the idea that they can’t keep living this way just because they have the money to do so. Maybe they will divert their money away from puppet politicians like Lee Zeldin, who has never seen a climate friendly bill that could earn his vote, and is asking to be our governor. Some suggest the rich will desert East Hampton if their airlift is stopped. Oh well. We could chop up the mansions into affordable apartments. We’d lose a few boutiques to buy thousand-dollar handbags, rents on Newtown would cater, and we might get a shop where you could buy a needle and thread. Two birds, one stone.
Energize East Hampton
August 14, 2021
Thank you for including in your Aug. 12 editorial a reference to a new report from the United Nations Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change calling for urgent action. In 2014, the East Hampton Town government provided residents an opportunity to personally do something about climate change by reducing a dependence on the use of fossil fuels. East Hampton town set 100 percent renewable energy goals. To promote this town initiative, the energy sustainability committee was appointed to review and advise the town board on promoting energy efficiency and environmental sustainability opportunities. Your readers can learn more about the Energize East Hampton initiative for saving energy and money from the East Hampton Star ad on page A6, and at EnergizeEH.org.
Should Be Canceled
August 13, 2021
To the Editor,
Despite last week’s editorial supporting Deepwater South Fork Wind Farm, there are many good reasons why this offshore wind project should be canceled.
This is a project that was approved of mistakenly by LIPA five and a half years ago that was not ready to be built in any reasonable time frame. It is still years away from even being started. The New York Times recently pointed out that the type of boat needed to install such a project has only just been commissioned and won’t be completed for almost two more years! If this is supposed to be an example of how to fight climate change, it is just one of the many reasons why we are losing that battle, given time is of the essence.
The location chosen for this project was probably the worst one possible out of the almost-1,000 square miles of federal waters that were available for bid? It is only going to be about 12 square miles, but they chose to put it right on top of one of the best fishing areas in the entire Northeast?
This project is grossly overpriced. LIPA did such a terrible job with Deepwater in 2016 that the state took over the responsibility for all future offshore proposal bids and the price to rate payers fell by roughly 65 percent within two and a half years. Deepwater/South Fork Wind, which was upgraded from the original 90 megawatts to 130 megawatts several years later (without a rebid as most requests for proposals would have to be?) will account for only about 3 percent of the total 4 gigawatts of offshore wind that are now approved of off the coast of Long Island. At this point, almost all these projects will start to be built around the same time. Thus when people speak about the need for this project to combat climate change, it would seem to be irrelevant.
More important, LIPA misled rate payers when it said Deepwater was supposedly chosen because it was one of the best projects in terms of price versus other alternatives at the time. They had to be sued to finally release the cost information several years after it was first approved. They originally said it was going to cost 16 cents per kilowatt hour. It turned out the real price was going to average almost 30 cents with built-in price increases for the first 20 years for the original 90 megawatts.
At the exact same time, LIPA had rejected a proposed 37-megawatt solar project located at East Hampton Airport that was approved of by the town and was scheduled to have been completed by the end of 2016. The cost of that power was going to be 17 cents per kilowatt hour fixed over its 20-year proposed life. It would have been producing power for years now to help solve the main grid pocket problem in our area that caused the original R.F.P. to be put out.
Also, solar is a much better fit to solve our local problems as it has peak production in the summer when our demand also increases dramatically, as opposed to offshore wind that can sometimes produce no power for days at that time of year.
The exact numbers for Deepwater/South Fork Wind were that was going to charge rate payers an extra $800 million over 20 years as compared to the next project approved: Sunrise. Moreover, it also needed another $600 million in grid upgrades before completion in order to send the excess power generated in the winter back to the central grid hub. This cost was never even factored into its original proposal?
This $600 million cost is also no longer necessary since the much larger (880mw) and nearby Sunrise Offshore project will have a $50 million offshore cable running right into the main grid making the connection in East Hampton redundant. The facts are the Sunrise Offshore wind project will be developed by the exact same developers, at the exact same time now, for the exact same type of renewable power, for a third of the cost?
It has never been clear to me why anyone would want to waste $1.4 billion needlessly, but one of the major factors in this case is that one of the largest hedge funds in the world — D.E. Shaw, will be paid $500 million for doing very little except a good job of lobbying if this project goes through. Of course, our town will also get $29 million to potentially let drilling fluids be used near one of our main aquifers.
At this point, there are clearly much better uses for this potential $1.4 billion in investment capital for our area. We will need many more solar installations to complement and balance the already approved 4 gigawatts of offshore wind that may grow to 9 gigawatts. There is only about 1 gigawatt of solar on Long Island now, but the price has only come down significantly in this area, and solar is now the cheapest source of renewable power in the U.S. Large, utility-scale solar projects would likely be in the 6 to 7-kilowatt-hour range now and quite competitive with fossil fuel plants. Some of this money should also go toward burying or hardening our major transmission grid network, as more extreme weather events will come.
These are the facts we face today in 2021, so hopefully the federal Bureau of Energy Management will not give final approval to South Fork Wind, since the New York State Public Service Commission did not block it when it had a chance recently. Once again, I’m dumbfounded why anyone, environmentalist or not, would knowingly and needlessly waste $1.4 billion.
August 8, 2021
To the Editor,
Some of you know me, and some know of me. Or not. In 1973 I started practicing criminal defense law. In June of 2015, I was forced to retire due to several service-connected disabilities. The most serious is chronic ischemic coronary heart disease caused by exposure to Agent Orange during my tour in the Vietnam War as a marine infantry officer. We never heard the phrase Agent Orange In Country. I host “Gung Ho,” an LTV show in East Hampton. It’s mostly about ongoing corruption and misconduct in our so-called revered institutions. By revered I mean our courts, local state and federal, F.B.I., Department of Justice, and the presidency.
Currently I’m doing a series of “Gung Ho” shows titled “Law and Disorder.” Recently I taped two shows with the most esteemed criminal defense attorney, Jay Goldberg. He subtitled the first show “Broken Law” and the second “Innocent.” During the second show Mr. Goldberg stated that several hundred thousand innocent Americans are presently incarcerated.
The term innocent brings us back to one of the cases I’ve been featuring on my show. A case that started on Jan. 23, 2014, when William Cuthbert, a local, was arrested for disorderly conduct, according to East Hampton Town Police Officer Trotta, for cursing in his face. Mr. Cuthbert was prosecuted in the town Justice Court for precisely that — cursing in Officer Trotta’s face. P.O. Trotta added harassment and resisting arrest to the charges against William Cuthbert.
Some things bear repeating: Cursing in public, even in the face of a police officer, is not unlawful. It’s not a criminal offense or a crime under our laws, derived from our Constitution. Mr. Cuthbert’s attorney at the time, Patrick Gunn, moved to dismiss the charges against Mr. Cuthbert, arguing that the disorderly conduct offense was factually and facially insufficient. That means that Mr. Cuthbert was not charged with anything unlawful. That meant he was innocent when arrested.
Not according to Justice Steven Tekulsky and the district attorney’s office, which zealously continued the prosecution of an innocent man. Both the judge and the district attorney’s office tried to get William Cuthbert to plead guilty to end the case against him. Even his attorney, Mr. Gunn, said going to trial against four police officers was a no-win situation. Mr. Cuthbert maintained his innocence and turned down the plea offers, requesting a jury trial. I took over the case at that point as trial attorney.
In America, Mr. Cuthbert was tried before a jury for cursing in the face of a police officer. And convicted by a jury of his so-called peers of cursing in the face of a police officer. He was also found guilty of resisting arrest but not guilty of harassment. That is evidence of an inconsistent verdict. Throughout the trial I tried to convince Justice Tekulsky that the case should be dismissed. And when I queried him, “What was the unlawful conduct?” his response was “He cursed in public where there were people that could hear him.”
Because Mr. Cuthbert was convicted of the crime of resisting arrest, he had to go to probation to have a pre-sentence report written for Justice Tekulsky. I went with Mr. Cuthbert to the Suffolk County Office of Probation to answer any legal questions. Near the end of the interview, the probation officer teared up and said, “I believe you are innocent and were mistreated by the officers.” She also said that she had seen this happen before.
At William’s sentencing Justice Tekulsky asked whether he had anything to say. William responded, “I didn’t take the plea offers because I’m innocent. I went to trial because I’m innocent. I will appeal the verdict because I am innocent.” He retained Dell Atwell, a local appellate lawyer, to do his appeal. On Aug. 24, 2017, the Supreme Court, Kings County Appellate Term, reversed and dismissed Mr. Cuthbert’s convictions based on the very arguments that prior counsel and I had made throughout the case: That the disorderly conduct charge was facially, meaning factually insufficient. That means Mr. Cuthbert was never charged with anything unlawful.
So in America an innocent man was railroaded through our criminal justice system and was vindicated, so he thought, by a state appellate court.
Mr. Cuthbert decided, based on the appellate court decision, to sue for civil rights violations in federal court. He couldn’t find a lawyer to take his case, so he filed pro se, that means he represented himself. The Town of East Hampton hired an outside law firm to defend the town and the town police officers named in William’s complaint. Mark A. Radi, a lawyer from the outside firm, filed a motion to dismiss William’s complaint, arguing that “Mr. Cuthbert did not have a federal case because he merely won his state appeal on a jurisdictional technicality.” District Court Judge Joanna Seybert agreed and wrote a decision dismissing the case that included the words “. . . any appeal taken would not be in good faith. . . .”
After Judge Seybert’s decision, Frederick M. Oberlander, an attorney, filed a limited notice of appearance to represent, pro bono, Mr. Cuthbert’s objections to her decisions. Mr. Oberlander is a well-known and highly respected, especially in federal courts, as a civil practitioner. His arguments showing Judge Seybert she was wrong on the law fell on dumb ears. She merely doubled down on her decision to dismiss.
William Cuthbert, pro se again, filed a notice of appeal with the United States of America Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit challenging Judge Seybert’s decision. He prepared a brief with the legal assistance of Dell Atwell, his state appellate lawyer. The brief was due on July 30 and was filed on July 28. On August 2, just home from a short vacation, Mr. Cuthbert found a letter from the clerk of the Court of Appeals Second Circuit informing him that his appeal had been dismissed on July 26.
What happened to William E. Cuthbert is certain evidence showing a rigged system. All men are equal under the law is a farce. This could happen to you. Maybe it already has. It has to me in New Jersey.
In the Arena
August 12, 2021
To the Editor,
Having heard New York State Governor-to-be Kathy Hochul tell CBS News’ Jericka Duncan that “I’ve gotta get in the arena,” I wonder if Ms. Hochul will follow all of former New York Gov. Theodore Roosevelt’s advice about being in the arena. As Teddy himself said in his April 23, 1910, “Citizenship in a Republic” speech given inside Paris, France’s Sorbonne:
“It is not the critic who counts . . . but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends (her)self for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if (s)he fails, at least (s)he fails while daring greatly, so that (her) place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
New Terror Force
August 16, 2021
I will try to keep this short, as I am so upset. Donald Trump was impeached for making a phone call to the president of the Ukraine. Joe Biden had done everything he can to overturn all the work the Trump administration has done since he took office.
Up until now the chaos that Biden’s policies have caused at the southern border is almost unspeakable. But now his policy regarding the manner of the withdrawal of American forces in Afghanistan will go down as the biggest stain on our country ever. The Taliban are running rampant, killing innocent people, and it is clear that Joe Biden has unleashed a new terror force in the region and beyond.
Joe Biden should be impeached for his dereliction of duty, not only for what he is doing at our southern border by allowing illegal immigrants and Covid to enter the U.S.A. unchecked, but what he has done to the people of Afghanistan and our standing in the world. If this does not start an impeachment process, I do not know what will.
Wake up, America, this is just the beginning of all the bad stuff the Biden administration has in store for us!
THOMAS R. METZ
August 16, 2021
A nursery rhyme says that Wynken, Blinken, and Nod went to sail in a wooden shoe. In 2021 they went to sail in the ship of state. Policy wonks? Who’s buying?
From the field,
August 13, 2021
The week was filled with weird Covid strangeness that doesn’t bode well for the country. We need to have a conversation to decide if there is a Covid problem and if so what are the options for solving it. Don’t tell me what you don’t want to do. Tell me what solutions you have for solving the problem.
In New York City, Far Rockaway (my hometown) has the lowest level of vaccination. Interviews with a dozen residents, all Black, explained that they have a historical mistrust of the United States government and its health care system. They refuse to get vaccinated despite knowing the consequences, because they believe that the government will find a way to rip them off — systemic racism in real time. Stupidity in a time of peril is an offshoot of our racism.
Growing up in Far Rockaway, our junior high was about 35 percent Black, but the high school was about 5 percent Black. We always wondered what happened to the rest of our classmates.
The wild scene in Tennessee showing parents raging at the school board for mandating masks, believing that their freedoms were being compromised — a sign of deeply deranged and misinformed people who don’t really give a rat about their kids. What alternatives do they have? Will the disease simply run its course? Masks are a bummer; the Covid is worse. The anger is simpleminded and misplaced if they believe that we have a problem.
Child sacrifice is not very Christian. Putting our kids at risk, however, isn’t a problem. There is no “we,” only “I.”
The kids. Many pundits believe that an appeal to parents through their kids could be an effective tool for getting people vaccinated. This misguided belief that we have particularly strong feelings or any feelings for kids has absolutely no basis in our history, see the hundreds of massacres of Native American women and children, see (believe it or not), the people in Hiroshima had little kids, the Vietnam napalm children, and see how many school shootings we have and how we do absolutely squat to avoid them. Then add up all the programs for kids like SNAP and see how some groups consistently try to destroy them because of their disaffection for the recipients.
If we have a Covid problem, see 620,000 dead people, then we can get vaccinated, mask up or stay at home or wait till it goes away.
We have lost our toughness as a people. We are spoiled. We whine, and we are wankers. We are incapable of dealing with adversity. We can’t come together because we can’t stand ourselves. Our mirrors are covered with black cloths because we no longer have any comfort looking at ourselves. “We” no longer exists as part of the American dream.
August 10, 2021
Science and democracy save lives, but Lee Zeldin’s July newsletter is packed with outrageous self-serving lies. He makes many serious false claims amounting to advice that is medically dangerous Covid-19 misinformation.
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has gone even further, by imposing punitive laws prohibiting reasonable precautions in schools, claiming attacks upon freedom. Alberto Carvalho, the superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, has been thoughtfully negotiating Covid but now faces the threat of massive defunding. Apparently DeSantis doesn’t understand a national health emergency.
Texas and Louisiana are doing no better. Throughout the nation, lingering pockets of unprincipled, politically motivated politicians and media sources continue their willful spread of well-established falsehoods, causing many misguided followers to engage in self-destructive behavior. Under the guise of protecting freedom, this selfish behavior puts all of us at increased unnecessary risk.
The Covid-19 pandemic is real — and more adaptable than ourselves right now, putting the entire population subject to this whimsical political bickering — as if disease is a sporting event, whereby one side wins and the other loses.
As a nation, perhaps including the current world population as well, we seem to have lost the ability to understand and believe in science and act accordingly. Gamesmanship, politics, greed, and dangerous beliefs in falsehoods are driving us into destruction.
The grand experiment of democracy seems to be at great risk today from these forces of absolute authoritianism. Civil discussion and debate, with a willingness to learn and compromise, could help reach a course of action that would provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people. That concept, the guiding principle of our democracy, is being trampled to death now — actually!
August 10, 2021
Illegals coming into our country with Covid, the government putting them on buses and planes, dropping them off all over the country. Masks are being mandated in America, even those fully vaccinated. What’s wrong with this picture? Vice President Harris is useless; she’s done nothing, absolutely nothing, visiting a part of Texas that has very few problems in relations to Donna, Tex., overwhelming with illegals, rapists, gang members, etc. Absent is President Biden and Ms. Harris. America is suffering, and blame goes to all involved with the border, except Border Patrol, which is overwhelming them. Make a visit to the areas that are so closed in, with Covid illegals, do your job, close the border.
Thank you, Arthur French, for agreeing with me regarding the foul-mouthed America-hating male that is still living in America not in France who needs to control his language.
In God and Country,