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Letters to the Editor for August 26, 2021

Wed, 08/25/2021 - 18:01

Hamptons Pride
Springs
August 22, 2021

David,

I’m pleased with the fine coverage of the establishment of Hamptons Pride in the front page article on Aug. 19, “A Living Monument of Gay History.” The organization will become a source of good will and programming in town with the L.G.B.T.Q.-plus populations, friends, and allies.

We are also grateful for the cooperation of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee in early discussions about Wainscott Green, the events committee of East Hampton, and the approval by the town council of the application for the Hamptons Pride inaugural event on Sept. 12.

REV. ROBERT STUART

Secretary

Hamptons Pride

 

Montauk Needs Help
Montauk
August 21, 2021

Dear Editor,

George Watson’s letter to the editor last Thursday regarding the Montauk garbage situation is spot on. It’s bad, whether in town, the docks, or major roadways.

This is a local election year; let the aspiring candidates reflect on this: Privatize public garbage collection. It will be expensive, but an outside vendor can run pickups as per need. Contemplate a $1,000 fine on the first offense, and double your money second time around.

Have East Hampton High School students who want to earn extra credit for community service sign up to monitor garbage stations and report back to management.

Montauk needs help on this issue, and soon.

PERRY DURYEA III

 

Louse Point
Springs
August 23, 2021

To the Editor,

Yesterday I observed that the end of Louse Point Road has been paved with an asphalt-type material. I am not sure this material has been deemed safe for use in a fragile ecosystem such as Accabonac Harbor. Further, it is not consistent with the recommendations of the Louse Point Management Plan:

“The periodic resurfacing of the main parking area presents the problem of finding a long-lasting yet affordable surface that is ecologically as neutral as possible. At the time of this writing, the Town engineer recommends to resurface the parking area with crushed gravel . . . more permanent surfaces, such as crushed concrete or asphalt, are to be avoided both for aesthetics and to minimize ecological damage.”

I hope the asphalt material at Louse Point will be removed so we don’t face possible negative environmental consequences in this very fragile environment somewhere down the road.

Kind regards,

PATRICE DALTON

President

Accabonac Protection Committee

 

Proof of Ownership
Amagansett
August 20, 2021

To the Editor,

Although we have owned our home in Amagansett since 1988, we originally were unable to obtain either a beach or a recycling permit this year. The reason we were denied the use of these town facilities was the fact that we rent a car for the summer. A new law, enacted in 2019, now requires homeowners to not only provide proof of home ownership, but a vehicle registration in the homeowner’s name.

After reaching out to the town board, the town attorney, and the town clerk, we were told that the only person that can make an exemption to this law is the town clerk. We started our request on June 24 and followed up with numerous emails and phone calls. At the end of July, the town clerk finally made an exemption and issued a recycling sticker for our rental car. Unfortunately, as of this letter, we have yet to receive a beach permit for our rental car.

This is an arbitrary and capricious law that discriminates against taxpaying homeowners on the basis of car ownership. No homeowner should be refused the use of our beaches because their car is rented rather than owned. If the town clerk is unwilling to make exemptions for homeowners who rent cars, then the town board needs to change this law.

Sincerely,

JANET and JONATHAN POOLE

 

Set Him Free?
Plainview
August 23, 2021

To East Hampton Star Readers:

If you were the judge handling the case of Devesh Samtani’s hit-and-run killer — who hit him with his car on Aug. 10 and admitted, “Yes, I hit the guy; he was in the road; though I knew I should have stayed but I freaked out. To be a hundred percent honest with you guys, when I looked at the damage I thought I killed him” — would you have set him free to (possibly) drive and endanger others until his next court date, on Sept. 30? I wouldn’t, but that is what East Hampton Town Justice Court’s Justice Steven Tekulsky did last Thursday. Justice Tekulsky set the hit-and-run killer driver free without requiring him to pay any cash bail, despite the “alleged” crime’s gross negligence, reckless disregard to life, and willful evasion of the state’s lawful prosecution.

All the judge did was ask this deadly driver to hand over his driver’s license and passport, plus wear a GPS monitor — none of which can actually prevent this irresponsible driver from continuing to drive. Justice Tekulsky acknowledged this when he told the killer, “If you drive in violation of my order and you are convicted of that, I’ll send you to jail for that reason alone.” (Of course, by then another pedestrian might be dead.)

If the singer R. Kelly could be locked up for the past two years, why couldn’t this proven dangerous driver be locked up for the two months until his next court appearance?

I strongly suggest that all East Hampton Star readers keep themselves safe inside their homes until Sept. 30.

RICHARD SIEGELMAN

 

Key to Buying
East Hampton Village
August 17, 2021

Dear David,

Several weeks ago, I sent you a letter which I had intended to be personal and off the record but instead you printed it in the paper – with no response. I was surprised by both the printing and the no response.

I brought out in my letter that one of the key features of the paper was the weekly listing of goings-on about town, including the movie timetables of all local theaters and the events taking place. In addition there were always several pages of goings-on around town in art, music, etc. None of these listings are any longer in the paper and I believe it is a great loss of a feature that was a key to buying the paper every week.

While I still purchase the paper every week, I find I am having no choice but to pick up the free East Hampton Press since they offer all of these features, although not in as functional a format.

I once again would like to know why you have taken out these features of The Star? I was sufficiently concerned that I stopped in to the office of The Star when I received no response but you were not there, and the lady at the desk offered me a surmise that perhaps it was because there was not as much going on in town. If that in fact is the response, I couldn’t disagree more, as there is more happening in East Hampton in 2021 than ever before.

Sincerely,

ALAN PATRICOF

There is no counterargument to Mr. Patricof’s observation, and we intend to return the listings to the paper as soon as practicable. Ed.

 

Whither East Hampton?
East Hampton Village
August 20, 2021

To the Editor,

My first visit to East Hampton in the late 1960s was with a fine, late friend to his parents’ home for a long weekend. Simply entering the village through the magnificent elms on Woods Lane, the beauty of the village and the surrounding area, perfect beaches right in town, my first taste of beach plum jam, and seeing magnificent tomatoes brought in fresh from the garden, all focused me on East Hampton as a future residence without my even quite knowing it at the time.

A number of fairly hard-working years later, an ad for a small cottage led me to a real estate office on Main Street (back when Main Street was very much the main street of a town, with shops and services that year-round residents needed, not just a series of high end corporate boutiques, most of which can be found in suburban shopping centers).

On that single day in 1986 I found a different cottage on a flag lot in the village, made an offer, which was accepted, and quickly closed on the deal. Initially I used it as a weekend and vacation retreat, but about 10 years on I made it my primary residence, and East Hampton is where I vote, Riverhead where I get my driver’s license and serve jury duty. I have kept a footprint in Manhattan, but East Hampton is very much my primary residence.

Change initially came slowly to East Hampton but in recent years it has accelerated and in the last year or two it has reached warp speed. I’m feeling now that all of the things that attracted me to this village and town have been slipping away, and now a new and unfamiliar East Hampton surrounds me. The big question is whether the town and village will simply lose forever their essential character? How many real estate closings in excess of, let’s say $5 or $8 million dollars, can happen without changing the very nature of the town?

Will the monumental amount of traffic only continue to rise? Will parties in bars, restaurants, and homes continue to increase in size and frequency? Have we reached an inflection point beyond which there is no retreat? For the first time ever I have found myself escaping to the city on weekends, and find myself no longer chiming in on things like the future of the airport, the maximum gathering size in homes and bars, and all the other issues of the area.

Cordially,

FRED KOLO

 

Start Ticketing
East Hampton Village
August 20, 2021

Dear East Hampton Star, and especially Bess,

I’m sharing the following story in response to “The Shipwreck Rose: Dirty Water” (Aug. 19).

I’ve been quietly screaming about the state of our town for decades now. I remember the day Louse Point was lost to the ugly invaders in 1986 and before that, in the late 1970s, getting a headful of rusty mud from an outdoor shower in Montauk the day the aquifer ran dry. But the event which sticks most markedly in my mind that said that we had gone over the cliff and hit the rocks took place circa 1997 when I worked at the East Hampton Cinema. I was on break and was talking with the owner of the store Side Show when a lady decked out in sunflower-print clothes and a huge hat covered in sunflowers sailed through the door and demanded to know why a particular movie was not listed at the theater next door. No pleases or thank-yous, and her questions were directed to the shop owner, not me. (I was conspicuous in my United Artists monkey-suit.)

She then demanded to use the telephone. When she was refused, she stormed out with the parting shot: “The Times Style Section said that people like you are supposed to wait on people like me hand and foot!” a quote I seriously doubt.

I have a suggested first step in making the village more acceptable: the police have to start ticketing anyone riding a bicycle on Main Street or Newtown Lane. The ban is already law, and signs are posted, if not exactly conspicuously. It’s just that the police have been asked not to enforce it so as not to inconvenience or upset visitors. What about those who live here and don’t want to get hit walking on the sidewalks?

I could go on, but David has asked me to keep my letters short. I will add, however, that a friend responded to a recent email I sent her about how difficult things are here, by suggesting a protest. She’s a regular visitor to her sister’s home in Amagansett and said she would happily join.

Anyway, that’s it. Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

MATT HARNICK

 

Letter Not Fair
East Hampton Village
August 18, 2021

To the Editor:

I am writing with regard to the letter of Eric Gibson, which appeared in your Aug. 12 issue. With all due respect to Mr. Gibson, his criticism of the chairman of the village’s design review board is not fair. First, the D.R.B. does not have the jurisdiction or the power to redress Mr. Gibson’s concerns about the proposed brewery restaurant on the Diamond’s property. Second, and most important, I know that the chairman takes his duties on the D.R.B. seriously, and I also know, from appearing before him, that he is a person of scrupulous fairness and honesty.

Yours truly,

ANDREW GOLDSTEIN

 

About Yimby
East Hampton
August 20, 2021

To the Editor,

I recently read your piece about Yimby. Frankly, I disagree. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to protect the place where you live and raise your family. I like that there is still a bit of country left in East Hampton.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with not wanting an additional 50 homes built in your backyard. I think there is nothing wrong with wanting to protect one’s water quality, the amount of traffic on the roads, and keeping the number of students at a reasonable number in your local schools. There is nothing wrong or amoral about wanting to keep what is special about your town.

I understand that there is a dearth of affordable housing in East Hampton. That does not mean that we should artificially create housing to meet all needs. Not everyone can afford to live in Manhattan. That is why so many people live in the outer boroughs. Not everyone can afford to live in London, Hong Kong, etc.: They simply live elsewhere and commute in.

What the town should be focusing on is how to create a viable commuter strategy. Perhaps a better utilization of the railroads or buses.

East Hampton has long since passed the point of being affordable. It is literally one of the most expensive ZIP codes in the world. This is reflected in the high cost of living here. Look at the shops on Main Street. Does anything about East Hampton seem affordable?

The bottom line is East Hampton is not affordable and hasn’t been for decades. I understand that is sad, but that doesn’t mean the town should destroy what is left of the town’s once-bucolic nature.

So I say loudly: Not in my backyard with an additional 50 homes. Not in my backyard.

MARY WASERSTEIN

 

Disgraceful Behavior
Amagansett
August 19, 2021

Dear David,

I watched the East Hampton Town Board meeting on Tuesday morning, and the residents living in that Springs area of Crandall Street and Lincoln who came to address this board’s incompetence in trying to place a cell tower in the middle of their neighborhood park. The residents seemed to have picked up how condescending and cynical Peter Van Scoyoc and this board is to one of their own, Councilman Jeff Bragman. Everyone should go to LTVEH.org and watch this town board meeting and what a grassroots group can achieve. It’s amazing in its power to work together and achieve change and at the same time try to be civil despite the nasty commenting from the town board supervisor.

What was most obvious in the meeting is the protection of Peter’s disgraceful behavior by Councilwoman Sylvia Overby. I guess when you are probably away in Florida for five months over the past pandemic winter months and are protected by the supervisor, you most likely have to pay back with your support of all he does and says. It most probably includes attacking Councilman Bragman.

If you end up watching the meeting, pay close attention to the comments of Ms. Overby when Councilman Bragman, in his liaison report, gives accolades to the artworks of John Whelan which were displayed at Ashawagh Hall this past weekend. I won’t spoil it for you, but Sylvia couldn’t help but make it political. Since when is promoting a local artist a bad thing?

JILL DANIS

 

Test of Justice
Springs
August 22, 2021

Dear David,

The Norfolk-Crandall woodland in the Springs hamlet has become a test of justice in East Hampton because the town seeks to convert this 6.9-acre parcel of woodland from recreational open space to municipal utility purposes and to use it in support of an emergency communications upgrade for police and fire service as well as private service. The future of the Norfolk-Crandall woodland is also a test for the town’s commitment to equity in our community preservation and open space policies.

This woodland has long been one of the few to survive a 60-year cycle of building-in on the Three Mile Harbor side of Springs. Surrounded by a diverse community of families, with at least 35 percent Hispanic or Latino among them, this woodland is, by all accounts, where the children play.

Something is very wrong with planning when, given the vast amount of public land in this town, a skyscraping communications tower could end up here. As deeply troubling, though, is how the town board has reacted when the Norfolk-Crandall community presented objections based on environmental justice, implicit bias, and racism. Most of the board responded with extreme defensiveness. When Supervisor Van Scoyoc declared at the town board’s Aug. 17 work session, “We don’t need to be called racist,” he became the third member in two weeks to deny the issues of environmental justice (see The East Hampton Star, “Springs Commissioners’ Plea: Use Our Communications Tower,” Aug. 5).

Coming only four months after the town’s publication of a police reform and reinvention plan, these denials should raise another question: does this town board itself have an obligation to abide by the terms and principles that are asked of the police regarding anti-bias consciousness, community involvement, transparency, and decision-making?

Our local firestorm, we’ve also heard, may or may not have something to do with the 2021 election cycle. With her recent letter in The East Hampton Star (Aug. 19), Anna Skrenta, the new vice chair of East Hampton Democrats, chalked every issue up to “grievance politics,” and offered as a scapegoat Jeff Bragman, the one council member to insist (at the Aug. 3 work session) that a discussion of environmental racism was not hate speech. Ms. Skrenta has suggested that the controversy would be settled by a victory for Van Scoyoc in the Nov. 2 election, but she is mistaken.

The term environmental racism needs to be heard. It was introduced in the 1980s by the civil rights leader Benjamin Franklin Chavis and refined in his forward to “Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices from the Grassroots” (1993). The concept is by now well established in the history of environmental justice.

In recent years, the goal of environmental justice has grown to include park equity and spatial justice. Equity in the health, well-being, and life expectancy benefits of community infrastructure, like green space, is included as well. What happens next to the Norfolk-Crandall woodland will be a signal of our direction in multiple justice reckonings.

One clear signal of our best intentions and justice for all would be to fully protect the Norfolk-Crandall woodland now, giving it the long-overdue respect to community preservation and recreational access that every map since at least 2011 has seemed to suggest. The process of reckoning will benefit our steep climb in the matter of climate correction, too.

THERESA M. COLLINS

 

Hardly Leadership
Springs
August 23, 2021

Dear David,

Supervisor Van Scoyoc’s indefensible treatment of the year-round residents in the Crandall-Norfolk community who comprise the backbone of East Hampton’s work force is hardly an example of leadership as Anna Skrenta claims in her letter to the editor last week. Dozens of local residents have sent letters and attended town meetings urging the Democrats who control the town board to reconsider their proposal to build an anticipated 200-foot-tall cell tower in the middle of our densely populated residential community. Hundreds more signed a petition calling for the town board to find a solution to our town’s communications needs that doesn’t destroy our working-class neighborhood.

The town board’s response? A survey to all East Hampton residents asking what kind of tower they like best. Peter Van Scoyoc has argued the Crandall-Norfolk Woodlands site was the right spot for a tower because it was, according to town officials, the “only” spot. Turns out that is not the case.

The East Hampton Town Democratic Committee would be better served by listening to voters directly impacted by the town board’s proposals rather than trying to distract us from our elected officials’ incompetence by shamelessly politicizing a public health and safety issue as important as the town’s emergency communications needs.

JACQUELINE ESPOSITO

 

‘Bullying’ and ‘Unkind’
Springs
August 23, 2021

Dear David,

My neighbors and I are the “members of the public” Anna Skrenta of the East Hampton Democratic Committee referenced in her letter to the editor last week. For the past month I, along with dozens of local Springs residents, have packed town work session meetings to get answers as to why the town is pushing a 185-foot-tall tower in a densely populated neighborhood in Springs.

It was shocking to read Anna’s spin of Peter Van Scoyoc’s treatment of the community as “compassionate.” We have been attending these meetings for weeks, pleading with Van Scoyoc and Deputy Supervisor Kathee Burke-Gonzalez to rethink the tower location; a location that is so inappropriate and dangerous that even people who want a tower feel this placement is outrageous.

Each week we leave these meetings humiliated and demoralized because of how we are treated by Peter Van Scoyoc — the words “bullying,” “unkind,” and “disingenuous” have been used more than once to describe Mr. Van Scoyoc during town board work sessions.

For those of us who actually have attended these meetings, it is clear that the only person who approaches these discussions with intelligence, thoughtfulness, and empathy is Jeff Bragman, It appears to us that because of Mr. Bragman’s commitment to listening to his constituents and seeking a logical approach to this process, he is the one being bullied, cut off, and treated with contempt by the other board members. This November, I will be voting for Jeff Bragman for East Hampton Town supervisor, and I am a Democrat.

Regards,

MARGARET GARSETTI

 

Only Green Space
Springs
August 22, 2021

To the Editor,

I am writing regarding the ongoing saga relating to cell service and the need for a cell tower in Springs. My husband and I bought our home in this area of East Hampton last summer. We have spent many summers in various areas of the East End and focused on Springs for two main reasons. One, we are boaters and wanted to be in close proximity to both Montauk and Three Mile Harbor. Two, we loved the local and laid-back feeling in Springs.

You can imagine our dismay when we learned that the town board was considering building a cell tower just a few blocks from our bucolic street on a small parcel of woodlands that is used by the neighborhood. Even more distressing was what we saw when we walked to the site and observed the families who have homes practically touching this small patch of woodlands, kids riding bikes in and around the woods, as well as people walking dogs, etc., on the only true green space in an otherwise tightly packed neighborhood.

In the weeks that have passed since the community learned of this plan I am beyond impressed by the quick mobilization and passion to fight this consideration. The residents of the immediate neighborhood are for the most part local, working-class families whose homes would be devastated by an industrial-looking 185-foot-tall cell tower. The woodlands would be deemed useless. (Who is sending their children to play under a cell tower?) Not to mention safety issues and, of course, property values.

It seems that the thought of putting this tower on this small spit of land must have come from thinking this population would not push back. So I am therefore confused as to why the town board is still considering this location after the sound rebuttal from residents throughout Springs. This is especially true when the Girl Scouts camp seems so keen on working it out on their property. The Girl Scouts camp is roughly 173 acres larger than the Crandall Street property, and surely a tower can be hidden without creating the impact that this size tower would have on a six-acre property.

One of the most mind-boggling components of this situation is that the town has issued a document stating all the reasons why the tower should not go up at the Springs Firehouse and interestingly the exact same reasons apply to Crandall Street, plain and simple, yet it is still being considered. Something is not sitting right with this whole situation. If the temporary emergency service 100-foot tower needs to go up before the larger full-service tower, the firehouse has requested the tower be placed on their property and that seems to be a solid short-term fix while the Girl Scouts location gets worked out. I strongly think the board should abort all consideration of Crandall Street for this tower and either work it out with the Girl Scouts or go back to the drawing board.

We are new homeowners in the Town of East Hampton and watching this scenario unfold leaves us with quite a disconcerting feeling for how the town is being run. No doubt the cell service situation is of vital importance but this should not be solved as a quick fix to a long-term problem that harms both precious open space and longtime, working members of our community.

Sincerely,

STEPHANIE IPPOLITO

 

Unanimous Statement
Montauk
August 23, 2021

Editor,

An Aug. 19 Star editorial berates the town board for delay, obfuscation, distraction, and avoidance in formulating decision-making policy regarding airport noise problems within the Town of East Hampton. This is absolutely incorrect. Every single currently serving East Hampton Town Board member, including the supervisor, has publicly pledged that “under no circumstance would I support an increase in aircraft traffic at the Montauk Airport due to any future action by the East Hampton Town Board.” Given this fact has been published in The Star numerous times both as full-page documented statements and frequent letters to the editor, it is strange that the editor of the paper would fail to recognize and report this definitive, unconditional, unanimous policy statement within the body of the editorial.

It is equally troubling that in this third of a series of airport editorials not a single reference is made to Montauk, a legitimate part of the Town of East Hampton, representing over 20 percent of its population base, and its serious concerns regarding the very real negative effects closure will have on the hamlet community. In a profession which greatly prides itself for consistent colleague behavior regarding truth and objective detachment coupled with the necessities of balance and neutrality, your editorial content fails in every measure.

TOM BOGDAN

 

Not a Solution
Montauk
August 22, 2021

To the Editor:

The latest editorial in The Star (along with the prior ones), plus the full page ad purchased by the fraction of East Hampton residents who are behind the letter-writing and advertising aimed at closing KHTO, are insulting to the residents of Montauk. They are insulting because they ignore us. We are not the Taliban; we are your neighbors, fellow citizens of the Town of East Hampton, and some of us are your friends. Why do you make believe we don’t exist?

There is no doubt that airports are noisy and they contribute to air and ground pollution. Those conditions have to be addressed by the town leadership, but not by transferring the noise and pollution 20 miles east. That is not a solution. Shifting the problem to another part of the community is not only immoral, but it makes the problem worse, not better.

The evidence is that if KHTO closes, tens of thousands of its flights will choose to go to a tiny airstrip located directly on East Lake Drive in Montauk, so the noise caused by helicopters landing at KHTO will be transferred to KMTP. Every KHTO problem mentioned in The Star would be worsened by that change. Each flight will be 40 miles longer round trip, we will add thousands of vehicles to the already clogged Main Streets of Montauk and Amagansett, and the moms who walk their baby strollers on the twisting East Lake Drive (no shoulders, no sidewalks), and the walkers, runners, and bicycle riders who now compete for space on the snaky 20-30 m.p.h. roadway with the R.V.s from the county park near the airport would have to deal with thousands of Uber drivers as well. And that is not to mention the additional tons of CO2 produced by the thousands of round-trip Ubers necessary to carry the passengers west.

Many who now complain of being in copter flight paths will see no relief because the copters will still fly over their homes on their way east.

The Star advertisement warns of “reckless flights that endanger our lives.” Do the authors know that the western end of the runway at KMTP actually goes right up to the edge of East Lake Drive? Or that planes have crashed through the wire fence at the west end of the strip and skidded across East Lake Drive into the fence bordering motel cottages across the road? Fortunately, no family was on East Lake Drive en route to Gin Beach at those times. The volunteer Montauk Fire Department responded. Will the town sue them as it sued the Wainscott Fire Department for its handling of firefighting foam at KHTO?

Why do The Star editorials not mention the risk of pollution of Big Reed Pond, Lake Montauk, nearby county and state recreational facilities, and the hundreds of private homes living closer to KMTP than there are homes close to KHTO? Is our health less important than the sponsors of that advertisement? Have we lost our status as friends and neighbors?

The Star’s Aug. 19 editorial suggests the town board was “chickening out” because they are holding public meetings at which KHTO will be discussed. Instead, the editorial suggests the board members should “clearly state their positions” on the closure issue. That is an unfair criticism because the board members have indeed stated their position, unambiguously, They have promised, in signed responses to questions put to them by Montauk United, that “under no circumstances would support any increase in air traffic at the Montauk airport due to any future actions of the town board.” And at the July 6 public board meeting, the supervisor said, on camera, that “Moving the problem from one area to another is no solution at all.” His comment was greeted with applause from the audience.

Did I misread, or was foregoing information missing from The Star’s editorial?

MARTIN LONDON

The Aug. 19 editorial argued for separating the future of the land now occupied by the East Hampton Airport, if the airport were closed, from the question of whether to close it. Ed.

 

True ‘Beta Test’
Amagansett
August 22, 2021

Dear Mr. Rattray,

Guess what we’re not going to talk about. No, guess again. No! We’re not going to talk about my birthday and how, for the 16th year in a row you have completely ignored it, 888 months, like it was nothing! Although to be honest — which I don’t like being — we ran into Joan Tulp a few days ago at Indian Wells Beach; Joan just turned 1,104 months for God’s sake! She’d emerged from a body-surfing session in Henri’s pounding breakers mere hours before the storm hit. I got nothin’ on Joan, Mr. Rattray, and that’s why we’re not going to talk about my birthday and your failure to acknowledge.

There are so many critical matters facing our community and our world right now, most of which I’m unqualified to make any useful comment on. (An example: the assassination in Haiti, followed immediately by a devastating earthquake. Brutal. Or Afghanistan — a lose-lose situation for a country, ours, that has an incredible amount of healing to do at home.)

In that context, debate over the closing of East Hampton Airport seems like a stroll around the duck pond, doesn’t it? So let’s come back to that one. I think the town is doing absolutely the right thing in taking time to analyze all crucial input from consultants and residents alike — from the economic impact of complete closure to the airport’s deleterious impact on our community’s environment (yes, the noise pollution, but also the groundwater and air pollution). Much to consider with this decision!

Several weeks ago I attended a very long public hearing discussion on this matter at Town Hall. Presentations and testimony were given by many of the concerned persons and organizations on both sides of this issue. Most of those who spoke had compelling reasoning behind their positions, though the “close the airport” citizens had the more powerful arguments, I think most would agree. Although I should disclose that I most often agree with the people who agree with me. Makes sense, right?

The most annoying argument for keeping the airport open to private jets and helicopters? My neighbor of 44 years, Andy Sabin, a billionaire, stood at the podium and rattled off an impressive list of his generous contributions to the Town of East Hampton, from preserving open lands to funding the food pantries. And, he argued that because of this generosity he should be able to fly “his people” by jet from Rochester or Nebraska, into East Hampton Airport for meetings with Andy. Never mind the tax-paying residents of East Hampton whose right to the “quiet enjoyment” of their homes is disrupted by those jets! (Side note to Andy: The team can fly into MacArthur Airport and you can have your driver bring them from there. Or, possibly better still, have you heard about Zoom meetings? Amazing. Worth a shot!)

Among the topics that airport closure has raised: What can or should be done with the 600-plus acres of town land upon which the airport sits?

We’ve heard suggestions ranging from park and recreational areas, including hiking and biking trails, a solar farm, ecologically designed affordable housing. I’d like to offer another idea for our collective consideration: A beautiful, “green” worker housing campus of 300-500 units. We’ve discovered something in these past 18 months that was always a problem scratching below the surface, but has now grown to crisis level. There are no affordable accommodations for working people in our community — the ones needed in restaurants and shops, farms, supermarkets, and other businesses. The year-round population has exploded, as have school enrollments, real estate prices (rental and sale) have skyrocketed, and it’s gotten out of control, as many business owners have attested.

We need, as a community, to envision a forward-thinking way in which this problem can be addressed, a way to get employees out of illegal living circumstances and back into our human ecosystem. It’s a far deeper discussion, worthy of serious thinking from urban and community planners/designers. Could something like that exist on 5 or 10 of those airport acres? Absolutely. Let’s talk.

Now, back to do we close the airport? And when? There’s no study that can be undertaken, analyzed, or acted upon in the next few weeks that will fully answer the questions on the table. No matter how thorough the vetting process. So here’s what I would propose: Close the airport for one year to all commercial air traffic, all helicopters, all jets. Allow the residents who own prop planes in our community to continue using them for their own private enjoyment. Keep the runway functioning for emergency medical and other needs. One year, no commercial air traffic. And that will be the true “beta test,” giving concrete answers to questions of how the town would be impacted economically and environmentally by the closure, a chance to see — not just speculate — what would happen with traffic to other small airports (hello, Montauk).

There’s a brilliant opportunity for our community to get something right on this matter. I hope we seize it.

Stay grounded,

LYLE GREENFIELD

 

Re-Envision This
Wainscott
August 22, 2021

Dear David,

The editorial regarding the airport decision is startling: One has to wonder about all the meetings, the enormous costs of paid consultants, and the dance around the real issue. Which is, what takes precedence: the lives, health, and safety of thousands who are impacted by noise, pollution, disruption of daily living, and danger from low-flying aircraft? Continue the pollution that will destroy our drinking water? Did they forget what happened to the Wainscott residents, whose wells were poisoned from the airport? If the sole-source aquifer goes, there is no town!

The “protect the environment” mantra rings hollow. The many reports by redundant consultants’ findings mention many issues including the most important fact: It is our sole source of drinking water. That is defined in the Clean Water Act, strengthened in 1972, to protect public health. The directives were to prevent, reduce, and prevent pollution. What part of that is not understood?

“Re-envision” is the code word to continue the air pollution from the leaded fuel use. Continue the daily disruption of daily living in our homes and deny the enjoyment of our properties. The airport benefits few of the residents and has negligible economic benefit, as indicated in the studies.

The bottom line question is what is more important to the town board? The lives, safety, and health of thousands near and far that are impacted daily or is it the catering to those who disrupt and endanger because elitism prevails?

Stop tiptoeing through the tulips and place the residents first. We are the entitled ones who deserve it. Re-envision this: Close the damn thing and add to open space, stop air and noise pollution, protect our drinking water!

ARTHUR FRENCH

 

Blue Collars
Amagansett
August 22, 2021

To the Editor,

Saturday night and sitting waiting for the tempest to arrive. Everyone else in the house already resting, patiently waiting for whatever may come, for the future what will be the inevitable call into work no matter the extent of what we get. The sun up until sun down grind until the aftermath will become stable. Good, bad, indifferent. It?s what we end up doing as careers, livelihoods, the way some of us just make ends meet.

To my fellow residents, I hope everything turned out well for you and yours. To my fellow blue collars, may the work days go as effortlessly as one can imagine.

The commencement calls of the leaves rustling through the breeze. Hours of gust will be ahead. For some not the first tangle with mother nature. For some not our last. Thank you to those who do what we got to do without a grumble. See you on the road. 

JOE KARPINSKI

Republican and Conservative candidate for East Hampton Town Board

 

Stop the Lies
East Hampton
August 20, 2021

Dear David,

I have tried to read The Star every week and not let the letters that spurt lies and mistruths upset me. However, this past week I cannot keep quiet. In regard to the letter in this last week’s Star titled “With Covid,” this particular letter contains baseless information. If someone wants to claim that the government is putting illegals on buses and planes, dropping them off all over the country, then give the facts. Don’t make statements that are not backed up with facts.

In regard to the mask mandate, even if you are vaccinated, wear the mask where it is mandatory. If you don’t like this, then either stay home or move to another country. No one wants to be infected. And yes, people who are vaccinated are still becoming sick with the virus. Watch a family member die, maybe you will change your mind.

In regard to our vice president not doing anything, how do you know? Again, give me the facts. In another statement very similar to the one our previous president used while talking about illegals at the Mexican border, “They are rapists and gang members,” that is a very alarming statement. And once again, not backed up with facts. These types of letters are extremely unsettling, not to mention racist.

Stop the lies and insinuations.

Here’s a thought, how about a fact-checker for the paper?

Thank you,

DEBORAH GOODMAN

 

Pushing Vaccines
Sag Harbor
August 20, 2021

Dear Editor,

Today, all the politicians and some doctors are really pushing Covid vaccines. This March my doctor told me that I must take the vaccine. Due to certain heart and lung conditions and my age, 79, I took two Moderna shots. All was fine until the beginning of August when I got Covid-19.

I went to the hospital and was given monoclonal antibodies. Upon returning home, I took hydroxychloroquine, which I had bought when last out of the U.S.A., in 2020. I got better in about three days but stayed in quarantine for 10 days. Today, three weeks after not feeling well, I am fine. However, I had to take a P.C.R. test yesterday due to a procedure I needed done with my back. Guess what? I tested provisionally positive. What the heck is going on? Today, I took another P.C.R. test and hope that this false-positive result will be negative.

All this leads me to wonder: Are all the Covid-positive test numbers that are reported in the media accurate? And, why isn’t more attention given to therapeutics that are readily available to fight this virus, just as we take drugs to cure other illnesses? Why are lockdowns and masks the only way of fighting the virus?

TOM METZ

 

The Fix Was In
Bridgehampton
August 20, 2021

To the Editor,

How many people on your staff voted for this dementia-riddled buffoon? If any didn’t, I bet they never admitted it.

When will those Biden bumper stickers and yard signs return so our fellow citizens can be identified for their collective stupidity and as self-destructive Trump haters.

And will the progressive liberal socialist presidential candidates of the future campaign out of their basement? Hey, didn’t it work? Sure did when they closed the voting down in critical states to start the real counting when America went to bed. Now that was a first. But the liberal media yawned and went to bed knowing the fix was in. In the morning, presto [ . . . ] the buffoon with the whore-screwing crackheaded son was in! (Think of the dumb bastards that paid hundreds of thousands for children’s finger art with hopes of an Oval Office serenade!) Now how about Hunter’s phone call to dear old dad: “What the hell have you done, Dad? How could you do this to me! You ruined my career!”

Oh well, you progressives always have Kamala in the wings.

God help us,

TED DAMEICKI

 

Questions His Antics
Montauk
August 21, 2021

Dear David,

I would like to start this letter with a question: Is President Biden so dumb, as shown in his last debacle, or is he just a puppet, if so, country? Biden has a very nasty side, which he manages to show when someone questions his antics. Joe Biden has never in 40 years been correct about foreign policy. Never has an intelligent word come out of his mouth. The media is now aware of his true personality and lack of common sense. If the media is smart they will pay attention to real reporting.

Since becoming president, Biden has allowed the border to be wide open. Millions, some with Covid, are presently in our country, however, he has turned a total deaf ear to our Afghan allies begging to come to America. With the border being open, I hope you realize the terrorists are here, right smack in America.

The president, so-called commander and chief, has been on TV lying through his false teeth. How dare this fool make statements such as the Taliban promised to allow America to bring home our citizens. His press conferences are the biggest Pinocchios ever. While General Milley is busy playing CRT with our soldiers, even Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wasn’t really sure which end was up.

Conflict is amongst all involved. Biden lies about how great the evacuation is going. Austin tells members of Congress the Taliban is beating those trying to get out of Afghanistan

Many other lies were told on TV by President Biden, including his confusion of his son Beau in a one-on-one with George Stephanopoulos.

In the hands of the ruthless Taliban are billions of dollars of the United States of America’s fighting equipment.

One other item: The head of the Taliban was in Gitmo; we let him out. Obama traded five of the worst terrorists for the piece of garbage Bergdoff. This terrorist Obama made the trade for is now head of the Taliban.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO


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