September 21, 2021
I was ashamed of myself for not taking the time to respond to the ugly, bigoted comment (likening East Hampton to “an Ecuadorean slum”) made by another reader. So I was gratified to see that someone else made the effort to call it out. I wonder if we are the only two who feel you should rethink your policy of printing every letter you receive.
Tribute to Glenn
September 24, 2021
To the Editor,
My wonderful friend Glenn Grothmann passed away on Sept. 11, 2021. He was a world-class friend, prankster, comedian, and fisherman. In short, to me, he was the “finest kind.”
Glenn had two outstanding talents: He was a “wicked pissah” — his sense of humor was unmatched. Also, he was an excellent fisherman, especially when it pertained to him surfcasting for striped bass on our beaches, thus the nickname the Sandman.
The poem below was written by his brother Gary on the night that Glenn passed. It is both heartfelt and poignant.
The Sandman walks,
From what came to be
Past the rips,
O’er the rocks
To the eddies
His smile wet with the mist
From the sea
Just for now,
We can’t walk close beside him
Just for now,
He must go, where he’ll be
Until then, we turn,
He’s aside us
All through time,
There he’ll stay, there he’ll be.
Rest in peace, Glenn.
Support the Unions
September 27, 2021
To the Editor:
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers sets standards internationally for electrical, line, and communications workers. In our area the prevailing wage is set, safety protocols are set, and apprenticeship training is set for the entire industry. The I.B.E.W. has performed hundreds of hours of community outreach, helping private homeowners and commercial businesses alike. The I.B.E.W. would rather float all boats than sink to some undignified common denominator. Union labor is a value to our community.
The highest standards will be adhered to during the construction of the offshore wind projects slated for 35 miles off our shores. The many good jobs involved in the construction and maintenance of the climate-friendly, wind-driven generation will provide a high standard of living and an economic boost for the towns associated with the project. All residents of Long Island should support the labor unions primed to supply the best work available for the climate change-mitigating, wind-generated electricity, so needed at this time.
East Lake Drive
September 27, 2021
In keeping with the Concerned Citizens of Montauk’s focus on environmental sustainability and its strong legacy of serving as Montauk?s environmental guardian, C.C.O.M. is extremely concerned about the potential redevelopment of several commercial properties on East Lake Drive and their collective impact on the community and adjacent water bodies of Big Reed Pond and Lake Montauk.
There are several pending and/or likely forthcoming proposals to redevelop several waterfront lots along East Lake Drive; all within less than one mile of each other. These include, but are not limited to, the offshore wind maintenance facility at Inlet Seafood, the Montauk Airport, Common Ground, the Lake Montauk Anglers Club, and a few other waterfront parcels that were sold recently.
Redevelopment isn?t necessarily a bad thing. It gives us an opportunity to pause and employ better environmental practices, and also allows us an opportunity to take a step back and ensure the future use is what?s best for our community. As an area that includes both residential and commercial uses, we must ensure that any redevelopment of these sites will be done in an environmentally sustainable manner.
As such, C.C.O.M. is demanding that East Hampton Town look not only at the proposed changes on each respective, individual parcel, but rather scrutinize the collective, compounded changes and their effects on this most fragile area, including the potential for increased vehicular traffic on an already dangerous road. There must be a comprehensive environmental review of any proposed redevelopment of commercial properties.
Now this holds true for the current East Hampton Airport re-envisioning process as well. C.C.O.M. is extremely concerned about any operational changes implemented at East Hampton Airport that may lead to operational changes at the Montauk Airport and, specifically, changes that would negatively affect the Lake Montauk and Big Reed Pond watersheds. Here too, there must be a thorough, nonsegmented environmental assessment and review completed for Montauk as part of the airport planning process the town is currently undertaking.
We hope the town will join us in our position and make a commitment that all environmental reviews will be conducted in a comprehensive manner that does not rely on segmentation.
We have worked tirelessly to protect and preserve this special place and we won?t let anyone jeopardize what we worked so hard for.
Concerned Citizens of Montauk
September 27, 2021
The recent decision by the court, which gives ownership of the Napeague beach to the upland homeowners, is catastrophic, for not only the beachgoing residents of our town, but also for those who depend on the summer population to earn a living.
For decades, Napeague has been a favorite destination for generations of families. The community has always enjoyed swimming, relaxing in the sun, fishing, surfing, and all those wonderful activities one experiencecs at the beach. A day at the beach gives us a chance to wind down and soak up the beauty our town offers to us all, not just a few.
East Hampton is a beach town, and the slow but steady privatization of these beaches will impact all the residents, as well as the visitors who come here to summer in the “Hamptons.” So many come primarily because we have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Public access is vital to the lifeblood of our town. Restricting access is shooting us in the foot.
I am grateful that Supervisor Van Scoyoc states he is in favor of condemnation, and I hope the town board will also acknowledge that privitization of our most valuable asset is not in the best interests of the town.
I believe other beachfront owners will be watching the actions taken and if nothing is done to protect public acess, the dominoes will begin to fall. What will be next? We are already blocked from so many areas by the homes of the wealthy landowners along our coast.
The cost of eminent domain has been raised as an issue to block going forward with the process, but this is an unbuildable stretch of beach. During the winter, a good portion of the land is underwater, and there are a few homeowners involved at this point. We cannot afford to let this beach be taken from us. Our beaches are one of the town’s most valuable assets. Being a beach community without public access is unthinkable. I urge those we have elected to represent us and protect our livlihoods and way of life to act immediately.
September 30, 2021
In reading the article “Town Loses Napeague Beach Access Battle,” the last two sentences address the central issue. To paraphrase Stephen Angel, the attorney for the plaintiffs, “the value is hard to determine,” and he asks the question, “could it be $100 million?”
Apparently, the value would not be determined until after the town committed to taking the property. The decision to condemn the property would happen in the dark of not knowing what the liability for the taxpayers would be. Let’s say it is even $10 million, New York State beach driving permits are $65 a year for fishermen or surfers. Dividing $10 million by $65 would buy over 153,000 permits. Maybe the town could even get a bulk rate!
Exposing East Hampton taxpayers to more financial liability over beach issues would be irresponsible when such a more economical option exists. We are already paying $1 million, plus or minus, a year for replenishing sand in Montauk because of geobags (a number that seems likely to only go up).
The issue at Napeague Beach has been about beach driving. The sign posted recently was not to prevent pedestrians’ use of the beach. The justification that driving there is for fishing is weak. For sure, a few of the truck drivers who group together off Napeague Lane put up fishing poles, but most do not. I see more fishermen go to the state park beach already.
For those really interested in fishing, let the town get the $65 state pass, and for everyone else there is the $65 surfing pass. The number of truck drivers who use Napeague certainly does not justify spending a potentially huge amount of taxpayer money. The town could buy state beach driving permits for anyone who wanted one and use the savings of our tax dollars for much better, more important things.
KRAE VAN SICKLE
September 27, 2021
To the Editor:
Re: 286-290 Three Mile Harbor Road affordable housing complex. This land was put on the list to be acquired with the community preservation fund in the town failed to buy it for eight years. Why?
The entire East Hampton Town Board agreed to take this land away from the community after successive boards chose sexier C.P.F. deals. Over 150 C.P.F. purchases were made, 286-290 were overlooked. Why?
It would be nice if the impacted community knew what they were losing rather than wishing they knew after the fact.
Local people, all who use Three Mile Harbor Road will get nothing but “complex” trouble if 50 units for 100 to 150 people, 100-plus cars, are built there. Does every square inch need to be built on? Must we urbanize that area of East Hampton? Maybe the fire department should have a say?
The process was flawed to begin with, then Covid hit. The affordable housing is not for local people, it’s a political payoff, some contend.
While everyone was shuttered in their homes, affordable housing zealots approved housing for anyone in Suffolk County or New York State on the last bit of open space in historic Freetown and Olympic Heights — 395 Pantigo Road the perfect location for the intended project.
If the town board wants to fight over the future of 286-290 we are prepared to resist.
Already Maxxed Out
September 27, 2021
Dear Mr. Editor,
Hope all is well. Sad to think it’s time to start decommissioning. Leaves will start to change soon and the days get shorter, which is okay, as I enjoy all the seasons here anyway.
I got myself to the public meeting on Sept. 22 regarding the 50-unit “hotel” just off Three Mile Harbor Road. The people who spoke were all concerned about traffic and quality of life issues. One person mentioned drinking water, and a few call-ins praised the board for their efforts to provide housing — obviously coached. My points were traffic and the well-being of Three Mile Harbor.
Three Mile Harbor Road is already terribly overburdened with traffic. According to the hearing notice, the 50 units will produce 171 bedrooms, average two per bedroom, that’s 340 people, so maybe 200 cars? Now, I am not an engineer but I can get a good feel for the situation. If I am off, please advise.
Two hundred more cars, in and out, up and down Three Mile Harbor Road! It’s just too much for the already overcrowded area. As you may know, the Springs is already maxed out. Just take a look at the North Main Street quagmire (nice job, local government). It can take 20 minutes to get from the village to the fork of Springs and Three Mile Harbor. And government wants more traffic!
My big beef is that this 50-unit “hotel” is about a quarter-mile from the Soak Hides Dreen, which empties directly into Three Mile Harbor. Now, the harbor to me is sacred ground. I have been floating, boating, fishing, and clamming there since I was 10 years old and still going at it. The State of New York labels Three Mile Harbor as a “significant fish and wildlife habitat and a component of the Peconic Estuary system.” The zoning board of appeals has labeled the harbor as “stressed.”
Mr. hot shot engineer with his stormwater runoff plan, stormwater pollution plan, and on-site sewage treatment plant (didn’t we have one of them already?) can’t tell me that the leaching pools aren’t going onto the ground, which will work its way to the dreen.
I will again invite any government official to take a paddleboard cruise around the channel at low tide and check the bottom. It looks like the surface of the moon — void of life. This land is on the community preservation fund list! Why would we take 14 acres of prime forest and build a hotel on it? A project of this magnitude needs to be on a main road: Just look at the projects in Amagansett, easy to get to and all the amenities within walking distance, job well done.
For the record, I am not against affordable housing, I am against it at this location. it’s just too much. One thing that continues to puzzle me is how a project of this magnitude gets only one public hearing and only seven days to write in comments? In the best interests of clean water, fresh air, the survival of Three Mile Harbor, and quality of life issues for the area, I implore the board to move this project to a more suitable site.
Best regards as always.
Yours to command,
September 27, 2021
With so many changes in our community and so many extra people, the East Hampton town board has many important issues before them. I’m sure Superman would even have some challenges.
I am in opposition to the cell tower being placed in the woodlands near many Springs’ residents. It is shocking to even have contemplated this to be a choice. The children of this area have played in these woods for many decades. There are no swings or basketball courts, just a blank slate to create, play, and critically think — and I have personally witnessed their creations. It has also provided a peaceful place to walk to clear your head, as well as a fun place for our dogs.
When we first discovered this possibly happening, it was on very short notice. Councilman Bragman immediately understood how we felt and made some suggestions to consider that there were other choices of where to erect the tower. He listened, he heard, and he acted at once. These are leadership qualities. He thinks outside the box and we need that along with knowledge, intelligence, leadership and care for others. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary people. Mr. Bragman fits the bill.
September 26, 2021
When I learned of the town board’s proposal to install an almost 200-foot-tall communications tower on protected open space on our street in Springs, I contacted Councilman Jeff Bragman. I read in The East Hampton Star article (where I first learned of the proposal) that Jeff had urged his fellow town board members to provide notice of the plan to the adjacent residents and seek community input. His urging unfortunately went unanswered by his fellow board members, including by his opponent in the upcoming race for town supervisor.
Despite the obvious community impacts and the fact that the woodlands were clearly protected open space, Councilman Bragman was the only board member to stand with us, and publicly call on the town board to explore more reasonable alternatives, like the 170-acre site at Camp Blue Bay, where negotiations are currently ongoing. Only after widespread public outcry did Jeff’s opponent publicly acknowledge the Crandall-Norfolk woodlands was not the best location for a cell tower.
My neighbors and I have attended almost every work session held by the town board since that day in July when we learned of the proposal. I’ve gotten to know Jeff, learned about the results he has achieved for residents, and his plans if elected town supervisor. I’ve learned he listens to his constituents, isn’t afraid to tell the truth even when doing so is hard, and is by far the most qualified member of the town board. I’m hopeful that East Hampton residents will see that we can count on Jeff Bragman to preserve and protect our home and vote for a new direction for our town’s leadership.
September 27, 2021
Early voting begins Oct. 23, and voters in the important East Hampton Town Board election need to be informed of the candidates’ plans on important issues. Information about the three Democratic candidates is available at ehdems.com and there will soon be much more in voter mailboxes and three upcoming debates, hosted on zoom by nonpartisan organizations on Wednesday and Oct. 11 and 21.
Voters have observed Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc’s steady leadership and many accomplishments over the past four years. Aggressively advancing the community’s longstanding priorities of aesthetic and environmental preservation, fiscal responsibility, energy sustainability, and concern for all residents’ basic welfare, he gave special attention to managing Covid. His personal touch pulled the community together and his determination got more of us vaccinated earlier. Now, with board colleagues, he is weighing the concerns of virtually everyone in town about cellphone deprivation and the future of the airport. Typically, no one can fully win without others losing on issues like these, which requires that everyone be heard before decisions are made.
Incumbent Councilwoman Kathee Burke Gonzalez’s resume describes her focus on social services in the last four years as well as assisting the supervisor with administrative and budgetary matters and special initiatives related to Covid. She writes that she will continue these activities as planning goes forward on a newly available site for the senior citizens center. Believing that the town budget is an “accounting of the community’s priorities,” she also looks forward to her new role as deputy supervisor.
Cate Rogers’s experience, goals, and work ethic qualify her to join this hard-working team as a councilperson and amplify their resources. In nine years on the town zoning board of appeals, seven as vice chairwoman, she focused on maintaining the balance between preservation and growth on which the town’s community good will and sound economy depend. Cate demonstrated her organizational skills as a tireless, smart coordinator of national and local get-out-the-vote drives. She is a deeply informed and acclaimed leader, both on the East End and statewide, in tackling the assaults of climate change. Cate’s palm card also asserts that enabling more affordable housing will be her second priority when elected. It is a very high priority for most of our community as well.
The Democratic town board candidates will be open for questions when allowed in the upcoming debates. As of now, however, it is not clear that they will have anyone to debate with. The local Republican Party leader has announced Republicans will not participate. Whether and how the contenders on the Independence Party ticket will weigh in remains to be seen.
East Hampton Village
September 27, 2021
Peter Van Scoyoc’s commitment to public service drives his leadership as an elected official. As a public servant, Peter advocates for, and serves, all members of the local community. As a town councilman, deputy town supervisor, and town supervisor, Peter’s leadership has delivered administration accomplishments for the Environment, Clean Energy and Sustainable resources, affordable housing, land preservation, town infrastructure, preservation of the town’s historic resources, and long range planning. Under his fiscal management the town has received an Aaa rating.
With this coming election, East Hampton voters have the opportunity to again return Peter Van Scoyoc to office, given his demonstrated leadership. What is most important to remember is Peter’s role as a public servant and his commitment to public service. This is Peter’s ongoing vocation.
Time to Act
Steptember 29, 2011
As the Federal Aviation Administration grant assurance period ends, it is time for the town to take control of the airport and end this helicopalypse (jets, too)!. For most town residents, the continuation of this assault on our peaceful existence is unacceptable.
Expiration of F.A.A. assurances does not give the town full authority to impose limits on helicopters and jets. Such action would require a new agreement with the F.A.A. The town’s legal consultant Cooley L.L.P. has advised against this approach, as it would not provide adequate relief. This leaves the town with two viable options for controlling the incessant and destructive harm caused by helicopters and jets. It can permanently close the airport or close and reopen it as a private airport with no commercial service. Apparently, the F.A.A. has indicated that it would not oppose such a decision. Given that both options involve closure as a first step, the town should move forward with this approach. It can then engage in discussions as to the best future for its residents.
I applaud the thoughtful review by the town board, but it is now time to act. Despite attempts by commercial interests to obfuscate, there is only one initial option other than the status quo: Close the airport. East Hampton residents should be able to enjoy peace and quiet in our homes, at our beaches, and throughout this spectacularly beautiful community that we love.
September 27, 2021
I write today as an individual citizen and resident of East Hampton, not in any of my professional capacities.
Yesterday, Sept. 26, 2021, was a landmark in this town?s history as it ended our 20-year obligation to the F.A.A. to run the airport according to that agency?s remarkably unrestrictive rules: open all day, every day, all year long, no flights restricted, no matter what. A free-for-all at the airport has now become freedom from the burdens of providing access to any aircraft that may choose to land there. I honestly never thought I?d live to see the day!
The town is now — at long last — free to govern our airport for the benefit of the entire community, not a tiny minority of flying patrons or to meet the contractual requirements of a gigantic, recalcitrant federal agency.
The town board has properly taken on the business of evaluating the risks and benefits of owning and running an airport and the news is as expected. There are more risks than benefits. How those studies will inform the airport?s future is yet to be seen, but I applaud the process and the subsequent reports.
I had occasion to drive past the airport late last night, as that huge waning gibbous moon hung in the sky like a theater prop, and it was a peaceful sight.
As a person concerned for our water and air quality, as the earth literally burns, and as one who has long suffered the impacts of aircraft noise, it gave me hope that a real solution to that problem may soon be available.
I hope for all of us that it yields the peace and quiet witnessed last evening. Time will tell.
Quieter, Cleaner, Better
September 27, 2021
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Do you remember when former Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned cigarette smoking in all New York City bars and restaurants? I doubt that you smoked then, but I still did. It was 2002, and every smoker in the city (me included) and all the bars and restaurants predicted that their businesses would be ruined. People would not come anymore if they couldn't smoke. How dare he tell us what to do, arrogant billionaire!
And, of course, no bars and no restaurants closed because of the smoking ban. A majority of people rejoiced that they didn't have to go into a place and smell the secondhand smoke, then return home with dresses and shirts reeking of cigarettes. Smokers went out to the sidewalk (sad sight) and life went on as usual. Well, better than usual, actually.
I thought about that Sunday afternoon as a large, low-flying jet passed over Atlantic Avenue Beach in Amagansett. I thought about the people who argue that if the airport were to be closed, there'd be virtual financial ruin for the town. The sky would fall!
No it wouldn't. Life would go on, Quieter, cleaner — better than usual. And everyone who wanted to come to the East End of Long Island, to live or to visit, would still get here.
So here's to no smoking in bars and restaurants. And here's to no noise and pollution raining down on our town and the surrounding areas.
Close the airport. It'll be good for everyone.
September 27, 2021
To the Editor,
Much has been made as to how the potential closure of East Hampton Airport might impact Montauk. Montauk residents seemingly have the East Hampton Town Board convinced that any flight diversion would be unfair given the long list of negatives associated with air taxis. It’s tough to argue with their pre-emptive strike, as no sane resident anywhere wants to be subject to repeated aviation noise, especially when the number of operations are massive (and growing) and concentrated during dinnertime, happy hour, and after-work outdoor time with family and friends.
Yet, how is Montauk any different from Southampton, Southold Town, or Riverhead? These areas have historically been very quiet but were turned into flyover country with the proliferation of air taxis — all the worse as they had no say in the matter. The residents of these towns do not want the noise, pollution, or wall shaking any more than the Montauk residents do. Has there ever been a community that said, “Yes we want to be part of an extremely busy aviation route”?
Year after year, wherever the air taxis go, so go the complaints. Over land or over water the punchline is the same. The residents are upset and want their quiet back. As the East Hampton Town Board studies the airport it must give equal weight to Southold Town, Riverhead, and Southampton just as it’s doing for Montauk.
Could Deny Landing
September 25, 2021
To the Editor,
I have written in the past, and the benefits to a complete airport closure are many, while the losses very few — less than 1 percent of our community derives any benefit from its current operation. Some are concerned that many of the flights to KHTO would end up in Montauk, but this is highly unlikely for a variety of reasons — the most obvious is that it is a private airport already and could deny flights landing if it wanted to.
Given it is a private airport though, the more elegant solution here would be for the community preservation fund along with perhaps the county to buy the property and turn it into a park. I believe it would be cheaper to buy that airport than is currently being offered by the town supervisor to buy farm land in Amagansett for $28 million? That purchase seems exorbitant given other recent purchases that would be similar have been for one third less per acre and half this farm parcel already has development restrictions?
While I am on the topic of the C.P.F., I hope at least some of the record amount raised in this past year finally goes towards buying available land on, or near the beach to increase public parking and access to our many beaches. The opportunity to purchase the old motel at Ditch Plain several years ago that was missed (?), would be a good example of better uses for the C.P.F.
Lastly, perhaps the simplest solution to what is obviously a contentious topic such as closing the airport would be for all to be able to vote on it. The town supervisor has recently said that perhaps a voter referendum would be useful to determine if marijuana dispensaries should be allowed in our town. I believe the same goes for the airport with a simple choice of either vast new restrictions, which are now possible, or the complete closure of a facility that creates major noise, air, and water pollution problems.
The choice is simple for me, but all should be given a say on what is perhaps the most important issue facing our town.
Too Short for Jets
September 25, 2021
The fear that when East Hampton Airport closes, much of its operations will be diverted to Montauk Airport is groundless for all the well-known reasons: It is private, with runways too short for most jets, no facilities or fuel, no parking for cars or planes, need for permission to land, and the long ride in traffic back to the west.
As with most human fears, this one is irrational. As a result, maintaining East Hampton Airport is akin to maintaining a heavily polluted lake in one part of the town for fear that cleaning it up might lead to polluting a pond in another part of the town. This too is irrational. What would be rational is to close East Hampton Airport and quickly purchase Montauk Airport, so that we will have two wonderful parks — and no awful aircraft pollution.
September 25, 2021
Happy Independence Day: Sept. 21, 2021, the day the Federal Aviation Administration relinquished control of East Hampton’s Airport. And, as politicians are accustomed to doing here, the town board seems content to kick the can down the road a bit farther, at least until after Election Day.
I find it quite cheeky that not a single candidate for office on the South Fork has any definitive plan for the future of 650 environmentally compromised, dirty, noisy acres containing an airport nobody but a few really need or want. It’s not like this happened overnight. But hey, I guess that’s politics. I’d make a lousy politician.
So, while we’re waiting, I figure it might be a good time to review some East Hampton Airport highlights from 2021: the absolute worst summer ever for those affected by this huge mess.
In Spring, a brush fire broke out a short distance from the gun club on airport property. According to the East Hampton fire chief, as quoted in The Star, the location of the brush fire proved to be very difficult to access. Isolated, hilly, heavily wooded with downed deadfall and kindling from past years, and just plain hard to find, the fire was brought under control by three coordinating fire departments but not until the East Hampton brush truck bogged down and was useless in fighting the fast-moving fire. Houses not far from the path of the fire escaped harm.
Although the fire had nothing to do with air traffic in or out of the airport, please consider that most air accidents happen at or near an airport where the aircraft is either taking off or landing. A huge jet or Sikorsky helicopter, or even a small plane full of leaded fuel, could crash-land in the acres of woods around the airport and threaten many existing homes. Or perhaps on the open fields above our sole-source aquifer near the fuel farm. But, no big deal, let’s move on.
A month or two later, pedestrians in Sag Harbor were actually assaulted by a local pilot out for a joy ride. This happened in Springs as well. Again, this event was well documented in the local press. Apparently, the pilot got what amounted to a slap on the wrist and is free to fly another day. Additionally it is a well-known fact that many of the few true local pilots fly planes that rely on leaded fuel especially dangerous to children when they are exposed to it. Thank you, local pilots!
As the weather worsened and the clouds rolled in in July, arriving and departing helicopter altitudes dropped lower than their lobbyists tactics, shaking homes with vibrating, earth-shaking high-speed flights in and out. Many of these were less than 250 feet above the roofs of occupied homes.
As the summer progressed it again became apparent that helicopter pilots could care less about those below, listening only to their passengers, their bosses, or both. Helicopter operators who regularly ignore dangerous weather and embrace high-speed, low altitude flights over residential neighborhoods include Zip Aviation, Heliflite, Snackbar Aviation, Sikorsky Fractional, Helicopter Professionals, Rotorkraft Trust, CSC Transport, Galaxy Lift, New York Helicopter Group, Helo Leasing L.L.C. and, of course, Blade.
Some of these have been parties to lawsuits against the Town of East Hampton’s reaffirming the F.A.A.’s sovereignty over KHTO. I’ll get back to the F.A.A. in a bit.
Perhaps the biggest offender is the giant Sikorsky S-92A helicopter (N314RG) owned by Ira Rennert, a 20-seat, six-ton behemoth. You can feel and hear its approach on a wooded trail around the airport as it crosses Mitchell Lane, five miles away in Bridgehampton or flies above Shelter Island on departure. Rennert’s home is in Sagaponack, not East Hampton.
In addition to his flying unfriendliness, his businesses are notable for being among the largest of worldwide polluters. Just sayin! Rennert and other captains of industry capable of owning mammoth jets and helicopters should convince any reasonable person that simply banning “for hire” aircraft from KHTO is not enough. Many of the worst offenders own or rent homes here.
Jets? Let’s review this year’s jet traffic. To date, 2021 has seen almost twice as much huge jet traffic as any past year. They come and go at all hours as any East Hampton Village resident with a pulse can attest. They are loud and they are among the worst polluters on the planet. Jet of the Season Award should go to Tudor Investment Corp. of Stamford, Conn. (N171TG), a 10-seat, three-engine, more than 20,000-pound beast. For what it’s worth, the C.E.O. of Tudor is a cat named Paul Tudor Jones. Paul’s plane woke up a good portion of the East End as it departed East Hampton Airport at 1:30 a.m. on the early morning of Aug. 30, 2021. Oh, and while we are on the subject of large jets, this one is just one of the many deemed by the F.A.A. as too large to land safely at KHTO. There are many others, similar in size and weight, landing at KHTO regularly. Our airport manager, a former helicopter pilot, lovingly refers to them as, “the big boys.”
I guess I should mention seaplanes. Having once had the opportunity to actually fly from KHTO to the East Side of Manhattan’s waterfront port in a seaplane owned by a seasonal “local,” I’ve got to tell them it was a glorious flight and incredibly convenient. All the other passengers enjoyed it as well. Besides the pilot, there was one other passenger with a very cute doggie and a private chef with a basket of local tomatoes. Please explain to me again why we need an airport?
As for the F.A.A., let’s just say goodbye and good riddance. It is clear it exists only to promote larger airports, more air traffic, and less actual, effective noise and safety regulation. This bureaucracy has been public enemy number one in any and all attempts at regulating the airport as it has grown from a quiet little hobbyist strip into a major regional facility.
It is my sincere hope that the town leaders, whoever they end up being in the near future, shutter this environmental nightmare of an airport. There should be absolutely no reason to delay any longer. People, many people, have suffered far too long to wait until the can-kickers debate and decide what comes next. That has absolutely zero to do with the problem at hand. In true political fashion, they can kick that particular can down the road for the next 20 years.
This Pollution Pit
September 24, 2021
Last week’s two-pager of facts leaves nothing to the imagination. The East Hampton Alliance put out a hand-wringing pack of lies regarding the economic impact on closing the airport. The laughable concern on the environment that they have been polluting for decades was a joke. The in-depth study conducted at the Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, Calif., in 2010 to 2020, revealed that 17,000 students had dangerous levels of lead in their blood. Take a count of the schools and day care centers that surround the airport here. What about those children and the adults here and those who live in close proximity who would be as affected as those in the study?
It is mind-boggling that the town board is dithering on a decision to re-imagine this pollution pit? Who and what will be severely impacted?
The federally designated sole-source aquifer that supplies all of our drinking water is impacted by the percolation of the pollutants. I wrote to the state 20 years ago and never received a reply.
How can the town board even consider continuing the pollution by allowing the polluters to continue to threaten our drinking water and air quality? The quality of life destruction is important, but no water, there is no us! The chemicals that poisoned our wells never disappear, and our aquifer continues to be at peril.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to note that the deepest part of the Magothy Aquifer lies under the airport. The thousands of takeoffs and landings pumping a million gallons of leaded fuel continue to pollute. And percolation only goes down and will enter that supply at some point. How many feet a year?
Now the deliberation that this serves only a minority, while the thousands of affected residents, whose health and safety hang in the balance. Yet, how does the town board allow the 1 percent of the so-called elite to continue to be a factor in their decision? What is best for the entire population of the entire East End is the only thing to be considered, certainly not a handful of pilots who sued us.
Oh, and to the so-called pilots pledge — was that of the moron doing touch-and-gos at 5:30 in the morning two weeks ago and his repeated low flying, written out?
The town board is sworn to protect the health and safety of the constituents they serve, as well as preventing the threat to the aquifer. Stand up and put the public first! Close the damn thing A.S.A.P.
ARTHUR J FRENCH
September 20, 2021
To the Editor:
Election day is less than 40 days away, and I was flooded with messages, texts, and phone calls after my letter in last week’s East Hampton Star. Republicans, Democrats, Independents all had the same basic message: The town no longer represents the local community. What I find so troubling is that so many feel and believe this to their core!
The comments range from, “They have to be on the take,” “grossly incompetent,” and a lot of comments I can’t repeat in this letter. People ask how it could go almost 10 years and yet nothing is accomplished.
The airport, the senior center, the emergency communications, the septic pollution of our waterways, the drunkenness and spring break chaos in Montauk, the disrespect of the town employees, the nasty treatment of citizens at town board meetings, the lack of leadership by town board members during the pandemic, a town board that operated more like a shadow government of unseen elected town board members, failure to promote environmental conservation policies instead of destroying communities in Montauk and Wainscott, the inability to find the balance to save Little League ball fields over better more suitable locations for emergency medical facilities, and now the loss of Truck Beach.
If I heard it once, I heard it 100 times: This town board works for the 1 percent, the second-home owner, the summer crowd, the Hollywood crowd, anyone who is not local but has the money to spend on an expensive, connected law firm.
Every person who contacted me agreed this election needs to be decided on the local issues and not political party enrollment. No one cares if you voted for Biden, Trump, Clinton, Obama, or Bush. We all agreed that the town government has failed, not a little bit, a lot, and there has to be change. We need a town board that respects diversity and differences of opinions, a town board that is open and wants to work with the community instead of dictating.
This year the choice is clear: Bring integrity and ethical conduct to East Hampton Town Hall by voting for Kenneth I. Walles, supervisor, and George B. Aman and Joseph B. Karpinski, councilmen.
East Hampton Town Republican Committee
September 26, 2021
To the Editor,
In response to Mr. Olken and his most recent letter about me, let’s clear up his inaccuracies: I never once stated LTV was a government entity. I asked where they had their Freedom of Information Law requests. Mr. Clark directed me to go to the town clerk. Once again, they haven’t ever given me one for their organization. They receive government money, therefore, they can be subject to such a request, though they have desired to hide the information.
Michael Clark stated in an email: Zoom would have that information. Meaning that information should have been recorded or willingly violate open meeting laws. It is the wild, wild east.
Have they made their entire board aware of the situation? I know for a fact they have not. They should have had this brought to their attention. Perhaps even had a vote on it. I cannot have any information about the board members. I’ve been told by Mr. Clark I cannot have any emails to contact them directly. They have a board no one can speak to?
I was told Mr. Bragman was notified because that was policy if anyone inquires about the town. That was followed by my question of where do they have that directive in memo written or who gave the oral directive? No answer has been provided. That is a contribution in kind. The supervisor’s weekly show is still a contribution in kind.
To reference: Ken Walles can’t enter their facility because he is unvaccinated. They failed to mention he actually is a holder of an exemption card. It’s also rumored they made that an official rule at LTV two days before his scheduled meeting. It shows their outright discrimination about vaccines. Since he has an exemption card, he should go and get the shot anyway, to make who feel better? No freedom of choice at LTV. Mr. Olken is getting a little too big for his britches while blatantly violating someone’s status.
But I’m glad we could clear up his inaccuracies, the fact he isn’t an honest chairman. I suppose he is just devious, like most of the other government agencies he purports to distance himself from.
Here’s another fact for everyone: I did send FOIL requests to actual government entities. You know who is also silent on his legally obligated answer of an appeal in seven days in writing? That would be Supervisor Van Scoyoc.
Yes, Mr. Olken, I asked for all the town board members whereabouts. The only factual way to get an answer is to get the answer.
Mr. Olken can discern anything he wants. He lacks the knowledge and understanding to hold his post. Perhaps they should have the supervisor answer the question on his contribution-in-kind show? Seems only fair since they willingly give him the platform every Monday night. Thanks for the disinformation and proving there must be a there there.
Mr. Karpinski makes a number of misstatements about the New York State Freedom of Information Law. Among these, the law does not require the creation of records that do not already exist. As a nonprofit corporation, LTV is free to set its own Covid-19 policy; it also is not subject to FOIL. There is no such thing as a universal vaccine exemption card. From many posts on his Facebook account, Mr. Walles appears to oppose Covid-19 vaccination and wearing masks to slow the spread of the virus. Mr. Karpinski is a Republican and Conservative candidate for East Hampton Town Board; Mr. Walles is running for town supervisor. (updated) Ed.
Priceless Pages Omitted
September 24, 2021
To the Editor,
Is Verizon treating East Hampton and other Suffolk residents, taxpayers, and voters with the same contempt it’s treating Nassau County customers? Here’s why I’m asking that question:
As a Long Island resident whose taxes have long supported government services, I am distressed to see that the unique, priceless public service government pages — which have always been a part of Verizon phone books — have been omitted in the brand-new (August 2021) Verizon “Real Yellow Pages: Business White & Yellow Pages” phone book for Nassau (and probably Suffolk, too) County.
While the previous, March 2019, Verizon “Real Yellow Pages” for Nassau County included 10 government pages containing approximately 2,000 (!) phone numbers and addresses (!) of taxpayer-funded local, county, state, and federal government offices and officials, the current directory has totally omitted these 10 white pages of important contact information, and “replaced” them with 14 yellow pages of relatively-frivolous information such as “The Benefits of Having a Hobby,” and “Reasons to Get a Pet.”
The company that publishes these phone books, THRYV Inc. blames Verizon, and Verizon blames THRYV.
The three Verizon representatives (including one supervisor) I spoke to could not or would not allow me to contact any “higher-up” Verizon official.
They don’t seem to care, but I’m hoping that The East Hampton Star will care enough to do some research and reporting, and publish a news story and editorial about this. I’d be glad to speak with any East Hampton Star reporter about this issue.
September 25, 2021
Remember the apoplectic right-wing fabrications that terrifyingly pretended that “death panels” would be upon us the moment Obamacare was signed into law? Republican politicians feigned moral outrage at how these imaginary death panels would decide who would get health care and who would not. In a screed, the queen of the death panel lies, Sarah Palin, said that the America she knew and loved was not one in which bureaucrats would decide who was entitled to receive needed health care.
Of course, there was nothing in the law that had anything to do with a death panel, but the lie spread and became a rallying cry for the Tea Party extremists.
Twelve years later, as has been widely reported, the Covid-19 pandemic is so ravaging the unvaccinated populations and overwhelming the health care systems in several states that critically ill people are being denied lifesaving care. The hospitals in these states have implemented crisis care standards; this means that scarce resources, such as intensive care beds, will be allotted to the patients most likely to survive. Other patients will be treated with less-effective methods or, in dire cases, given pain relief and other palliative care.
This isn’t make-believe. It is happening right now, and they can see it for themselves if they tune in to the right news networks. But where is the outrage in conservative media? Where are the self-important speeches from Republican lawmakers expressing moral outrage that this is happening in our country? Isn’t this exactly the America that Sarah Palin denounced?
Oh wait — I forgot. Not only does the modern-day G.O.P. literally have no moral compass or fidelity to any moral principles, but it also lives in a world of complete disregard for those it supposedly serves. The optics of “death panels,” now real, where crisis care standards are taking hold in G.O.P.-run states, is a political albatross, so its politicians turn away, feigning ignorance. Indeed, the anti-vaccine, anti-science sentiment rules the party now. That this idiocy is the principal cause for the health crises in very red states, which have the lowest vaccination rates in the country and are controlled by G.O.P.-led state governments, should send a clear message that this party has no intention of ever governing for the well-being of its citizenry. It is instead the party of phony libertarian theater.
This crisis of malfeasance has become endemic within the G.O.P. So, when you read letters from G.O.P. candidates, regardless of the office they seek, professing concern for our society, remember that their philosophies of governing are born from the same repugnant source that has spawned real death panels. Then, think about who they want to guide our society forward and vote accordingly.
September 9, 2021
Did I miss something when I went to bed last night? I think today, we lost our republic and Joe Biden has declared civil war on Americans that do not want to be vaccinated. Who the heck does he think he is to declare civil war on certain Americans?
I had to get the vaccinations back in March due to my comorbidities. I did not want the vaccinations but my doctor insisted I get them. I had two of the Moderna vaccinations. Guess what? I came down with Covid three weeks ago. Thankfully, I got monoclonal antibodies at the hospital and I took hydroxychlorquine for five days, that I had purchased when I was last outside of the U.S.A. I was able to be cured in about five days.
What do you think of that, Joe Biden? What are you going to do to help Americans like me that are forced to get vaccinated and then they come down with Covid? What is your plan? Will you open many facilities all over America like Governor DeSantis did for people that test positive in Florida? Will you provide Covid-fighting drugs to all Americans that fight Covid, like hydroxychlorquine and ivermectin when they get Covid after your forced vaccinations. We all need to know, before you declare war on us. Oh, and by the way, who gave you all the power to declare war on Americans? And where is the A.C.L.U.?
Hydroxychlorquine and ivermectin have not been shown to be effective in treating Covid-19. Websites claiming to have conducted “meta-analyses” and other studies or media reports touting success with these substances should be regarded as fraudulent. Ed.
Needs a Rest
September 20, 2021
Isis, China, Russia, climate, coronavirus, the border crisis, mask mandate, vaccine mandate, and so much more sitting on Joe Biden’s plate and he decides to go to his beach house for vacation. I can only guess that he needs a rest after putting America at risk for another attack, or is he getting ready to send billions to Afghanistan for the return of our citizens and those who helped America when we truly needed them. Instead it seems that we gave the Taliban the names and addresses of the Afghans who helped us.
Gen. Mark Milley called China with information he would forward any and all of Trump’s ideas that he himself is spying on. This is treason; remove him and the idiot Anthony Blinken, who surely doesn’t know which end is up. General Milley was very busy getting paperwork ready for teaching our armed forces critical race theory, never looking over his shoulder to make sure America was safe.
The drone which Biden lies about — eventually had to tell the truth — did kill children. Even though the C.I.A. warned that this was not a suicide bomber in the car, the order went out to bomb it. Who’s in charge, Milley or Nancy Pelosi, the screaming bitch who gives a lot of orders?
Mandates, mandates, and some more of the same for citizens of America but not for the 13,000 illegals sitting under the bridge, some with covid, some with AIDs, some with tuberculosis, and so many other outbreaks. Nothing, nada, no rules for the crisis at the border. Pray for the Border Patrol, they’re under the gun.
Enough for now, so much more to come, I’ll sign off with I pray very hard that the Durham report nails the dishonest politician, the most crooked politician, Ms. bitch Hillary Clinton.
In God and country,
P.S. This administration blamed Trump for all their failures.
Are We the Problem?
September 20, 2021
In the simplest of worlds, the United States excluded, the relationship between cause and effect is substantially clear. Things don’t happen out of the blue but are a function of other things that happened before. If you were abused as a kid there’s a strong chance you will abuse your kids, not necessarily, but possibly. Conceptually it is a linear and direct connection. If we don’t understand the connection, we never solve problems.
Politics is rarely as linear, cause and effect-wise, as the health care problem between Idaho and Washington State. Idaho is being overwhelmed by Covid cases because it has refused to vaccinate and wear masks. Washington, a bordering state, has more extensive health care facilities and has been taking Covid patients from Idaho.
The problem for Washington is that it has its own Covid issues and because of the overload from Idaho has been unable to provide other essential surgeries. Does Washington refuse to treat Idaho patients and take care of people from its own state or does it open its doors to everyone?
In March 2020 President Trump told every state to fend for itself with personal protective equipment and respirators. The pandemic wasn’t a national problem but one for each state to solve. (Perhaps the dumbest subhuman statement in our history.) He wouldn’t wear a mask. He wouldn’t push the vaccine. He protected himself. Individuals over community.
Eighteen months later in Idaho, Trump’s words are echoed over and over. In Washington, Trump was mostly ignored — they believe in community over the individual. Life over death, compassion over stupidity. The question raised is, are we our brothers’ keepers?
The nature of any pandemic is the uncertainty of the situation. The problem is relatively uncomplicated, the solution more so. Because the virus and its variants change so rapidly, epidemiologists are obligated to react to the changes and create new policies that are relevant. What they have established is that it is a deadly problem and that solving it requires vaccinations and mask wearing.
The risk of not getting vaccinated and not wearing masks has no reward. It negatively impacts solving the problem. Being our brothers’ keepers is supposed to be a two-way belief.
The issue is simple enough for a 5-year-old to understand. If we don’t vaccinate, the virus will flourish and transform (see Delta) into something even more deadly. We’ve already experienced firsthand how it works. Our rights, our masculinity, our sexuality are not being threatened, only our lives and our kids’ lives are at stake; 670,000 examples exist.
So, what does Washington do about Idaho? In a normal world there wouldn’t be a question. Yet, the MAGA code is to let them die. Are we better than that? What does it take to convince people that we have a pandemic problem? Are we part of the solution or are we the problem?