Dr. Joe’s Legacy
October 17, 2022
Joe O’Connell, who died last week, was not only a very special person to his friends and family, but someone who committed his time and energy to making this world a better place for those in need in our community. He gave generously of his professional skill as a counselor and educator, and shared resources with our schools, with the Y.M.C.A.-RECenter, and with us at the Retreat.
At the Retreat, Dr. Joe, as we affectionately called him, worked as a counselor and helped us with fund-raising. On June 25, 2016, Dr. Joe was the Retreat’s Honoree at the All Against Abuse Event for his service to our clients and to the community.
Dr. Joe worked with many of our survivors of gender abuse and violence during his years at the Retreat. He assisted with fund-raising for the Retreat services and for renovations at Stephanie House, our safe shelter facility. He was always brainstorming new projects and potential donors, generously thinking about others and their well-being. That was his nature. He also knew when it was time to break, saying, “We are going out to lunch and getting up from these desks.”
It is not surprising that many on the Retreat board of directors knew him well, as they are also leaders in our community. Joe was instrumental in 1992 in creating the East Hampton Youth Alliance, raising $4,000,000 to build the RECenter in East Hampton, along with Steve Bergerson and Stephen Latham, among many others.
Dr. Joe formed the East End Initiative Foundation to provide scholarships to low-income students and to teachers to create new programs. This foundation created Project Most. Dr. Joe was a strong supporter of affordable housing initiatives and did all he could to move this effort forward.
Dr. Joe’s legacy as a pillar of our community will carry on through the tremendous impact that he had on so many lives, and on the resources that he helped to create in East Hampton.
Our hearts go out to Dr. Joe’s wife, Suzanne, and their family. If there was any life that we could say was well lived and a person who made a real difference to the people he touched, it was Dr. Joe. He will be greatly missed, but always remembered.
On behalf of the Retreat Board of Directors,
LORETTA K. DAVIS
October 16, 2022
The community recently suffered the tragic loss of Kent Feuerring in an airplane crash. Kent was a fixture in our community for many years. He was a pilot, president of the East Hampton Aviation Association, and a strong advocate for aviation on the East End of Long Island. As most of us are aware, there is continued litigation associated with the airport, which has polarized our community. Kent worked tirelessly to seek a way to resolve the issue of the airport, and he did so with grace and patience.
We should use this moment to reflect on Kent’s efforts and work together to settle the airport litigation. A resolution for the benefit of the entire community is the legacy that Kent would have wanted for East Hampton and the East End of Long Island.
October 12, 2022
To the Editor,
The upgrades to my apartment, and all the apartments at Windmill, which include the installation of a Bosch heating and air-conditioning unit, new energy-efficient lights, silent high-powered vent fans in the kitchen and bathroom, along with a passive fresh air exchanger, the separation of the attic air from the apartments by installing vent pipes to the outside via roof vents, are an accomplishment that not only improves the quality of life but may just extend it.
We are able to take advantage of one of East Hamptons greatest resources, clean air that is about as good as possible living within 100 miles of a large city and suburban area. So, I would like to thank the managers, Gerry Mooney and Kathy Byrnes, and the entire Windmill board of directors presided over by Eddy Ecker, along with our support staff, both those working in the office and those maintaining the facilities, for having seen this project through and accomplishing it. I also want to mention the quality of work and professionalism of the contractors who were hired to install all the aforementioned.
I would guess they are about 75 percent finished with the entire project, and what remains is the installation of the vent pipes and the removal of all original air-conditioners and the removal and closing up of the sleeves and openings where the original air- conditioning units were installed. These air-conditioning sleeves were placed through the walls below window height when the complex was built over 30 years ago and were responsible for the greatest loss of heat. Gerry Mooney said the buildings were photographed at night using an infrared camera and the old air-conditioner sleeves were identified as the location of greatest heat loss. Completely eliminating these sleeves and closing up the openings with insulation and wallboard and replacing the outer siding will conserve a substantial amount of our energy resources.
All of this is a major accomplishment. Thank you for a job well done.
WALTER JAMES BLUMBERG
Price of Propane
October 12, 2022
I have been a resident of East Hampton since 1979. Your readers should look carefully at the price of propane invoiced by propane companies operating on the East End.
The average price per gallon of propane in Suffolk County (per the internet) is $3.10. Two providers on the East End that I have recently spoken with charge under $2.90 per gallon.
I recently received an invoice from my large provider for $6.31 per gallon, more than double the county average price and the price charged by its competitors. On inquiry, the large provider, which took over a small local company, blames its excessive per gallon charge on “rising costs” and on “my level of usage.” The large provider, in response to my complaint, offered to reduce the price per gallon to $5.50, which is still almost double the price charged by its competitors.
Propane companies on the East End providing standard goods and services should not be permitted by consumers to price-gouge without strong objection.
Very truly yours,
Link for Springs
October 17, 2022
The town is nearing completion on an approximately $13 million townwide upgrade to the emergency communications system, including a link in Springs that will provide coverage that has been lacking.
An application before the planning board, by American Tower, for a pole at Camp Blue Bay in Springs that would hold both the equipment for the town’s emergency communications system and equipment for private wireless (cellphone) carriers is nearing the final stages of review, with a public hearing taking place this week. This site could not only complete the new link for Springs emergency communications coverage, but, by providing an opportunity for several cell companies to locate equipment, would help to boost cell phone coverage in the area.
In addition, town policy and town code changes designed to make it easier for the cellular phone companies to install the equipment needed for them to provide better service to their customers in East Hampton are being implemented.
As these topics have been the subject of ongoing discussion, particularly among residents of Springs, I issued an open letter to the community last week, which can be accessed at the town’s website, ehamptonny.gov.
I appreciate the opportunity to provide our residents with this information. As always, those with questions or concerns are welcome to speak at any town board meeting or to contact me, or other board members, at Town Hall.
PETER VAN SCOYOC
East Hampton Town Supervisor
Not in Keeping
East Hampton Village
October 6, 2022
To the Editor:
Although we hoped the Dallas-based owners of the Huntting Inn/Palm Restaurant had gained an appreciation of the historic nature and country feel of our local inns, they are again seeking to add a recreation complex at the site. Notwithstanding the proposed hot tub-Jacuzzi was nixed and the number of cabanas reduced, they are now seeking design review board approval and multiple zoning variances to put in a pool and cabanas on Main Street. In addition to the noise, inconvenience, and unsightliness that would result, this is not in keeping with the Main Street Historic District and the long history of these wonderful old inns. Bathing suits and kids splashing in a pool in the yard of the inn as one steps off the Jitney is not the image I have of our quaint village.
We are supportive of our local inns. We are pleased when they undertake renovations consistent with the centuries-old structures, as the Huntting Inn has recently done. We also support their ability to host weddings and events including music. The Huntting Inn is, however, a nonconforming business use in a residential zone and historic district. A California resort-style recreation space is simply alien to what we have tried to accomplish by preserving so much of our Main Street residential zone.
We hope the design review board will deny the application and that the zoning board of appeals will not grant the multiple variances requested.
Dogs in Park
East Hampton Village
October 17, 2022
I fully support The Star’s editorial position about dogs in Herrick Park. However, if one was to step back and better understand its genesis, there is a straightforward solution. Jerry initiated the discussion by indicating some people have complained about not being allowed to walk their dog to the village from the long-term lot. The lengthy debate over the merits of abolishing the law was superfluous. The solution is simple: Post signs at entrances allowing leashed dogs only on the designated path between the long-term and the Reutershan parking lots.
Throughout the work session, Jerry suggested the “village attorney” would draft resolutions under discussion. Jerry, as you eliminated the in-house village attorney position, it makes no sense to burn outside counsel labor hours on the unresolved issues. It would be helpful to know Vinnie’s fees. Unfortunately, my Freedom of Information request for this info and the other 26 professional consultants has been ignored. Jerry, your commitment to transparency is a giant farce.
Jerry, you still have not provided proof of payments for your birthday banquet at the Beach Hut on Main. Being a former law enforcement officer, you should be familiar with the New York State Public Officers Law 73(5). I’ll be sending it to you under separate cover.
October 17, 2022
To the Editor,
The town clerk was to put a resolution for a public hearing meeting in The Star this week. It is not present. What was it? A meeting about the abandoning of 15 feet of Bay View Avenue, not the opening of this road blocked by geocubes. The town’s continued appeasement of one of the homeowners who blocks it. The times of the public hearing? The resolution has 11 a.m. and also 2 p.m. In Town Hall? No; in the courtroom, yet other hearings and a town board meeting will be at 2 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room.
In the paper? Absolutely not. Has Carole Brennan answered an email about this? No, the town clerk has not, almost a week later. Maybe she’s forgotten in 2020 when she was the physical recipient for the town being served letters of enforcement. We didn’t forget. Nov. 3 we’ll remind you.
Benefit the Community
October 9, 2022
I’m writing in response to the recent articles on the Marsden lots. I am a longtime lawyer and community advocate for open spaces. I was shocked to learn that Southampton Town is considering purchasing five acres of woodland using over $6 million of community preservation fund money for the school to create more athletic facilities. The proposal is inconsistent with C.P.F. legislation, as I’d like to explain for the community.
Section 140-6 of the Southampton code provides that, with respect to open spaces, “lands acquired under this chapter shall be administered and managed in a manner which” “limits improvements to enhancing access for passive use of such lands, such as nature trails, boardwalks, bicycle paths and peripheral parking areas, provided that such improvements do not degrade the ecological value of the land or threaten essential wildlife habitat.” The code also defines “open spaces” as “any area or space characterized by natural scenic beauty or whose existing openness, natural condition or present state of use enhances the present or potential value of abutting or surrounding development or maintains or enhances the conservation of natural or scenic resources.” Woodlands are, without question, an open space. And the creation of an athletic facility would obliterate the ecological value of that open space and threaten essential wildlife in the last remaining pocket of forested land in the historic village.
The community preservation fund has never been used to convert pristine woodland into anything other than a natural space such as trails — and certainly never to create athletic facilities. I recently met with Assemblyman Thiele (the author of the C.P.F. legislation) about this issue, and he could not think of a single example of such a project in the more than 30 years in which the C.P.F. has existed. The proposal to use the C.P.F. to create athletic facilities not only violates the law, it also poses an existential threat to woodlands across the East End. If the town board approves the request, all of that woodland will be up for grabs for development using our C.P.F. reserve.
The community preservation fund also requires that any acquisitions be for public use, and for that reason, it has never been used to fund acquisition of land for a school. The development of athletic facilities for a school does not serve our broader community. I cannot think of a single neighbor who requires a regulation-size soccer field, field hockey field, or running track. And even if there were such a neighbor out there, Mashashimuet Park is a mere 10-minute walk away and provides all of those things in a beautiful natural setting. The community preservation funds should be used for things that benefit the community at large.
I can think of many preferable and permissible uses of the C.P.F. for this land. For example, Southampton Town could purchase the woodlands to create an outdoor educational center that benefits the school and broader community and does not threaten the ecological value of the land or essential wildlife. Given where we are in the climate change crisis, and the purpose of the C.P.F., that is a much more appropriate use of our collective funds.
I urge the community to reach out to the town council: Jay Schneiderman, Tommy John Schiavoni, John Bouvier, Rick Martel, and Cyndi McNamara to express their concern about this proposal.
October 16, 2022
Your hit piece on Congressman Zeldin’s war record was reprehensible, as was Jim Lubetkin’s labeling the congressman a liar. Like Jim, I am a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 550 and also served in Vietnam. Over the years, I have known Jim to be a reasonable and thoughtful sort, so I will have to attribute his intemperate, unjust, and lamentable comments to a political bias that clearly got the better of him.
Like Jim, I was not a “front line” infantryman. I was stationed in Saigon for 15 months and lived in an old hotel the Army had turned into a barracks. The only time I carried a rifle was a couple of times in the first few weeks, when we stood guard in a sandbag bunker outside the hotel. It was early in the war —January 1966 — and there were not enough military police in the country yet to do the job. I’m sure that Jim will agree that in guerrilla conflicts like Vietnam and Iraq there are no firmly established “front lines.” Terrorism, sabotage, and double-dealing are always on the menu. You never know when the person standing next to you might turn on you.
From what I understand, that was exactly the environment then-Lieutenant Zeldin encountered, and Baghdad and other Iraqi cities were far more dangerous than Saigon. Apparently, he was part of a civil affairs-type unit tasked with “winning hearts and minds.” This duty involved dealing with local leaders who might or might not be trustworthy and necessitated taking along an M4 rifle just in case.
Instead of besmirching the record of an officer who served honorably and is now a major in the reserves, The Star would serve its readers well by focusing on a troubling military matter far more in need of scrutiny. For instance, both Lee Zeldin and the Republican candidate who seeks to replace him in Congress, Nick LaLota, served as officers in the military and saw duty in Iraq. But for the life of me I can’t think of a recent Democratic candidate for high office who served. Governor Spitzer? Nope. Andrew Cuomo? Nope. Governor Hochul? Ha. Fred Thiele? Bridget Fleming? Skyler Johnson? No, no, and no. All five of our town board members are Democrats, but none have served,
Is this apparent aversion to military service in the modern, progressive Democratic Party just a fluke, or is it symptomatic of something deeper, more sinister, more systemic? I believe this potentially dangerous trend is far more worthy of The Star’s attentions than nitpicking the tea leaves of a good man’s military record. I look forward to some serious, thorough research on this topic.
During his Iraq deployment in the summer of 2006, Lee Zeldin was an officer in the Judge Advocate General Corps, not part of a civil affairs unit. Ed.
Blind to the Facts
October 16, 2022
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Simply put I am appalled! The “column” that appeared in this week’s Star under your byline strikes me as nothing less than a hit job and a bad one at that. As a longtime subscriber to The Star and an even longer-time reader of the paper, I have come to appreciate the zeal with which many contributors — including yourself — have evoked points of view not only contrary to mine, but also seemingly blind to facts that might indeed have mitigated their positions.
Your piece titled “A Look at Zeldin’s Army Days: Candidate implied he served on front lines, his record says otherwise” strikes me as lacking any objectivity. While indeed you do seek to correct any impression that Mr. Zeldin might have openly lied about his military service — as our current president has on so many occasions about so many things in his past — your apparent attempts to set the record straight seem grudging at best. I also cannot remember reading anything you authored that decry how our president misrepresented the truth.
Consider, too, what appeared in today’s New York Post under the title: “Gov. Hochul is using your money to try to buy an election.” In her clearly labeled opinion piece, she makes the point: “Once again, Hochul is proving she learned well from the master. Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo was famous for plastering every corner of New York State with taxpayer money, no matter how ill-judged the purpose — remember the ‘Buffalo Billion’ boondoggle? — since the real purpose was to ensure his own re-election. Now Hochul is out-Cuomoing Cuomo.” [ . . . ] “Coincidentally, the Hochul budget includes a $350 million Long Island Investment Fund, to be doled out by her Empire State Development Corp., the same entity that wants to raze the blocks around Manhattan’s Penn Station to benefit a single real-estate donor.” Funny, but I do not recall ever seeing any protests about such misuse of public funds from you or in The Star.
While certainly one of the strengths of this country is its historic uniqueness in entitling its citizenry to speak freely even when their point(s) of view may be contrary to that of others. What makes me object here is that in this case, it would seem your article is not labeled as an editorial or as an opinion, which de facto means it is meant to be a report of the news. With all due respect, if that was the intent, I cannot agree.
JAMES R. WELDON
October 17, 2022
To the Editor,
It was refreshing to see that in your article about Lee Zeldin, you mentioned the disgraceful behavior of Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, in his lying about having served in Vietnam. This reprehensible act never seems to get the attention it deserves. But you left out a few salient facts.
First, he kept on repeating the lies, even when he ran for Senate. Worse still, even after the lie was belatedly revealed, the Democratic Party renominated and re-elected him. Twice. Sadly, this says as much about the ethics and values of the Democratic Party and its voter base as it does about those of the senator himself.
You can quibble all you wish about Congressman Zeldin’s statements. But there’s no doubt he served in Iraq, as a member of the 82nd Airborne.
His Voting Record
October 17, 2022
Last week, you pointed out that Lee Zeldin has implied that he served on the front lines in Iraq, but that his record says otherwise. Similarly, Zeldin likes to say he cares about veterans but his voting record shows the opposite.
Zeldin voted against providing Veterans Administration medical coverage to soldiers who were exposed to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those vets suffered devastating and, sometimes, fatal illnesses as a result of their exposure. Luckily, the Democrats in Congress were able to muster enough support to overwhelm Zeldin’s opposition.
Zeldin has voted against health care for more soldiers than those exposed to burn pits. He has repeatedly voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and end Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion program — more than 340,000 veterans nationwide depend on that program as their only source of health care.
Another 1.4 million veterans depend on traditional Medicaid, which Zeldin has voted to weaken. That same number of vets depend on the SNAP program (food stamps) to eat. Zeldin voted to slash $20 billion out of that program.
Zeldin’s record on women vets gives the lie to his claims to support them. He voted against a bill that would have ended co-payments for contraceptives for female members of the armed forces. He also voted against providing contraception and family planning services to the armed forces.
Women vets, like all women, are grievously threatened by Zeldin’s extreme, forced-birth views. Despite trying lately to waffle on them, his voting record, again, shows where he really stands. Zeldin voted against protecting a woman’s right to travel across state lines to seek an abortion. He signed onto a “friend of the court” brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. He’s vowed to appoint a “pro-life” (forced birth) health commissioner in New York if he wins the governor’s seat, even though 63 percent of New Yorkers favor a woman’s freedom to choose when to have children.
Zeldin has tried to walk back his extremist position against women’s reproductive freedom. We can trust that about as much as we can trust his claim that he fought on the front lines in Iraq.
Can Happen Again
October 17, 2022
If candidates like Lee Zeldin win and Bridget Fleming lose and DeSantis and the like prevail, then, yes, it can and will happen again. They showed their hand on Jan. 6, 2021, swastikas, the gallows, the sweatshirt marked with Auschwitz memorabilia, agitated and led by a former president of our country in total disrespect and violation of the law and his oath of office.
As a nation, we are in existential danger. We demonstrate daily that we were, and still are, a nation founded on enslavement, persecution, indifference, bigotry, and elitist self-interest. However, we are also still championing fairness, compassion, and the appeal to that which is the best and most human of those traits that are representative of our more noble potential. I beg you to join us in registering and voting and helping to get out the vote. Speak up, act up. It truly is the least of what our society requires of us.
If we are not part of the solution, we, too, are part of the problem. Yes, vote for Fleming and Hochul, our most-democratic choices.
LARRY S. SMITH
Let’s See Civility
October 17, 2022
How do people like Manny Vilar stay in office? His recent letter to The Star editor is such an insane inflammatory collection of lies, describing Bridget Fleming as someone unrecognizable from the truth of who she actually is.
This guy Vilar remains for some odd reason as the chairman of the local Republican committee. If times were normal, and if people claiming to be Republicans had any remaining ethics, he would be out on his ass for slander, and worse.
What has happened to that party? How could they possibly keep this guy as their spokesman, unless they actually think like this too? The mad, rambling lies he’s willing to publish in this paper go far beyond any madness that we witnessed during the corrupt Trump era.
Bridget Fleming is a decent human being, and an established member of our community who has served us well, while raising her good family. Where is Vilar’s sense of decency, and respect for his own neighbors and community? We have every reason to want Bridget to represent us in the House of Representatives. She is not the disgusting caricature this desperate chairman of the Republican committee claims.
Bridget Fleming is professionally qualified, ethical, and willing to represent this entire community honestly, not just a narrow self-interest segment of it.
Enough is enough. Let’s see some civility, honesty, and truth. Winning is not so valuable that we can allow ourselves to give up on speaking the truth.
The Very Worst Kind
October 17, 2022
I want to thank Manny Vilar, chairman of the East Hampton Republican Committee, for raising the important topic of disingenuous politicians in his letter to The Star last week. Mr. Vilar raised this issue in an effort to accuse Bridget Fleming of trying to hide a secret, radical, pro-crime agenda. This is a pretty bold assertion when you consider that she was recently endorsed by the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association. Apparently, she has kept her radical pro-crime agenda so well hidden that not even the Suffolk P.B.A. knew about it!
Putting aside the apparent inconsistencies in Mr. Vilar’s claim and returning to the topic at hand, his letter is a great example of projection because we can’t have a discussion about disingenuous politicians without including Lee Zeldin.
Congressman Zeldin, in his bid for governor has shamelessly employed race-baiting and fearmongering to exploit voter concerns about a national trend of rising violent crime rates. These concerns are legitimate and should be addressed responsibly by looking at myriad possible causes such as sharp increases in gun ownership and gun violence and the socioeconomic devastation and personal loss wrought upon many communities by the pandemic. But Mr. Zeldin is not doing that. Rather, he is choosing to shamefully exploit this serious issue for purely political gain in the ugliest way possible.
In a move that harks back to the infamous Willie Horton ad of 1988, Mr. Zeldin opened his campaign for governor with a statewide television ad that included 13 grainy clips of attacks and robberies being committed by mostly brown and Black people. It was accompanied by a soundtrack of screams and suspenseful music while a foreboding voice said, “You’re looking at actual violent crimes caught on camera in Kathy Hochul’s New York.” And his Twitter feed is even worse. It is a constant stream of violent crime videos alongside mug shots of Black and brown people all the while finger pointing at Democrats using the latest dog-whistle catch phrases of “cashless bail” and “defund the police.”
And if it weren’t bad enough that Lee Zeldin’s campaign strategy is based in race-baiting and fearmongering, it is also full of misinformation and hypocrisy. First, it has been proven that of the 13 video clips in Zeldin’s TV ad, six were taken from attacks that occurred before Ms. Hochul was governor, and one of the clips was traced back to an incident in Oakland, Calif.
Second, his narrative that the increase in violence is a phenomenon found mostly in liberal cities like New York is proved wrong by data that clearly shows that the increase is a national problem. Furthermore, when you look at the numbers, murder rates are actually higher in Republican, Trump-voting states that haven’t even flirted with bail reform. Third, in March, the Brennan Center for Justice released a report that found that there is no evidence linking bail reform to the increase in crime in 2020-21. And Newsday recently published an article that reviewed the statistics surrounding the effects of bail reform in New York and found that re-arrest rates since 2019 showed little change and that re-arrests for violent crimes remain low.
Last, in what is the most egregious example of Lee Zeldin’s disingenuousness, he has consistently voted against common-sense gun safety laws and stubbornly supports concealed carry even in the face of unspeakable tragedies and at a time when gun violence has become the leading cause of death of American children and teens.
This is all to say that Lee Zeldin actually is the very worst kind of politician, one who offers no real solutions for urgent problems and shows no compassion for victims who don’t further his agenda. Rather, he cynically cherry-picks concern and outrage to fit into his political narrative of blaming the “other” to further his pursuit of power. And he does this over and over again, hammering away at his destructive lies until they begin to feel like the truth. Sadly, he’s been successful at this for his entire political career. Please don’t let him get away with it this time. The stakes are too high.
East Hampton Town Democratic Committee
We Need LaLota
October 17, 2022
As we get closer to Election Day, New York is less safe today than it was a year ago. In New York City, in particular, crime is rising by epic proportions. Policies, such as cashless bail and raising the age of juvenile offenders to defund (reallocation, if you’re Bridget Fleming), have contributed to youth arrests for a gun crime, having surged 229 percent statewide since 2019.
Then there is the unbridled support by Bridget Fleming of Joe Biden and his economic policies that where real wages have fallen while the cost of living has skyrocketed. In fact, prices have risen so much that the average worker has lost the equivalent of $3,000 in annual income since January 2021!
Bridget Fleming is out of touch, so out of communication that while voting to raise your taxes and give herself a raise, she was being tax-liened for not paying her property taxes. I don’t know about you, but that does not strike me as someone on top of sound fiscal policy!
We need Nick LaLota, an Annapolis graduate and naval officer, a father raising a family on Long Island. Nick is a fiscal conservative who understands the struggles families and seniors are facing.
If you support law and order, adequately funding the police, a bail system that is fair and equitable and that keeps dangerous criminals behind bars, I urge you to vote for Nicholas LaLota for Congress, Lee Zeldin for governor, and the entire slate of candidates on the Republican or Conservative party lines.
East Hampton Republican Committee
October 17, 2022
I am appalled at the nasty attack on our county legislator, Bridget Fleming. Before you weep for me and my sensitive liberal-conservative soul (yes, that’s a thing), I believe in the working woman and man, and I believe in women’s right to choose, and I also believe we have issues at the border not figured out yet. I believe in life without parole for convicted rapists and child abusers and the death penalty for heinous murderers. That said, what I don’t believe in is ambivalence. Get off the fence and have an opinion to drown out the others who are loud and caustic and all over the radio and television and Faceplate and Tweetmeister all the live-long day. Yeah, liberals have balls, too — let’s start showing them. (Not literally, of course.) But this “Kumbaya” moment is so over. I’m not advocating taking to the streets, like the Frankenstein mob with torches and looking for blood. Hell, no, but fuggetabout woke and wake the heck up!
We have been for far too long thinking we can fight fire with Zen. We cannot. They don’t understand Zen. They think it’s a new coffee or yoga mat. Look, I appreciate the passion of youth and the need to change the world. Been there. What I have is something that takes time to embody and, like good wine, to reach its fine stage, as in years of experience on the Earth. I was awake the moment I took a breath; I’m told I wailed like a banshee, and rightly so. The world had problems, even in the summer of 1957. Maybe not in my immediate backyard, but there was segregation, inequality, wrongful imprisonment, police brutality. Hang on, don’t go all “here she goes, with defunding the cops like the rest of the liberals.” No, I don’t utter that phrase, ever, because it’s a sound byte and not a good one. Don’t even go there, bub. I was raised by a cop, a good cop, a 36-year career veteran of the city force, two career cop uncles in the New York Police Department, a cousin, and numerous friends and relations. I support cops who do a very dangerous job, and I mourn the ones we lost to senseless violence and tragedy, not to forget 9/11, which happened in my old backyard.
What I don’t support is “cowboy” behavior, as my father called it, and by that I mean improper vetting, not enough training, and allowing psychos to enter what is a “serve and protect” institution. And then they screw up badly. Tragically. Case closed. Now, back to Bridget Fleming.
This member of our Legislature has done more than the big-mouths, like useless Zeldin, could even hope to achieve in a lifetime. He is a pandering, Trump’s ass-kisser extraordinaire. Hey, hang your Z flags and put up your little lawn signs; he’s still a zero in my book. He couldn’t care less for our East End. He’s done zip. What he has is a media team and a big mouth.
He doesn’t even live anywhere near this ZIP code, so what does he actually know or care about you? Anyway, free country and all, so, “what evs,” as the tweens say. I digress.
Bridget Fleming is for working families, fair wages, business on Long Island, our East End, and the ongoing housing problem. She’s for affordable communities so our kids and their kids can stay. She’s for protecting our democracy and right to vote, protecting women’s rights, protecting our sole-source aquifer (huge issue), stopping the McMansion-building (somebody better), fighting the coastal changes that are damaging our precious resources. She’s for commercial fishermen, and for protecting senior citizens and the future of health care and Social Security. She stands up for and with our vets who served this country proudly and selflessly.
She’s for protecting our community by keeping guns out of the wrong hands and supporting our police as they fight crime. She’s for stepping up our education system so the children have the best educational experience possible and good teachers are supported. And she’s for equality for all, so we don’t lose any more community members when they feel marginalized or bullied for who they are. If this is a bad choice for Congress, then I have entered an alternative universe and the nutters have taken over the asylum. Open your eyeballs.
The American Flag
October 17, 2022
While driving home to Montauk last Sunday afternoon, I passed some vehicles headed west that were carrying huge American and Trump flags. I have no problem with either being displayed. After all, we are a democracy with freedom of speech.
However, I must say that I find it both laughable and sad that Trumpers think that the American flag represents their values and ideology. To the vast majority of Americans, our flag is emblematic of truth, democracy, civil rights, respect for law and order and our police departments, and, most important, the legitimacy of our elections.
Trumpism, despite its flag-waving, represents the antithesis of American values. It despises democracy and prefers dictatorship; it is antisemitic (Remember what Trump’s “fine people” said about Jews: “They will not replace us.”). It despises law and order and police officers (Listen to testimony of Capitol Police regarding Trump’s mob attack on Jan. 6). It ignores reality (Yes, folks, Biden kicked Trump’s buttocks in the last presidential election). And now we have the so-called party of less government telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies.
Do we have inflation? For sure! I hate paying big bucks for my bacon and eggs in the I.G.A. The price of gasoline out here is obscene (always has been). The stock market is in free-fall, but I do not own any stock; no worries there. I have a good job. No worries there, either.
Is Biden sleepy sometimes? Yes, frequently. Is he a great leader and communicator? Far from it, but millions of Americans appreciate those government checks they got during the pandemic. I conclude with this: I would take Sleepy Joe over a treasonous criminal and pathological liar whenever there is an election.
October 17, 2022
Apparently politicians once in office have decided they can do what they want and when they want. This includes both the Democrats and the Republicans. Without going through the many names (for example, insider trading), too many politicians have gotten really, really rich. Hello, Nancy Pelosi, who has decided not to bring to a vote a bill stopping this thievery.
Kathy Hochul believes she can travel on a helicopter and servicemen’s plane whenever she wants on taxpayers’ dime. Chris Christie did as much, also. Ms. Hochul also decided to build her hometown team, Buffalo Bills, a billion-dollar stadium without any input from anyone. She has also created a slush fund to do whatever she wishes with the amount $920 million she could spend however she sees fit, so says her state budget.
New York has the least transparent budget process imaginable with no guidelines. Huge money contracts are given out to large contributors. She feels this is okay. She learned well from Cuomo.
While you’re about to vote, think about this carefully. At the rate of this policy, New York will be broke, and citizens will be leaving to live elsewhere.
In God and country,
October 16, 2022
As the current “make America great again” movement plumbs the depths of egocentric ignorance and stupidity in search of the perfect disaster, there is evidence that this moment is nothing special or unique. Adam Hochschild’s latest opus, “American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy’s Forgotten Crisis,” informs us that we have been there, done that, and learned absolutely nothing.
In our current iteration of “I” over “we,” it is virtually impossible not to see the folly of MAGA and its destabilizing influence on the world. In the 1917 to 1921 period we were not the wealthiest or most powerful country in the world. Our military was smaller than Portugal’s. So, the effects on the rest of the world were significantly smaller than they are today.
To fully grasp the Trump effect of MAGA on the world we can look at the Ukraine war and the insane level of killing and destruction that Putin is raining down on the Ukrainian people because he was best pals with Trump, allowing him to think that only he counted, and screw the rest of the world. Watching Trump’s attempting to destroy NATO gave him a sense that he would have little opposition from Europe. Knowing that he had tacit support from India, China, and Saudi Arabia gave him leverage with Europe’s oil dependence on Russia.
Now OPEC, led by the Saudis, decides to cut back on oil production, which will fuel inflation and enrich Russia’s coffers — the same Saudis who relied on us for protection and support, who had no 9/11 blowback, are giving us a MAGA screwing. Yet, while we export more oil than we import, we refuse to get our oil producing industry together to make the U.S. energy independent.
The Brazilian MAGA movement is another example of our MAGA effect. As the problem of climate change grows more and more serious we refuse to participate in the climate change movement, encouraging Bolsinaro to do the same. So, the Amazon is being raped and pillaged and is, unquestionably, the world’s most imperiled region in the climate struggle. “Good job, Donnie.”
In the midterms, the presence of Herschel Walker and Dr. Oz as candidates for the Senate is a travesty. Two incompetent, unqualified buffoons who have never done a day of public service might get elected to the Senate because they are MAGA morons and will do as they are told, even though they bring nothing but MAGA loyalty to the table, even though the Senate and the House are so bereft of intellect and competence, that adding new idiots to the group can only diminish and tarnish our political system.
MAGA means screw the world, screw everyone but ourselves (we must pretend to never screw each other). Screw the alliances and organizations that have been developed since World War II to avoid world war three. MAGA believes that the world is static and that it will always remain the same. Screwing and hating: This is the profound ahistorical idiocy of intellectual and political retardation. This is what is at stake in three weeks.