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Letters to the Editor for February 10, 2022

Wed, 02/09/2022 - 16:57

Bound for Patchogue?
East Hampton Village
February 6, 2022

Dear David,

Even before I saw your awareness-raising piece in last week’s paper I had seen the very terrible, alien, new garbage collection receptacles begin to appear and wondered: Had they been bound for Patchogue and delivered to the wrong address?

These costly, inappropriate, bizarre-looking things simply do not belong in our historic village.

We all make mistakes. Let’s start again.

With respect,



Guilty of Discrimination
East Hampton
February 5, 2022

To the Editor:

The village overlords once again have issued a proclamation affecting their inferior status neighbors. East Hampton Town residents. Last year it was ordained that non-residents must suffer an inordinate price raise for beach passes. This year, adding an additional layer of punishment, their newest edict was: “Thou shalt not mail in or appear in person to purchase a beach pass! Thou shalt apply online beginning at one minute past midnight on February the first. Thou shalt pay beyond the $500 annual fee an additional $30 for the privilege of using the online portal! No exceptions! No assistance offered!”

As a result of the latest insensitivity to town resident needs, those people who are computer savvy-compromised (primarily, although not all, elderly), those people who are visually handicapped, those people who missed the wee notice in The Star announcing this new cruel policy, those without computer access, those who hesitated for two days after the deadline, were unable to obtain passes.

Many town residents, some of whom have purchased beach passes for more than 30 to 40-plus years, now have been closed out of the sands, the sea, and the socialization they engaged in daily at Main Beach each summer. They either were unable to navigate the website, had no one to help them, or by the time they found assistance just two days later on Feb. 3, all the passes were sold out.

Clearly the Village Powers That Be are guilty of discrimination against the visually handicapped, the elderly, and the computer compromised. It is unconscionable that the summer recreation fate of a large group of longtime East Hampton Town residents is governed by a village with such insensitivity and cluelessness about their needs.

East Hampton Town resident, a.k.a. village nonresident,



So Much Snow
February 4, 2022

Dear David:

I want to extend my deepest thanks to the East Hampton police and Amagansett Fire Department ambulance company without whose emergency help on Jan 31 I would be in serious trouble.

I wrote earlier to The Star on that day about the Matterhorn of snow deposited in my driveway. After no resulting help from the East Hampton Town Highway Department, I waded up my driveway to try to dig myself out. Was I crazy to try that? You bet. I lost my balance and fell into that snow mountain and could not get out. It was so high and deep I could not get any purchase to pull myself out for quite some time. I finally did make it out and down my driveway back to my house. By that time my chest was pounding and constricted, and I had trouble breathing.  I’m too old to wait out physical distress, so I called 911.

Officer Bramwell from the East Hampton police was soon at my door, but he got there after circumnavigating the snow mountain on foot. He stated that there was so much snow piled in my driveway he couldn’t find it. The emergency medical technicians could not get their equipment vehicle in, so they called a fire department plow to punch a hole through for them.

The two Ed’s (E.M.T.s) were so well trained and extremely competent. I cannot thank them enough for all the medical help they rendered. Blood pressure checks, oxygen measurements, an E.C.G., baby aspirin — all the methods to defuse a potential heart attack.

They stabilized all my out-of-whack vital signs, and luckily I did not wind up in the hospital. They left me with a printout of my slightly erratic E.C.G. to take to my own doctor the next morning.

I am one grateful and lucky local citizen!




Failure to Abide
East Hampton
February 6, 2022

Dear David,

The news of our local leaders testifying in court, standing accused of being in contempt of two court orders, is distressing. From what I read in your recent article, the supervisor’s testimony was evasive and vague at best.

The town’s response to losing the Truck Beach case is childish and small-minded, but the failure to abide by a court order is serious. Democracy only works when leaders obey and enforce the law.

Not reported was the town’s failure to comply with a court order to produce emails and texts. The judge gave the town a second chance. Meanwhile, the taxpaying citizens of the town are footing the bill for the teams of lawyers defending its officials. Maybe if they had to personally front the costs they would feel more accountable for their conduct.




Rogue Airport
February 6, 2022

Dear David:

All five East Hampton Town Board members are to be congratulated and supported in their efforts to bring the rogue East Hampton Airport under control. After years of environmental harm, unending noise, dangerous foul-weather operations by helicopters, and ever-increasing use at all hours by jets the F.A.A. considers too large for the facility, enough is finally too much.

Recent threats made by these out-of-town air pirates and their well-paid army of industry propagandists have made clear what many predicted years ago: If and when East Hampton Airport closes it will not be because of the complaints. Rather, it will be because of airport users’ refusal to acknowledge any role in environmental or physical harm to those below. In short, it is the airport that will close the airport.

Years ago, when discussion about the future of the airport ramped up, I felt sympathy for actual local pilots, many of them friends. It appears now that although many true local pilots realize that their once small community airport is completely out of control, they have been silenced and actually sold a bill of goods by the lines and wires of salesmen, cheats, and liars. There are local pilots and there are “local pilots.”

Perhaps the most disingenuous puddle of crocodile tears shed this week came in the form of pronouncements by industry flacks and “local pilots” that they are ready and willing to work with the town and the F.A.A. to enact meaningful change.

Okay, great, that’s something you could have actually done on your own all along, years ago, by agreeing amongst yourselves to curtail irresponsible use instead of repeatedly attacking those who might have the audacity to suggest a quieter, safer airport.

Did they help when the town attempted to enact meaningful restrictions? No, they sued the town.

“It’s just a few people who complain.”

“You shouldn’t have bought near an airport.”

“Businesses will fail, and nobody will want to come here.”

“Hundreds of local jobs will be lost.”

They get better:

“Closing HTO will make traffic worse.”

“The airport is actually a nature preserve.”

“Electric helicopters will solve your problems and are coming tomorrow.”

And the true winner: “You should listen to and work with the F.A.A.”

The F.A.A. was created and exists to promote air traffic, build airports, and erase local control of airports. The F.A.A.’s definition of noise is laughable unless you are governed by it. The F.A.A. has proven, time and again, who butters its bread.

Again, I thank and fully support each member of the current town board and those before them who are not going to back down to the threats of outsiders and their highly paid lobbyists.

If closing the airport for a few days is too much pain to bear or you fear that the closure may actually have to be a little longer, remember this: People all across Long Island, Queens, and Manhattan have suffered from your industry’s environmental and physical assault for more than a decade. It’s your turn.




Advance Notice
February 3, 2022

To the Editor,

Since the early 1970s, I have been flying a single engine, two-place airplane which I use for aerial photography, and keep at HTO, East Hampton Airport. I am in sympathy with those under the helicopter flight paths whose lives have been disrupted from the inherent noise of helicopters, and have supported efforts to reduce it.

Following the recommendation of the Cooley Law Firm commissioned by the town board to examine the issue, the board voted to close the airport as of Feb. 28 and reopen it on March 4 as a “prior permission required airport.” However, a letter to Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc from the F.A.A. eastern region administrator dated Feb. 2 advises that this is not only an impossible promise to keep, but could take as long as two years at a huge expense to recertify the airport to its present state once it has been closed. This would be completely unnecessary had the board chosen to implement Cooley’s Option 5, which would allow an immediate closing and reopening with no waiting period.

Under the present course of action, I believe that once the airport is closed on Feb. 28 it will be effectively permanently closed thereby leaving those of us who keep our planes at the airport, and those who work there, grounded and out of work. This is wrong and completely unfair.

I believe the airport is an essential benefit to the town, like roads and railway stations, but if the town board truly believes that the majority of the town citizens want the airport permanently closed, and if that was its actual intent all along, then it should simply vote to do so, giving those of us who depend on the airport 12 months’ advance notice to rearrange our lives.




So Close
February 6, 2022

Dear David,

Having so long opposed the airport editorially, it is no time to back down. The New York Post is in your corner with two stories. It would appear that some very rich East Hamptoners, e.g., the likes of Ronald Perelman, Andrew Sabin, and a few others, have been pressuring the town board to adopt this quick close-quick reopen plan for some time now. The F.A.A. has wisely stepped in and issued a strong protest to such a seemingly contrived plan. And what about the ongoing testing of natural resources (groundwater, lead, etc.) supposedly in progress at the airport and around it?

The airport sits up-gradient to Georgica Pond, and many homes and many businesses that are subject to the noise, groundwater contamination, bad air, and a host of undesirable features. It’s high time to close the airport for a much longer period until all of these multitudinous environmental problems are worked out (i.e., if they can be worked out and that will take a long long time! 

David, you and The Star have been right about the airport for many months now, please don’t drop the ball for a few disgruntled millionaires when you are so close to getting what you asked for!



Mr. Penny is the former East Hampton town natural resources director. Ed.


Heart of Wainscott
February 6, 2022

Dear David,      

The largest development in East Hampton’s history is now before the planning board. Everyone who enters our town will pass this multi-industrial complex and realize that our beautiful but environmentally fragile character will never be the same.

The complex is located in the heart of Wainscott along the north side of Montauk Highway. This 70-acre parcel is aptly known as the Pit and is twice the size of the Bridgehampton Commons mall. Unfortunately, it also lies over the deepest water recharge area within our town and serves as the only drinking water source for Wainscott and East Hampton. Any runoff from the possible 500,000 square feet of buildings goes toward Georgica Pond.

The most recent submission by the developer shows 50 industrial lots and does not reflect the recommendations of the Wainscott hamlet study. The potential traffic impact generated from this commercial-industrial complex will require one or two roundabouts (traffic circles) on Montauk Highway, certainly not what one would expect to navigate in rural, residential Wainscott.

Other serious concerns are the possible uses involved in the commercial-industrial zone. This immense development would allow industries that could generate large heavy trucks and other vehicles coming out onto Montauk Highway and spinning around the traffic circle(s) and, in addition, polluting our aquifer. The potential uses allowed are air terminal (interestingly just when the town board is looking to cut back on helicopter noise at the airport), truck transfer station (the dangerous spin in and out of heavy traffic would be like trying to get on a moving merry-go-round), exterminator supplies, fuel storage tanks and terminal, scrapyard (smack dab over our only drinking water supply) and animal husbandry. (Where that use came from I have no idea — our early Wainscott farmers?)

Every resident and visitor should be aware of the possible negative visual, health, and safety impacts from this immense application. The planning board has required an environmental impact statement from the developer. The first draft of that required document was found insufficient by the board. The key here for the planning board, in order to fulfill the standards of the environmental impact statement, is to insist that alternative designs of the subdivision be submitted and the uses listed above be eliminated due to the negative health and safety impacts to our residents and visitors.

Stay tuned.




Going to Benefit
East Hampton
February 6, 2022

To the Editor,

We want to take a minute to express our thanks to East Hampton Town and the East Hampton Little League board for the time and thought going in to updating our Little League fields for our softball and baseball players.

The players are going to benefit in so many ways. Having turf fields allows them safer conditions to play on especially after rain. It also allows games to continue and not have to be rescheduled, which eases the burden on busy families, the umpires traveling out here, and the East Hampton Little League board. The turf will be easier to maintain, and the pesky tick situation will be drastically decreased.

For those kids who play travel ball, having turf will even the playing fields for them, as a majority of UpIsland fields are turf.

As a baseball and softball family we look forward to seeing and playing on the new fields.




A Disadvantage
East Hampton
February 6, 2022

To the Editor,

As a parent of a child who has played travel baseball for eight years, I have seen that most of the baseball fields west of the canal and in the Northeast are turf fields. Having a grass field is a disadvantage because the teams we are competing with up west have access to turf fields and can practice throughout the year, with the exception of snow. Turf fields are playable an hour after it rains, whereas a grass field can take days to dry out.

East Hampton High School has a turf field for baseball and a clay field for softball. Having the turf fields gives the softball program a chance to play year round and be competitive as well.

I support using turf as opposed to grass, so our kids have the opportunity to play at the same level as our competitors. We should have the same facilities as those we are competing against.

Thank you,



Ballplayers’ Exile
Azpitia, Peru
February 6, 2022

To the Editor,

Thank you, David, for your editorial “Missteps Began Early on Plastic Field Plan,” once again pointing out that giving away our communities’ precious recreational park space is an inexplicable disaster.

Giving away the Pantigo Place ball fields in exchange for a vastly inferior location far away from most young ballplayers in our community is criminal. The details are spelled out in your editorial. This town board has been neglectful of our local sports enthusiasts for years and you need no more proof than this contemptuous little plan with all of its moving parts. The neglect is continuing despite our protestations.

We have all heard the town board herald its purchases of farmland with the “best soil in the country.” Most recently, in Amagansett, 17 perfectly located acres were purchased with our community preservation fund money at nearly a million an acre, adding one more potential park site to a considerable list of usable parkland on the east side of town. Great soil and centrally located, perfect for several new natural-turf ball fields. But our kids apparently are not important enough, and a park was not even considered on the new site. Once again, our youngsters were kicked to the curb.

Instead, this town board is determined to send our young ballplayers into exile in Wainscott — to the far end of Stephen Hand’s Path, far from where they live in Springs, Amagansett, Montauk, and East Hampton north, and certainly where there are no “prime agricultural soils” on which to grow healthy, natural turf. The town has offered them plastic instead.

As The Star points out, the town board chose years ago not to follow the recreation plan put forth by the recreation committee in the 2002 Town of East Hampton Comprehensive Plan. As a matter of fact, there is no more standing recreation committee, its having been disbanded nearly two decades ago.

The rec committee might have been able to prevent this debacle were it still existing. Instead, this town board has chosen to use its own ad-hoc planning method, and this boondoggle is a perfect example of how well that is working out.

This entire enterprise is unconscionable, and it is time for the East Hampton Town Board to stop this charade, change course, and select one of many other more suitable locations to put the children’s ball fields — And to replace in kind the recreation land that they have so recklessly given away. Our community deserves no less.



Plastic Turf
East Hampton Village
February 3, 2022

To the Editor,

I was impressed by the sheer number of letters you received this past week opposing the use of artificial turf, i.e., plastic turf, on the new playing fields. I couldn’t agree more with the consensus, but it also set me to wondering whether, if the plastic strips in the renovated Town Pond, which is looking terribly forlorn, were to be replaced with wood elements, which the plastic is reported to have replaced, I wonder if the pond would then be able to heal itself?



Loud Performances
February 6, 2022

Dear David,

Christopher Walsh, Star reporter, gave a comprehensive review of the recent town board discussion regarding the special events committee. After watching the meeting and reading his article, it appears that the discussion didn’t include any suggestion about sound amplification, which has caused controversy and complaints from gatherings approved last summer.

The town should take real action to quiet down summer events. Notably, the special events discussion didn’t address loud performances like the marching band and rock concert that were permitted last summer on the Novogratz property. Mr. Novagratz first proposed a private party hosting a rock concert and a large marching band. Facing some resistance, the event was repackaged and approved (under the name of a party planner) as a benefit for Project Most. Mr. Novagratz donated some $50,000 to the charity. For a bitcoin billionaire, it was a small gratuity to get the party he wanted. Some of my neighbors on Marine Boulevard complained about the volume of the music heard here.

Here is a simple suggestion: The property owner’s name (a real person, not just the name of a legal entity like an L.L.C. or party planner) should be disclosed on all applications and board resolutions. Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, as liaison to the committee, introduced the resolution for the Novogratz application, approving the party in the name of an unknown party planner — $50,000 bought anonymity and the large party the billionaire wanted.

The supervisor, never one to miss making friends with billionaires, later publicly supported marching bands and was quite enthusiastic about supporting party events featuring them. Questionable leadership at best.

To date, the committee has operated with no transparency. At least at Tuesday’s work session discussion there appeared to be a start. Our town board should take concrete action to enhance residential peace and quiet and tighten the rules. Marching bands and performing rock concert celebrities may be fine with the supervisor, they don’t belong at East Hampton summer parties.

Last summer, Jeff Bragman was outspoken in his efforts to calm the community down, and was critical about the Novogratz charade. His replacement on the special events committee is Cate Rogers, who so far has been completely compliant on all issues. I will be watching to see if concrete action is taken to return peace and quiet to our town. Time will tell!



Pain and Suffering
New York City
February 3, 2022

Dear Editor:

While the Jan. 27 article about hunting in the Hamptons (“An Old Tradition in the Modern Age”) offers several reasons why people kill deer, including sport and nostalgia, it makes no mention of the pain and suffering endured by the victims and their families. It also begs several questions: Is hunting really a sport if one team doesn’t know that it’s playing? If humans paved over the deer’s habitat, then aren’t we the “nuisance”? By exterminating their predators, didn’t we create the overpopulation of deer? Can’t we drive more slowly, in order to reduce the number of collisions? And, finally, can’t we find a less-inhumane way to manage the deer population than allowing people who are thirsty for blood to hunt them down with their weapons?



East Hampton
February 6, 2022

To the Editor:

Regarding, “An Old Tradition in the Modern Age,” Jan. 27, “Tradition, tradition. . . .”

There are many myths surrounding “traditions,” which, generally speaking, are beliefs or customs handed down from one generation to another that reinforce societal or family identity and values. Some, like public or religious holidays — Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, putting up a Christmas tree, ethnic family dishes — undergo changes over time, yet hang on in some form, because established rituals remain important; but times do change as mankind evolves, and with them, so does the world. Thus, like so many other things in life, countless traditions have faded into the dustbin of history, because the original need or purpose has changed, social consciousness and mores have evolved, and new laws have been created to memorialize these changes; gone are public hangings in the town square; the abolition of slavery; children working in coal mines; women subjected to arranged or childhood marriages; prohibition of same-sex marriages — to name but a few.

Hunting, “an old tradition” based on survival, putting food on the table, is no longer that in most of today’s world of supermarkets, fast food restaurants, and Amazon. Instead, it’s called a “sport” by those who still engage in what is considered by so many others a despicable act. But truth be told, hunting is not a sport. “It is a life-and-death matter involving the deliberate killing of wildlife, legally owned by all of us in common.” Sport, as a rule, involves only participants who choose to take part and who understand the object, skills, rules of the sport. With hunting, the key participants — the nonhuman targets of the human participants — do not know they are participating and do not choose to do so. They don’t know the rules or regulations that govern hunting or that the object is to kill them. Sportsmanship requires the knowledge and consent of all participants, so, killing for fun, indicative of the utmost disrespect for life, is largely rejected in a civilized society; and, hanging on to the “good old days” or “bonding with the boys,” “getting out in nature” are all pitiful and sorry excuses for killing innocent wildlife.

Most beloved traditions remain because they lend positive value to our identity — a connection to our religious practices, our family, the history of our forebears or country. They recall acts and events that were heroic or once served a meaningful purpose. Sadly, hunting — a dying industry, among other animal-abusing “traditions” — remains embedded in law, and defies changes in spite of evolving social values and in acquired knowledge and understanding about animal sentience. There is moreover, a denial of the hideous violence, a lack of empathy, and the absence of recognition that hunting is killing that has morphed into something that is by its very nature, violent, destructive, and purely self-serving.

The benign photos depicted in The Star’s recent puff piece, “An Old Tradition in the Modern Age,” along with the laughable use of the word “harvesting” (the process of gathering in planted crops), rather than the killing of a living being, belies the sad reality and truth about hunting — the pain and suffering of mortally wounded animals, the blood and dead bodies of those slaughtered leaving families orphaned, the narcissistic self-deception and lies which are all too common in this age of misinformation and violence.

There’s no such thing as an ethical hunter! Forget hunters’ feeble rationalizations and trust your gut feelings: Making sport of killing is not healthy human behavior.

“I go to the woods and hunt all the time — I hunt with a camera. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.” — Cornwall’s Voice for Animals


President, People for the End of Animal Cruelty and Exploitation


Profit From Crimes
February 5, 2022

To the Editor,

As a child in the 1940s and 1950s, I often heard that “crime doesn’t pay,” but as an adult I have learned that, oftentimes, crime does pay. The latest example of a criminal allowed to ultimately profit from crimes committed (even though caught and convicted) is 57-year-old retired M.T.A. employee, Thomas Caputo of Holbrook.

Despite having been paid almost half a million dollars in 2018 salary alone — as a result of, in U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer’s own words, “a feeding frenzy of overtime fraud” — which stole from the Long Island Rail Road and indirectly from riders and taxpayers for more than a year, he will be imprisoned for less than a year, and he will only have to pay back a mere $19,000 of his ill-gotten gains.

This over-lenient sentencing is disappointingly surprising given that the judge himself admitted that “the amount of overtime you claimed was eye-popping, bordering on impossibility” (3,864 supposed overtime hours on top of 1,682 regular hours — equivalent to working 15 hours a day for each and every one of the 365 days in the year). Caputo told a colleague that he was “going to (expletive) the L.I.R.R. and make as much money as I can before I retire.” His own defense lawyer admitted that his client’s overtime was “brazen” and that he probably stole more money than his required $19,000 restitution. Sentencing guidelines called for 10 to 16 months in prison. He was paid for hundreds or thousands of “work” hours, when he was actually home with his family, sleeping, or bowling. His unearned “earnings” illegitimately padded his pension payments (which New York State’s inadequate laws allow him to keep).

And after serving a mere eight months in a low-security prison, this 57-year-old thief might now enjoy his sinfully-padded pension for more decades than he worked to “earn” it. This is neither justice nor a deterrent for future L.I.R.R. employees.



Was a Setup
East Hampton
February 6, 2022

Dear Mr. Editor,

I don’t see your boat at the rear of The Star; I was hoping to get a peak at the progress of your varnish work. On a more serious note, your editorial “Democracy in Danger” is right out of the think tank at CNN or MSNBC: warped and obtuse. Not sure who the writer is but he or she isn’t interested in democracy as we know it. “When a mob of supporters of the loser” surged into the Capitol, you left out the fact that they were waved and ushered in by the Capitol Police. I believe it was a setup, don’t you think? Are those guys really police officers? I wouldn’t let that guy with the tattoos sprawling up his neck guard my wood pile.

If I had any say, I would want to investigate Nancy Pelosi for dereliction of duty. She and she alone is responsible for the safety of the Capitol. “One of the darkest days”? Hardly. The darkest moment that day was when an unarmed female protester was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer; now there’s something to investigate!

Your editorial speaks of voter suppression. Oh, you mean asking for a legal identification to be able to vote? If that’s voter suppression, then I’m for it. I’m a believer of one vote, one day, one person. Anyone who can’t make it in person can request an absentee ballot in advance. I mean, if you can’t get up off your big ass and vote in person just out of respect for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that you can vote, then you’re in the wrong country. Your people speak of an “insurrection”; let me describe an insurrection. Five thousand armed members of the National Rifle Association kidnap Donald Trump. They storm the Capitol and take over. They reinstate him as president and remove all the empty suits. That is an insurrection! there is a very interesting documentary on the horizon, “2000 Mules,” watch for it. I do not approve of the events of Jan. 6, but antifa and Black Lives Matter have done far worse to our country.

As always, yours to command,



Violent Mob
February 6, 2022


That the leadership of the law-and-order Republican Party declared the Jan. 6 violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol with deadly results “legitimate political discourse” must be as jaw-dropping to the Republicans I’ve known all my life as it is to me.  



Riot, Plain and Simple
East Hampton
February 4, 2022

Dear David:

The G.O.P. has danced as fast as possible to detach itself from the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol and the ensuing deadly violence. First, it wasn’t Trump supporters that made up the thousands that Americans watched assault law enforcement and then invade the Capitol with the goal of overturning the electoral vote count and perhaps harming congressional representatives. When that charade didn’t work, it denounced the violence as being carried out by “antifa.” Then it was a “false flag” operation organized by the F.B.I. And, after that farce was exposed, the G.O.P. blamed the Democrats for the assault. The common thread running through each of these excuses is that the G.O.P. (with some fringe lunatics excepted, who thought it looked like a normal tourist day) recognized that the violence America witnessed was repugnant to America and the American system of government; it just professed that neither it nor Mr. Trump was to blame.

Now, having run out of farces to parade before Americans, the G.O.P. has done a turnabout and embraced the violence we all watched and has given it a new moniker: “legitimate political discourse.” So, instead of decrying the violence as someone else’s fault, the G.O.P. has taken ownership of that deadly day and has branded it as a day all Americans should celebrate.

Legitimate political discourse: The G.O.P.’s new tack is a greater insult to the intelligence of all Americans than any of the other fabrications. This wasn’t anything like the Boston Tea Party; instead, it was an attempted coup by a sore loser that turned into a violent riot, plain and simple. And remarkably, the G.O.P. believes that we are all either so stupid or so enthralled with a Cheez-It (the former guy) that this will be swallowed hook, line, and sinker as truth.

You have to go back to the presidency of James Buchanan who, among other noxious things, embraced slavery and went so far as to opine that enslaved Americans, even if freed (his presidency preceded and fomented the Civil War), could never be citizens, to find anything approaching the repugnancy the G.O.P. would now foist upon us.

Let’s see what our local Republican leaders have to say about this. We haven’t heard from Manny Vilar, who so often has worn his “respect” for law enforcement on his sleeve, in a long time. Will he have the courage to announce that his local G.O.P. representatives find repugnant the position taken by the national party? How about our wanna-be governor and protector of law enforcement, Lee Zeldin; will he come out and denounce the position staked out by the R.N.C. that the Jan. 6 assault was legitimate political discourse?




Democracy Referendum
East Hampton
February 6, 2022

To the Editor:

Legitimate political discourse — those words are likely to reverberate through the coming years. The question is, will they be the words that galvanize Americans of good will to stand up for our democracy, or will they be just three more words added to a long list of those thought to be the final straw?

The ongoing findings of the House Select Committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol have made it astonishingly clear that Jan. 6 was meant to be the day on which American democracy died, when the results of a free and fair election were overturned. That the Republican National Committee deemed the House investigation to be persecuting “ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse” is beyond appalling. Rioting because you don’t like the outcome of an election is not legitimate. Viciously assaulting police officers is not legitimate. Trashing the Capitol is not legitimate.

The Republican Party has not just abandoned democracy, it has bludgeoned it again and again under the aegis of Donald Trump.

This year’s election should be about the many critical issues facing us — the economy, green energy, criminal justice reform, voting rights, the climate crisis. Instead, the election will be a referendum on democracy: Do we, the people, continue to elect our own leaders, or do we succumb to Trump and his G.O.P. accomplices?

Some of the people we elect this November will be in positions that affect the outcome of the 2024 elections. These officials must be true to their oaths of office and uphold the will of the American people. We cannot elect representatives like Lee Zeldin, who on Jan. 6, 2021, voted to throw out the votes of fellow Americans. We all have skin in the game. Contribute in whatever way you can — volunteer to register voters, urge neighbors and friends to vote, be an Election Day poll worker, support Democratic candidates at every level of government.

Democracy is on life support; we cannot let Republicans pull the plug.




Tense Exchange
February 6, 2022

Dear David,

There was tense exchange between border agents and their boss, Raul Ortiz, during Alejandro Mayorkas’s visit. The agents have seen and heard enough and are starting to push back against the leadership. Joe Biden has gone all the way with open borders, this is not sitting well with the agents, tasked to protest the border.

Angry and frustrated agents greeted Mayorkas, on tour, at almost every stop. Border Patrol Chief Ortiz admitted that morale is at an all-time low. Good men are doing nothing. We’re being held back to do our job.

According to Fox News, a Republican state representative, Bruce Griffey, introduced a bill that would require illegal migrants to be moved to locales that might finally get the attention of high profile Democrats and explore their hypocrisy when it comes to the true consequences on the ground of the open border policies.

The Biden administration is quietly moving thousands of illegals to various states, by putting them on planes and buses and transporting them in the middle of the night; however, Griffey explains, return them to sender. I imagine that if we relocated them to the backyards of those responsible for allowing the floods of illegal immigration across our border, then those with federal power might be more apt to secure the border and secure it quickly.

You should hear Jen Psaki’s answer to all of this: excuse after each lie told. These migrants should be shipped to Rehoboth, Md., and Greenwich, Conn., Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and Newport, R.I. It’s really strange no illegal sent to the above. Not in my backyard, sound familiar?

In God and country,



Burning Books
East Hampton
February 6, 2022


In the Middle Ages in Europe, book burning was a cleansing ritual that eliminated the content of the books from the existing culture. Once burned, whatever was between the covers ceased to exist. In the United States we have made significant progress over the past 500 years. We no longer burn books — we ban them.

Books about racism, genocide, the Holocaust, communism, and socialism with any reference to U.S. history are being banned to protect our children from learning about large swaths of our less than glorious history.

The book bannings seem to coincide with the increase of anti-Semitism and the violent reaction to institutional racism as part of our culture. In North Dakota, books about racism are permitted as long as they don’t reference institutional racism. In Oklahoma any reference to the violence of racism that might traumatize schoolchildren is not permitted.

Sanitizing real-world problems has become so popular that we even reference Jan. 6 as a unthreatening peaceful protest. Denial as a function of delusion is the perpetuation of society with no moral compass. Banning the dissemination of information in our information world is a perversion of everything we are supposed to stand for. It’s analogous to embracing Christianity without Jesus.

There is nothing to do about anti-Semitism in the U.S. except to condemn it as criminal and inhumane. Jews are not and have never been oppressors of Christianity. Their laws wouldn’t permit them to use Christian babies for sacrifices, and Jesus was a Jewish prophet. Being anti-Semitic is like hating chocolate chip cookies: don’t eat them.

The history for Black and Indigenous people is abominable. It is a part of our history and our culture that speaks to our ability to dehumanize and brutalize without remorse. It is a function of our government and especially our churches. It needs to be addressed, not denied.

We are not supposed to be perfect. Not to be held at a higher standard than the rest of the world. Yet our Constitution calls us to be something special, to lead the world from darkness to light. To set an example for kids all over the world, including our own. Banning books is a leap into the darkness. Don’t turn off the lights. Perpetuating ignorance means perpetual racism.


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