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Letters to the Editor for February 24, 2022

Wed, 02/23/2022 - 16:39

Caring Continued
East Hampton
February 18, 2022

Dear Editor,

During the pandemic, heroes should be acknowledged. My hero is the East Hampton Senior Center. At the onset of the pandemic they had to close their doors and stop serving meals. Their caring and some service continued. We were able to receive five frozen meals a week delivered to our front door. There were a few surprises included: a roll of toilet paper when scarce and a mask when difficult to find. When things eased up they reopened with extreme caution — such as wearing a mask when not eating or drinking, fewer persons at each table, and individually packaged cutlery. This was a blessing to so many of us. Due to increased danger they had to close again. Ugh! Now that there is a decrease in cases, the center has reopened. Still, with caution they have begun many activities, including serving delicious hot meals. The kitchen and administrative staff greeted us with unprecedented warmth and caring.

They make us feel special and cared for. I am so grateful for the center staff who singlehandedly made dealing with the pandemic a bit easier.




Brooks-Park Arts
East Hampton
February 21, 2022

Dear David,

The Brooks-Park Arts and Nature Center Committee and the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society would like to thank the 125-plus art lovers and hikers who showed up on a frigid Sunday morning to learn about the Brooks-Park Arts and Nature Center and hike through the adjacent trails. It was the largest turnout in the 45-to-50 year history of the trails preservation society.

Our thanks to Irwin Levy, co-chairman of the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society and a recent addition to the BPANC Committee, for helping us spread the word to the community.

Special thanks go to Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Steve Long of the East Hampton Historical Society, Legislator Bridget Fleming, Senator Anthony Palumbo, Preservation Long Island, Peconic Land Trust, the Springs Historical Society, and the East Hampton Library for their social media outreach to the community. The positive reception we received for the project from the attendees confirms that the arts and nature center will be a welcome addition to the Springs community that already boasts the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, Duck Creek Farm, and the Leiber Museum. The center will feature art as well as nature programs, utilizing the 11 acres that the shed, residence, and studios inhabit.

We commend the East Hampton Town Board for having the foresight to purchase the 11-acre site in 2013 with the community preservation fund. We look forward to continuing our work with the Town of East Hampton to help realize this special project.

For more information about BPANC, visit our website at






Check It Out
February 18, 2022

Dear East Hampton Star,

Phil Schaap, radio host on WKCR 89.9 FM, Columbia university’s radio station, broadcasting from Manhattan Island, hosted numerous radio shows on WKCR for over 40 years. Schaap was legendary in every aspect as a teacher, producer, archivist, musician, and seeker of truth. Phil passed away in September.

While heading west on the L.I.E., when I was in radio range of WKCR’s signal and Schaap’s show “Birdland” would come on the air, I’d exit the highway and find a place to park just to focus on listening to his show all about Charlie Parker.

Schaap would wax poetic, with detailed knowledge of the time and history of Charlie Parker. He would cue up and play an entire side of an LP. Uninterrupted full-length listening, and occasionally, repeat it. Afterword he would speak, excited, in detail of the recording of the track and who was there and what was happening in the world. From Feb. 1 to 6, WKCR celebrated Phil Schaap and broadcasted a marathon of his radio shows. I encourage readers and listeners to check out Schaap and the archive at WKCR.



Fraudulent Process
East Hampton Village
February 20, 2021


The Star’s Feb. 3 editorial about the new trash receptacle procurement piqued my interest. To better understand East Hampton Village’s procurement process, I FOIL’d the relevant documents.

The Star was correct: The bid specification was a “cut-and-paste” job directly from Anova’s online catalog. However, the village specified a “textured black” color, not the “textured bronze” now adorning our sidewalks.

The whole process was a self-fulfilling prophecy as the only company meeting the bid specification was Anova. I’m not sure why the village even published a bid notice. Was it because a sole-source purchase could not be justified? But this never stopped the mayor, village administrator, village attorney, or board of trustees before.

While I can’t comment about aesthetics, the double recycling receptacle design was not wise. (I’m being kind.) It was not designed to be omnidirectional. The decal placements, bonnet angle, and, further illustrated in the catalog, it was anchored horizontally against a wall. Instead, it’s floated perpendicular to the road.

While we may be stuck with aesthetically unpleasing and poorly placed trash receptacles, we should not be stuck with a sloppy, fraudulent procurement process.



Recognize History
East Hampton Village
February 16, 2022

Dear Editor,

I very much appreciated David Rattray’s recent piece discussing East Hampton’s enslavers, and I hope that our village and town do more to recognize the history of the enslaved people who built our town and the Indigenous peoples whose land we reside on.

Instead of our town trustees administering a scholarship named in honor of an enslaver, perhaps they should consider honoring one of the many Black leaders who have helped shape our town, country, and world. Acknowledging history is quite simple and has a profound impact; it is people unwilling to come to terms with it who make it challenging. I hope to see our village, town, and its residents doing more to acknowledge this history and its present-day iterations and impacts every day of the year — and not just in the month of February.




Racist Attack
February 20, 2022

To the Editor:

The Pierson boys basketball team is having an outstanding season.

I attended the Class C championship game at Westhampton Beach this past week, which saw the team clinch the title and move on to the county tournament.

The outcome was never really in doubt after the first quarter, as the boys got off to a fast start and then managed the game for the ensuing three quarters. There was, however, a rather ugly incident from a Pierson fan, which is the reason for this letter.

At one point in the second half a Pierson player committed a shooting foul against an opposing player. As the young African-American player stepped to the free throw line someone in the Pierson stands began shouting multiplication questions. As I was across the gym I could not see the man responsible, but I could hear him clearly enough.

No action was taken against this vile, racist attack on an adolescent, though those around the perpetrator could certainly have identified him by deed if not name.

A quote misattributed to Lincoln is apt: “To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards out of men.”

If the person who perpetrated this racism against a child should happen to see this letter, I would hope you have by now reflected on your actions and are shamed by them.

This incident really took the sheen off a great performance by the young men of Pierson basketball.



Worth Listening To
North Haven
February 16, 2022

Dear David:

Domestic social interactions continue to deteriorate toward absolute stalemate and intolerance, and we see this happening worldwide too. The angry and rigid attitudes seem similar, even if the actual stated issues seem different. Why is this happening? Can we hope for better behavior?

National Public Radio often includes excellent, interesting literary commentary by Joan Baum of Springs. Today, Connor Flanagan of the Southampton History Museum sent out an interview with Joan that focused on the 1905 book “Clansman,” which became the basis for D.W. Griffith’s 1915 silent epic, “The Birth of a Nation.” This interesting talk has some good ideas.

It was extremely interesting to listen to Joan examine these two early fictions in the context of this country’s history of bias — from the Civil War era up to the present. She seeks an understanding of the connections of all this to our darkest national behavior and the related politics over the past two centuries.

Unlike a simple right vs. wrong, or scolding talk, Joan thoughtfully encourages understanding as the truly useful approach to persons who hold true to their shocking actions and beliefs. We need to ask those folks to explain the meaning of their actions clearly so we can understand what they want and stand for. Continuing to just criticize and shame them gets nowhere.

A more productive conversation would seek to understand why some people do what they do, by actually asking them to explain their understanding of their own actions and their expected consequences.

This could be a way to understand and resolve the lingering cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors that once were prominent even here on Long Island, and apparently remain to this time as we see in the news from time to time.

Anyway, I think the time spent to listen to this Joan Baum analysis is well worth it. Her talk can be found on the Southampton History Museum site via:



Flat-Tire Fee?
February 21, 2022

Dear Editor:

For those of us who use and pay fees for the construction-debris area at the Springs-Fireplace Road recycling center, there is a significant problem with flat tires from sharp metallic debris in the vehicle area in front of the dumping shed. Despite the fact that we pay for an annual residential permit and additional weight-based charges for construction debris, we are forced to navigate, sometimes unsuccessfully, a minefield of tiny items that are excellent at producing flat tires! This situation is both annoying and unnecessary.

In the year 2022 we have simple and inexpensive technology that could easily clear this minefield: the magnetic push sweeper. I suggest that daily use by town staff of a magnetic sweeper in this area would significantly reduce the incidence of flat tires. Alternatively, perhaps the town would like to pay resident vehicle owners who use the recycling center a flat-tire reimbursement fee?




Drainage Issue
February 16, 2022

Dear David,

With the upcoming installation of the power lines for the South Fork project on Beach Lane it would be the appropriate time to address the drainage issue in the parking lot and on the street.

Following any heavy rain, at least 10 to 20 parking spots are lost in the main lot due to flooding, and on Beach Lane itself it can be a lot more along the side of the street where parking is permitted. This has been going on for years without any attempts that I know of to fix it.

The Town of East Hampton received $29 million; certainly the town can use this money to address this problem while we experience the inconvenience of the construction project.



Deserves Better
Azpitia, Peru
February 20, 2022

Dear Editor,

There have been so many bad decisions made regarding the Pantigo Place park swindle it’s hard to know where to begin when discussing it.

Let’s begin by asking who decided to give up our precious parkland on Pantigo Place in the first place?

This is parkland that belongs to the people of East Hampton, not just the Little League. We love having our young ballplayers play there, but their coaches, who sat on the “committee,” don’t own it or decide it’s fate. We, the community, make that decision. Not some “committee” of baseball coaches. The committee should have included representatives from other groups in East Hampton: football, rugby, tennis, lacrosse, dog walkers, soccer, swimming, etc. All of these groups, and others, have recreational parkland needs and a stake in what happens to the Pantigo Place parkland.

I personally have been involved with recreation in town for over 40 years. I chaired the recreation committee for the town’s last comprehensive plan in 2005. We created the only comprehensive park plan ever proposed for East Hampton. I was never asked for my opinion or to sit on a committee discussing the relinquishing of our towns recreation park lands. It points out the importance of having an active standing recreation committee in town to prevent just such a travesty as this Pantigo Place Park swindle.

And please let me repeat: location, location, location. It cannot be overstated that giving up a perfectly good central location on Pantigo Place without providing an equitable new property, located in Springs, Amagansett, or Montauk or the east side of East Hampton in return, is disgraceful. This decision by the town board is resulting in a net loss of critical town recreation space.

And let me repeat: If the town cared one wit about our young ballplayers it would not have “maintained” the Pantigo Place ball fields in the condition that you see them today — a disgrace.

So now they have promised our kids a shiny new stadium if they will just agree to move far out of sight — to Wainscott, as far away from our young ballplayers and their families as they can get and still be in the Town of East Hampton. Placing our ball fields that far away from our young user groups is a serious impediment to participation. Our kids couldn’t get to those fields on an e-bike with G.P.S.

The town and its secretive committee have claimed to have looked high and low for an alternative venue for the ball fields but could only find an unsuitable site in Wainscott. Well, no problem, just tell the town and Stony Brook Hospital: “No deal.”

Our community deserves better, and we must not stand for it. And, please, don’t listen to people who have no recreational needs assessment study (they “lost” the one commissioned in 2005) no parks and recreation plan, no vision, and who have shown over the last several decades that they could care less.

And let me state again that there are numerous alternative properties available for our kids’ new ball fields located in their respective hamlets.

I suggest that the Stony Brook emergency center and East Hampton Town Board go find their own property and leave our kids where they are — as the town should have done in the first place



Legal Authority
February 21, 2022

Dear David,

I’m writing regarding a troubling development in our community. It appears a heliport at the Bistrian sand pit approximately only 200 feet off Springs-Fireplace Road near the intersection of Queen’s Lane has recently been expanded, repaved, and repainted. Those concerned can find photos on social media.

The sand pit already creates traffic congestion and noise and spreads dust. You can imagine how that dust will spread even farther with helicopters landing and taking off, potentially causing problems for anyone with respiratory issues who lives or works nearby. In addition, a heliport raises obvious concerns about both noise and water pollution.

I hope the town board follows through on its commitment to fully investigate this situation and ensures current or future use of the heliport complies with permitting, zoning, and environmental laws. Putting aside the question of whether updates to the heliport complied with applicable laws, any expanded use of the heliport presumably would be governed by the town code, which prohibits helicopters from taking off and landing anywhere in the town other than the town airport and Montauk Airport, except in the case of emergencies, and provides for fines and imprisonment in the case of violations.

Proponents of the status quo at East Hampton Airport and aviation interest groups, including out of town corporations, billionaires, lawyers, and lobbyists, have overstated the potential impacts of the town board’s proposal to take local control over the airport. To be clear, the possibility of using the sand pit as a heliport may simply be a ruse and scare tactic to discourage any changes at the airport.

My personal view is that no one in any part of East Hampton should have to deal with commercial helicopter traffic and the town should, and has the legal authority to, ban all helicopters, except for emergencies.




Good Karma
February 21, 2022

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I’m sure you’ve been thinking about the relationship between algorithms and karma as much as I have. Really perplexing, trying to understand it, but so fascinating, right? Sit up, for God’s sake, Mr. Rattray! Okay, obviously the term algorithm doesn’t come up in Hindu or Buddhist teachings. Those teachings about karma refer to the thoughts or actions in a person’s lifetime, whether good or bad, which will result in the rewards (or punishments) that follow that person into their next incarnation. So if I have troubling dreams (uh huh) they could be the consequence of something I did in a previous lifetime. Which is pretty annoying, because how the hell would I know what that might have been? Thank you!

Now ordinary people (you know who you are) will often use the word karma in a nonsectarian way, simply referring to the “payback” that someone might have gotten, or should get, from doing a nasty or inappropriate thing, “bad karma.” For example, I write and you publish my colorful and somewhat inappropriate letter involving Betty White. Then I hear from two wonderful people how offensive that letter was (bad karma). Then I write an earnest apology for writing the letter. Then over a dozen people tell me the original letter was great and Betty would’ve approved (good karma). Our neighbor Matt actually stopped his truck whilst we were on a walk, rolled down his window and offered a quote from Betty: “When she was asked if there was anything in Hollywood she hadn’t done, she replied ‘Robert Redford’ ” (super good karma!).

I know what you’re thinking, Mr. Rattray: “So what about algorithms?” (Or, “Why am I reading this?”) If you look up the definition of algorithm, you will get a headache. But one brilliant mathematician, Pedro Domingos, offers this somewhat helpful shorthand: “An algorithm is a sequence of instructions telling a computer what to do.” Marketers and politicians use algorithms to tell computers how to find us and then tell us what to do. For example, let’s say you went online to Amazon and searched for, then purchased, a pair of mittens. Later, you decided to check your Facebook page to see how many people liked the picture you posted of the bloody paper cut on your finger. But you notice that, magically, there are posts on your “feed” from makers of scarves, mittens, and socks. This thing — I’ll call it Al — has found you! Knows you bought the mittens. Now buy some socks! Is this effect that has been caused by your mitten purchase bad karma or good karma? Depends on whether you need socks (and I’m pretty sure you do, Mr. Rattray).

Another example? Fine. Over a period of many weeks I wrote letters to The Star expressing my support for the closure of East Hampton Airport. In more than one of those letters I mentioned Blade helicopters and the unrelenting noise and air pollution caused by their frequent flights into our airspace, disrupting the quiet enjoyment that should be the right of every resident of our town. Then what happened, Lyle? Suddenly Blade was on my Facebook page, with ads about flying in luxury, hassle-free, to the Hamptons! One ad actually showed an attractive Black flight attendant, dressed in a Blade-red blazer, attending to a blond white woman with a dog on her lap. They were both so happy! And it wasn’t even Black History Month! (My bad karma, for criticizing Blade? Something I did in a previous lifetime? We may never know.)

So let’s stay with the closing of the airport part of this letter. The matter just won’t go away, as multiple lawsuits attempt to prevent the town from doing what it must to take control of air traffic to our community, which would mean first shutting it down even for a few days. The greater good of our land and airspace be damned!

It’s incredibly disappointing that thinking citizens can’t see beyond their personal “entitlements.” The town must control the airport and must restrict the sort of aircraft that enter our airspace in order to accurately measure the impact said control will have on our environment, our economy, and the traffic to neighboring airports. It should be a classic no-brainer. Instead, it continues to be an exhausting struggle between the well-financed interests of a few and the greater needs of our community.

I’m thankful for the strong position taken by The Star on this matter and for Scott Bluedorn’s thoughtful proposals for the 500-plus acres surrounding the site of the airport. In your name, let’s add a modest “artists’ colony” to the site plan, with seasonal residencies, studios, and a gallery for visiting artists. Would be an ideal, quiet environment for creating, once the airport is closed. Good karma, too.

Keep it down,



P.J. O’Rourke
East Hampton
February 21, 2022


P.J. O’Rourke died this week, and the American political universe takes a major hit. What was special about P.J. was his intellect, his irreverence, and his sense of humor, none of which exist in today’s twisted political universe. He was really smart, a great writer and editor, and a profoundly wicked satirist. His conservatism was clear, logic-based, and articulate. He actually believed.

Listening to the Hoover Institution podcast “Uncommon Knowledge,” an interview by Peter Robinson of P.J. and Andrew Ferguson regarding conservative views (all three are renowned conservative thinkers), one gets a sense that there used to be a genuine, intellectual vision of how America functioned and in which direction it was headed. What they all seemed to agree upon was the near-total incompetence of our political class and its lack of interest in getting anything done that didn’t feather their treasuries.

Issues like abortion and gun control complicate the role of government. If you believe in less government, do you want the government to ban abortions while not wanting the government involved in gun ownership? Should the government play a major role in health care or let it founder in costly mediocrity as a marketable commodity? During the pandemic, Trump left it up to the states to decide how to deal with the problem. If we are attacked do we allow the states to choose to participate in the war effort? Or not?

During the “Uncommon Knowledge” discussion they talked about things they got right and things they missed. The vision was always long term. The process an experiment. A work in progress. It was difficult not to appreciate their frankness and their intellect even when I didn’t agree with them.

Listening to Alexandra Ocasio Cortez on The New Yorker hour the politics were different but the intellect and the reverence for the process were the same. She was more hopeful then they were. She came from a deeper, darker place and knew intimately about the pain of hopelessness and despair.

P.J. is gone but his spirit needs to live on. In a world bereft of intellect, truth, or hope we need to embrace the best parts of our history and not destroy the brightness of our future.



Last Holdouts
February 10, 2022

Hello, East Hampton Star editor:

Now that many states and local communities are dropping mask mandates, I may be one of the last holdouts against it. I mean, how will I avoid those friends and colleagues who spit when they talk? Does anyone remember “Say it, don’t spray it”?


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