Caring and Concern
East Hampton Village
June 20, 2022
To the Editor,
Last Thursday, when I was driving out to my house and what I hoped would be a fun weekend, I had the misfortune of joining the too many in the area by having my car hit very severely by what I expect a police report will say was an impaired driver on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton. It was a horrible and scary experience. However, I would like to enlist The Star’s assistance in publicly thanking the people who really came to my help with caring and concern.
A 911 call was responded to by Police Officer Gonzalez and two other officers whose names I don’t have. They were professional and terrific. They gave me good advice, and cared.
In my visit to Southampton Hospital’s emergency room, every interaction that I had was one of genuine concern, caring, and humor. Unfortunately, I only recall the name of Laurence Rubin, who treated me, but the whole team from the people who registered me to the nurses was all great.
Finally, I want to apologize to the nice gentleman in the black car who stopped to ask if I was okay. When you came to me, I was dazed. I thought you were the driver who hit me, and I didn’t appreciate what you were doing at all. I really feel guilty about that.
My family and I are summer residents, though we try to involve ourselves and contribute to the community. In many ways, our East Hampton house feels more like our central home than our legal New York City residence, in part, because the Hamptons are a series of small communities.
The community feeling of the responders in a small town was so nice and they were so welcomed in a rotten time. I hope that this letter will reach some of my heroes that made the experience one of support and caring.
June 15, 2022
Among other unwelcome recent changes at the Amagansett I.G.A. supermarket, a two-way-traffic system has been introduced in the parking lot. This has already caused two accidents that I am aware of, and there have probably been others.
Last Friday an elderly man driving a large sport-utility vehicle hit a small sedan. And yesterday a young woman in a small S.U.V. was hit by a pickup truck. She complained, “He was driving the wrong way!” When the new two-way system was pointed out to her, she said “When did that happen? It’s crazy!”
Many of us agree with her, and we urge the I.G.A. to quickly restore the one-way-traffic system. Future accidents can be avoided. This is a liability issue.
Meanwhile, inside the store, the aisles are now blocked by huge piles of merchandise. Do they think this is Home Depot? There is barely room to squeeze through with a shopping cart.
On top of a poor selection of merchandise, and prices that are considerably higher than other local supermarkets, the Amagansett I.G.A. is becoming a very unfriendly place. What a shame!
At What Time
East Hampton Village
June 20, 2022
To the Editor,
I had planned to vote tomorrow morning in the East Hampton Village election before driving to the city for a late-morning appointment. I had to search quite a while to find out at what time the polls for the village would open. Dan’s Papers came to, well, I can’t really call it a rescue, as the polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Noon! I suspect that will cut out some village residents, as it cuts out this one.
Earlier this year I applied to the Covid vaccination list that the town was offering. I had some problems with their software — this was the first day they were vaccinating — but I succeeded in getting my name on the list. Or so I thought. I never received the call I had been promised. Never.
Is it a wonder that I am beginning to feel somewhat alienated from the town and village in which I purchased a home in 1986, and which has been my principal residence for well over 20 years?
Tang of Spite
June 19, 2022
To the Editor:
It seems that Blade and its gang of cohorts is going rogue on us in its concerted attempts to wreak havoc on the Town of East Hampton financially, morally, and legally. There is a tang of spite and vengeance in the air, aided by a compliant legal system. Consider their public accusations, painting the Town of East Hampton as an evil wrongdoer, defying legal rulings. All this on the flimsiest evidence.
Doubtless, the recent rulings against the town have emboldened them. A recent example of this may be an incident that happened on Friday, on my observation. That day dawned bright and sunny, but thunderstorms appeared around 2 p.m. Did that deter our intrepid helicopter services from business as usual?
Not one bit!
Between 2:30 and 2:38 p.m., during an actual thunderstorm, no fewer than three helicopters came over or near my home, which is two or three miles from East Hampton Airport, giving their occupants what must have been a mind-shaking experience.
Its being a Friday in June, obviously Blade and its fellow services were putting profits before people. No worries — their super lawyers will take care of everything.
P. DAVID FREEDMAN
Bound to Arrive
June 15, 2022
My name is MarieLine Grinda. I’m a local resident of the Hamptons, living in Water Mill. I’ve heard of the fantastic news that a Padel court is to be installed at Herrick Park, hopefully this summer.
I was puzzled by the negative tone of an article I read in your newspaper and felt compelled to reach out to correct the viewpoint of the newspaper. Indeed, as journalists, one would assume curiosity is the driving motor of writing.
Padel is a sport that started in the 1970s in Mexico. It was created as a means for people who felt tennis was too strenuous, walls (in cement back then!) we’re added so the ball would always come back. From a recreational sport, this has now become a worldwide phenomenon which is bound to arrive to the Northeast (finally).
A donated, free court for East Hampton would put the village on the map for being the first place to offer such a huge attraction to so many people who are dying to have Padel courts in the Hamptons, including me.
I’d be happy to answer any questions regarding this sport which I’ve been adamantly playing since I was a child in France. I already know so many Padel players here that we’d fill the court up at all times, specially if there are lights.
June 19, 2022
To the Editor,
We all have a lot to worry about: inflation, recession, falling stock values, Covid, Russia’s war on Ukraine, etc. Why do those of us living in Springs still have to worry about intermittent and failed cell service? The need for improved infrastructure — one new cell tower — has been going on for about seven years!
The latest excuse is that the company contracted to put in a “temporary” tower lacks the parts to complete the job. Why weren’t availability and an installation deadline put into the search and final contract?
Will reliable cell service now be the buck passed on to whenever Singapore, Shanghai, or another Chinese city is completely free of Covid — as their central government insists?
All political scientists agree that government works most effectively on the local level. So where are those responsible here in East Hampton? Isn’t there at least shame or embarrassment about this failure to get a critical, long-overdue job done?
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal explained that (in addition to other issues) poor cell service was a major factor in the confusion that delayed stopping the deranged shooter in the Uvalde tragedy. Does something like this have to happen here in order to put up a cell tower?
How much more study and discussion are needed for officials to (finally!) get this job done? How much more tolerance do voters need?
June 19, 2022
To the Editor,
I am heartbroken again! Once again because of an irresponsible dog owner, we who are, are going to lose our right to take our dogs to the bays and beaches.
I am sorry for the gentleman who was bitten, as it is a life-changing, horrible experience. (My innocent puppy was bitten at the beach and has never been the same since.)
Once again, whether it be because of not cleaning up poop, dogs barking incessantly, or on the loose on the streets, it is the owners who need to be reprimanded, fined, and forced to take a course and pass a test before ever adopting a dog again. Anyone who wants to share a life with a dog should have to do so before. There are no bad dog breeds; there are only bad dog owners. (Are there any bad human breeds? I don’t think so.)
Dogs are like children: They need to be loved, cared for, and raised and trained properly. There are so many abused dogs out there. Please do not punish all dogs or responsible dog owners because of the few who aren’t.
PATRICIA ANHOLT HABR
Leash the Damn Dog
June 17, 2022
I have hesitated to write this letter for years because people have strong opinions about the subject. I’m diving in anyway, as summer is beginning and it’s necessary. Dogs are pets.
I am not a pet owner as of now, I had a cat and he ran away a while ago and resurfaced at the Retreat, where I worked in the late 1990s. His name was Gus. I once co-owned exotic reptiles. Don’t ask. I digress. All my friends, bar two, have pet dogs. They love them: Bella, Bentley, Gaia Grace, Thelma and Louise, Rigsy, to name a few. All trained their pups, and none have jumped on me, barked for no apparent reason, or given me or anyone else a reason to be afraid of them. They don’t have to go everywhere they do, either. They aren’t obsessed with their dogs. All their pups like me and I them.
Why can’t all dog owners, who claim to love their pets, train them? Why not leash them? It’s not good there is no leash law in our town. It’s stupid. Sorry, but if I had changed my babies’ diapers and dumped their poop on the sidewalk or sand at the beach, I’d have heard it from someone. “Rude! Are you a citiot?” (I’m not) or, “What’s your problem?!” Of course, I never would have done so, nor let my kids act feral and free range. (What’s that about anyway?)
Why did my dear, departed Mom have to be terrified because some jerk had to have his Great Dane wander the Amagansett Square one summer day? Mom had a fear of dogs. Maybe one frightened her or she was bitten as a girl, I’m not sure. It doesn’t matter. When I sweetly asked the man to please lead his dog away from Mom, he instead smirked and followed us inside the old BookHampton. Really? Jerk behavior. Mom didn’t see him, but I did, and grabbed her, and we left. Hey, I live here, too.
All my friends leash their dogs when walking them. All scoop their poop. All do not allow incessant barking. Why is this so hard for other dog owners? Why does a man have to be attacked on what is not even a public beach because a careless dog owner lets his pit bull loose? Entitled much? Why don’t I walk my own neighborhood alone? Too many dogs and not enough sensible owners. I drive to walk where there are no dog walkers, near the water.
My friend in Florida was a pediatric nurse for 30 years and also a pit bull owner. She tells me, “You would be shocked at the irresponsibility of some dog owners and the tragedy of children bitten and disfigured. It makes me so angry!”
I am not shocked, because we had an irresponsible dog owner in my married-into family. He refused to listen to all of us telling him to leash the damn dog that summer, or bring him back home. “Mind him,” we said, “There’s children about, and your Husky is not sociable.” Thankfully, the dog ignored all the family babies and kids and vice versa. Not a friendly dog. Beautiful, like a wolf, but not meant for mixing with kids, or at least not this dog, the way he was “trained.” He bit two kids, that summer, one horribly, traumatizing all the family kids who witnessed it, and was finally put down. And my in-laws were sued. Can’t blame the parents of the bitten boy.
My point: Leash the pups. Don’t insinuate your dog on the world. Pick up your dog’s poop. Use sense, or go live off the grid. Don’t expect everyone to be a fan of dogs; it isn’t innate, just like parenthood isn’t. You all like lizards and snakes? I understand, believe me; I wouldn’t subject you to them. Be responsible.
June 19, 2022
I’m writing as the vice chairwoman of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee in response to Jonathan Wallace’s three-week-long negative letter-writing campaign targeting our friend and colleague, Councilman David Lys.
My initial knee-jerk reaction to the disparaging letters was anger but that was quickly replaced by a feeling of deep exhaustion. And I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way. I genuinely believe that the majority of voters, whether they be Democratic, Republican, Independence, or unaffiliated, have reached a collective saturation point with division and drama. We are over the inflammatory rhetoric, finger-pointing, and accusatory labels. We are bone tired and just want leaders who are good and decent human beings. We are seeking out public servants whose care for their communities and constituents is evidenced not by rants and slogans but by actions and deeds. We look to members of our communities who are willing to step up to run for office and once there, roll up their sleeves and do the hard work of getting good things done for the community and country that they love. David Lys is all of these things and that is exactly the reason why he has won each of his elections by resounding margins.
So yes, the East Hampton Democratic Committee has indeed endorsed David Lys and will proudly continue to do so.
Leading the Charge
June 18, 2022
To the Editor:
On Monday night, June 13, at the Amagansett citizens advisory committee meeting, Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc made a false statement, which I am calling on him to correct.
Mr. Van Scoyoc, present as liaison, interrupted me, an invited speaker, with a purported question, whether it was true that Dolphin Drive (where I live) had never been included in the town’s “no parking any time” ordinance when our signs were taken down early one morning in August 2014. He then, in a very dishonorable tactic, would not let me answer, even threatening to leave the meeting, as I attempted to rebut his statement. Incidentally, Mr. Van Scoyoc seemed unaware that, as town supervisor, the First Amendment follows him wherever he goes; he no more has the right to censor an opposing speaker at ACAC than he would during a town board meeting.
This is a particularly dangerous falsehood: repeating a lie that went viral in 2014-2015, that, for 30 years, we had been depriving the public of beach access by criminally printing our own “No Parking” signage. And it is a lie that fomented violence. In 2014 and 2015, beach access advocates screamed threats at our neighbors from inches away.
The assertion about the ordinance is easily proved a falsehood by the town’s own files. In hearings on the removal of the signage the town board held in the fall of 2014, the town clerk testified, and Larry Cantwell acknowledged, that Dolphin Drive had been included in the town’s no-parking ordinance from 1974, when it was dedicated, to 1992, when it mysteriously was deleted, in a “code error,” as a research memo in town files confirms, without a hearing or vote, “no legislative history, no sponsor of a resolution, no resolution at all, no adoption or record of a board voting, no work session, no notice of public hearing nor any public hearing at all.”
The 2014 attack on our neighborhood was an instance of Trumpian tactics before Trump: tell vivid, colorful lies about an out-group, riling up and motivating the base, and then disclaim any consequences. This is even more dangerous now than in 2014, because our nation has gotten more polarized and violent — and because the town supervisor is now leading the charge.
This raises profound questions about what today’s East Hampton Democratic Party stands for. By email to Mr. Van Scoyoc and the town attorney, I called on them to correct the falsehood. I haven’t yet heard from anyone.
Lies on Both Sides
June 20, 2022
I watched the G.O.P. debate and read letters to you in reference to Lee Zeldin. One particular statement has me boggled: When and where did Representative Zeldin vote with A.O.C. to defund the police? This is my main question, but I have more in reference to what he did or didn’t vote for. It seems when campaign time comes around, lies on both sides scream on top of the lungs of candidates.
The president refusing to increase production of oil, gas, food, baby formula, and now, tampons, are all in trouble. Federal projections: We will not go above the 2 percent growth rate for the next three years. Obama years, we never had a gross domestic product over 2 percent. We’re going back to stagflation, better known as Obama’s third term.
Biden on TV lied again, his newest lie — every country is higher in inflation than we are. Facts: Germany is at 7.9 percent. France is at 5.2 percent. Japan is at 2.5 percent. India is at 7.04 percent, Canada and Italy at 6.8 percent. Saudi Arabia is at 2.2 percent. The United States is at 8.6 percent
In God and country,
What Trump Did
June 20, 2022
To the Editor,
In my opinion based on what I have seen in the public hearings and what I read at the time when the events took place, the Jan. 6 committee is putting together a cogent case against Donald Trump for a violation of the criminal racketeering statute. RICO is the abbreviation for the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. A RICO violation requires multiple criminal acts that together constitute a pattern of racketeering engaged in by an enterprise. An enterprise, which can be formally or informally structured, is essentially people acting in concert for the purpose of achieving an unlawful objective.
What we have seen is extortion, fraud, filing of false statements with government offices, and an attempt to induce Justice Department officials to publish a false public statement. The enterprise consists of Donald Trump, certain attorneys working for him, and political operatives and state officials who did his bidding. The particulars are as follows:
First, after exhausting all lawful appeals consisting of recounts and administrative and judicial remedies, President Trump approached election officials in states whose slates of electors he wished to contest and requested that these officials refuse to certify the duly elected electors. When the state officials whom he approached refused his requests on the grounds that it would violate state election law, Mr. Trump publicly pressured these state officials to refuse to certify the electors who were pledged to Joseph Biden and, in doing so, subjected these state election officials and their families to threats of violence by Trump supporters. That is extortion.
There was even a report that Mr. Trump threatened Brad Raffensperger with criminal prosecution — another act of extortion. And bear in mind that although the president of the United States may be the most powerful person in the world, he is not a king and under our system of government he has no authority to prosecute anyone for anything.
Second, Mr. Trump assembled political operatives and state officials in states where he wished to contest the electoral slates and caused these operatives and officials to create phony electoral slates of electors pledged to him and then had at least some of these phony electoral slates filed with the National Archives for transmission to Congress. That is fraud and the offering of false instruments for filing.
Third, Mr. Trump then engaged in a two-pronged attack on our electoral system. First, he attempted to have the acting attorney general and the acting deputy attorney general publish a statement that he knew to be false; namely, that the Justice Department was investigating massive election fraud. He knew this statement to be false because the attorney general, whom he appointed and whose appointment was ratified by the Senate, while he was still the attorney general, advised Mr. Trump that there was no evidence of fraud sufficient to affect the outcome of the election and there was no sufficient basis to investigate further.
While Mr. Trump considered replacing the acting attorney general with an unqualified middle-management type, he did not follow through because he was advised that such a move would cause the mass resignation of the entire leadership of the Justice Department. Mr. Trump could not risk the “breakage” as he called it. I believe that what he meant was such a mass resignation would make a rejection of Biden electors by Congress or the vice president politically untenable.
Fourth, Mr. Trump then requested that Vice President Pence either reject the Biden electors outright in the states where he wanted to claim victory and declare Trump to be the winner of the election or find that there was a bona fide dispute over the validity of those slates, suspend the count, and send those slates back to their respective states with a request for the state legislatures to decide the issue. When Vice President Pence informed Mr. Trump that, based on legal opinions from his official counsel, from respected legal authorities, and from other experienced and knowledgeable sources, as well as his own understanding of his powers under the Constitution and the laws of the United States, he did not have the authority to do what Trump requested, Mr. Trump then engaged in a public pressure campaign that subjected the vice president and his family to threats of violence from Trump supporters. Yet another act of extortion by Trump.
This is racketeering at its most pernicious. It is the attempted takeover of American democracy by the mob. What is even more dangerous is that a third or more of the population believes that Trump was right and that the vast majority of the Republican Party officeholders and candidates either supports, condones, or ignores what Trump did.
Above the Fray
June 19, 2022
Mark Shields died this week. The television and newspaper analyst, Shields was the center-left counterpart to David Brooks on Public Broadcasting.
Shields was honest, straightforward, and really smart. Always a gentleman, always a voice of reason. Shields was uncomfortable in our political world of lies and corruption. He believed that being fair and honest was at the core of his work and working any other way diminished the integrity of his profession.
In contrast to much of the United States media, Shields stood above the fray and separated himself from the white trash that permeated the profession; Shields would never use the term “white trash.” He wasn’t perfect.
He will be missed.