July 2, 2022
After attending LongHouse events for the last 25 years, I could not have imagined how wonderful this current season has been. Jack Larsen would have been thrilled to see the excitement and joy on the faces of visitors, both returning and newcomers, as they discovered the hidden gems of the LongHouse gardens. Where else can one sit and enjoy birdsong and landscaped beauty while listening to a string quartet playing music from a living composer visiting from Berlin? That was an evening to remember! And the Pride event was beyond description. Jazz, a dance performance, summer wine, blooming flowers, coupled with a perfect summer evening, were a dream. If past events are any indication of the future, then the upcoming benefit should be a showstopper!
I can’t help but think that the last thing Jack would have wanted is for anyone who loved these gardens not to continue to enjoy this amazing sanctuary. Thank you to all for giving us the LongHouse. Looking forward to moving forward.
July 4, 2022
To the Editor,
As a taxpayer in East Hampton for nearly 20 years, I am appalled at the town’s flagrant disregard of the court’s order regarding the “Truck Beach” litigation (which was upheld on appeal).
I hope that the inhabitants of East Hampton realize how rare it is for a court to issue a civil contempt order, not to mention the criminal contempt the court found the town’s conduct to rise to.
The town’s actions and inaction have cost us nearly a quarter of a million dollars in fines, not to mention the homeowners’ attorneys’ bill which, when submitted to the court, will likely be tremendous, due to the weeks-long contempt hearing that was necessitated by the town’s failure to comply with the court order.
Everyone who pays taxes out here should be similarly outraged.
The town needs to stop inviting needless and costly litigation. Its conduct is the subject of another contempt motion in the airport litigation, which I am a party to.
I don’t know why the town thinks it’s above the law nor do I understand why it insists on taking unilateral action that is sure to end up in the courts.
This has to stop. If the officials responsible for these messes don’t resign, they should be fired — on Election Day.
EDMOND C. CHAKMAKIAN
The Party Line
July 1, 2022
To the Editor:
I was fascinated by Anna Skrenta’s letter about me in the June 23 Star — as a literary document.
Anna Skrenta is the vice chairwoman of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee. In earlier letters, committee folk cheerfully take on assignments attacking anyone who speaks independently, contradicting the party line; as an exercise, try looking up letters to The Star trashing Jeff Bragman, then check whether the writer was a committee member. However, her halfhearted letter does not succeed either in attacking me or even supporting David Lys.
The best Ms. Skrenta can say is that she is “bone tired” of the “rhetoric.” I flash on the wonderful scene in “Cyrano de Bergerac” where the hero counsels a challenger how to do a much better job insulting him. She could have called me, oh, I don’t know, a loner, an outsider, idiosyncratic, “from away,” or, as the screamers called me in the Dolphin Drive blowup seven years ago, a “wealthy elitist,” or even, as the town Democrats’ new soul partner, Reg Cornelia, once colorfully did, a “Stalinist.” (“Wealthy elitist Stalinist” is an interesting combination.)
What makes her exhaustion so funny, is that I was minding my own business, looking mesmerized out my window (at the dune, by the way) — I hadn’t even written a letter to The Star in years — when David Lys came into my neighborhood uninvited, to reactivate a malicious parking plan that would erode the primary dune, obviously aimed at the Trump base, and which was sold by its advocates a few years ago with screaming and lies. Then, when I raise my voice in protest, Ms. Skrenta says that I am making too much noise.
We deserve better Democrats — with more commitment to the environment and the First Amendment — and less obedience.
Not Your Own Facts
East Hampton Village
July 4, 2022
I’d portray last week’s NewTown Party letter as incredible poppycock. Except for thanking Tiger Graham, every declaration was fallacious, if not fraudulent. If the letters were fact-checked, Jerry would be buying an ad to spout these untruths.
Jerry, as I’d told you before, you’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. The offer to extend arms across fences and hedges to create a real community is admirable. Unfortunately, your fences are barbed wire and the hedges are thorns.
As for newly elected trustees, did you ever reach out to The Star for an editorial board meeting? Responsible journalism is essential, but government transparency and public discourse are more important. I hope you are mindful of that.
Not Their Role
July 4, 2022
The First Amendment of our Constitution states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. Freedom of the press was protected because the press was seen as there to serve the governed, not the governors.
It was seen as critical to a democracy in which government is accountable to the people and should function as a watchdog that can investigate and report on government wrongdoing.
It’s within that context that I find Sarah Amaden and Carrie Doyle’s June 27 letter to The Star (“Look Forward”) so troublesome. These two newly elected East Hampton Village trustees of the NewTown Party exhibit an astonishing lack of understanding of our history, the Constitution, and the role of a free press in the country and in our town.
It’s not their role to lecture Mr. Rattray as editor of The Star — or any editor of any paper, for that matter — on what they believe that editor’s accountability should be.
In their own words, Amaden and Doyle state: “And now, Mr. Rattray, we ask of you, as the editor of this newspaper, to also be accountable. We request that your suppositions, insinuations, and assumptions are not attributed to us as fact. You mislead your readers. Your readers should be aware that you have never picked up the phone to call us, never spoken to us, never interviewed us, and never verified any beliefs you have ascribed to us.” Amaden and Doyle have it exactly opposite to the Constitution’s intent and what this country’s democracy is all about.
Their job is to legislate and attempt to govern — not to be a watchdog of the press and decide how and whether the press should be held “accountable” to their own political interests and views or are reporting them in ways that they do or don’t approve of.
Mr. Rattray’s role is one of using high journalistic and investigative standards to be a watchdog for the public good. He’s obligated to no politician to call or interview them.
Amaden and Doyle’s comments begin to take on a Trumpian authoritarianism and abuse of the press: misleading readers, opinions not based on fact, etc. It’s a short, slippery slope to the neo-fascist Trumpian language of fake news, the press as the enemy of the people, a “post-truth” age of “alternative facts,” etc. Does East Hampton really need that of its newly elected political leaders? Is that what they were voted into office to represent?
This is not about right or left, Democrats or Republicans, NewTown Party, or any other political party.
What an inauspicious, negative, bullying, and divisive way to start a period of governing. People of good will in East Hampton of whatever political background should agree that this is not the way we should be governing our community.
The highly respected, independent, investigative American journalist I.F. (Izzy) Stone had one unifying theme and dictum in his seven decades of exposing deception and official lies by digging deep into government documents and transcripts: “All governments lie.”
Stone was not invited to White House press conferences but didn’t mind. He famously said, “There’s a lot of things those journalists know that I don’t know, but a lot of it is wrong.”
“To be able to spit in their eye and do what you think is right and report the news and have enough readers to make some impact is such a pleasure that you forget what you’re writing about. You become like a journalistic Nero fiddling while Rome burns and having a hell of a good time — like a small boy covering a hell of a big fire. And you forget, you forget it is really burning.”
Stay strong, Mr. Rattray. We need The Star’s independent journalist’s voice — now, more than ever.
July 3, 2022
Upon seeing John Ebel, a.k.a. Chopper, in person for the first time in 20 years, I couldn’t help but wonder where he had been. But after reading his Buck Rogers fishing fantasy starring the Baron, Billy Leonardo, his take on what it is to be a man, and his attack on Capt. Rick Etzel, I can only hope the Chopper’s return to reality is successful.
Wish Him Well
July 1, 2022
To the Editor,
While not usually a reader of fiction, I happened to read the letter by a carpetbagger named Chopper. He is not a commercial fisherman; I am. My friend Billy is laying in the bed he spent his whole life making for himself. I wish him well. I will give him nothing. On another note, congratulations to the Montauk boatmen’s association on the thinning of their ranks.
CAPT. MIKE SKARIMBAS
July 2, 2022
To the Editor,
The TV series “Law & Order: S.V.U.” has for 20-plus years opened with this narration: “In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit.”
But, based upon the U.S. Department of Justice investigation of the New York Police Department’s apparent mishandling of such cases, the real life narration, for the past 10-plus years, should have stated: “In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are NOT considered especially heinous. In New York City, the detectives dedicated to ‘shaming the victims, abusing the survivors, and re-traumatizing them during investigations’ are known as the Special Victims division. Their stories are appalling, disgusting, shocking, and outrageous.”
It’s a shame that actors Mariska Hargitay’s and Chris Meloni’s fictional characters, Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler, could not have been investigating these crimes using proper basic investigative steps, while helping the victims of these rapes, sexual assaults, and cases of child abuse for the past decade.
Very Small Minority
East Hampton Village
July 4, 2022
Dear East Hampton Star,
Many may have been wondering where I’ve been recently. Let’s just say that I’ve had family matters to attend to and they have been filling my time.
What I want to express in this letter is just how disappointed I am in the recent behavior of the SCOTUS. It was no surprise to me that Roe v. Wade was overturned. The writing has been on the wall for it practically since it was enacted, but thinking back on its history, I remember one of many days when my English teacher Marvin Turbin explained the significance of Roe and, more important, why the decision fell as it did. It was one of the very first lessons I got in civics.
What he told us was that those who govern us in the United States, though they may be elected to speak for a specific demographic or state, are supposed to do their best to make laws which disenfranchise the fewest people if at all possible. Legal abortion in the United States was very new, and despite the fact that we were all under the age of 10, Mr. Turbin felt it was incumbent on him to explain and he used it as an example.
No woman ever really wants to have an abortion. Let’s be clear about that. Yet many find it necessary for both psychological and especially medical reasons. The only people I know who want abortion to be illegal are incredibly religious people, specifically of certain Christian sects, who believe that abortion of any kind and even contraception is murder. They represent a very small minority in this country today. What’s more, biology and medical science tell us that it is necessary to keep the possibility of abortion legal so that women have the choice. Remember that no one is forced to have an abortion by this law. Those who claim to be hurt by other people having abortions are deluded. The only reason the “hurt” is that they are meddling in the private affairs of someone else and getting worked up over something over which they have no power.
This new Supreme Court, created by Donald Trump, with a bit of help from President Bush II and Senator McConnell, is a disgrace. It has overstepped its bounds and may have put the final nail in the coffin for those attempting to deal with climate change. I’m trying to keep this letter as short as possible, so I’ll skip to my final point.
If you read the Constitution and what it says about the Supreme Court justices, it says they shall serve during “time of good behavior.” One would assume that this means that if they behave in an unjudicial manner, they should be removed from office. If this is the case, Justice Thomas should be out on his ear for not recusing himself from cases involving his wife, and the three Trump appointees all perjured themselves during their confirmation hearings in the Senate. No citizen of the United States should be untouchable since that would place too much power in one person’s hands. Or in the hands of a minority or group representing a minority.
That’s my two cents. Thanks for reading.
Right to Enter
July 4, 2022
I was putting a letter together, when I finally caught up with reading the paper. Noticing the remarks by Bruce Colbath, I honestly believe my letter of last week answers some of his questions.
Here goes. First of all, this president is on an all-out assault on our domestic energy. Freedom gives you the right to your opinion. Do you favor his green new deal? Then please ignore everything about the man and satisfy your own thoughts. Joe Biden has had the Senate, the House, and the presidency and all he’s done is bow to the socialist six.
America was energy-free until Joe Biden was elected. Where are we buying our oil since this man stopped the pipeline, put restrictions everywhere else, stopped fracking on federal land, and on and on?
The Second Amendment gives us the right to bear arms. If you take that away you will not stop there. Please read the red flag bill very carefully, as it gives the government the right to enter your home and remove your gun. No reason is needed. I believe stronger laws are needed: better screening, mentally ill should never own a gun, but how many gun stores sell to them? Laws are needed all around.
Semiautomatic guns belong in no one’s hand. In Uvalde, the person who unlocked the back door holds responsibility for the executioner entering the school. The police stayed outside for 45 minutes or more. The pinata of blame?
My feet are fixed, are placed strongly on America’s land; where are yours? Party only, never country first. I’m well aware of supply and demand, Mr. Colbath. I’m also aware of deals made and gouging.
So here’s to Joe and Hunter: May they never receive another penny from their overseas dealings.
In God and country,
Borders on Unhinged
July 3, 2022
“Religious idiocy”? The only idiocy I see is from our resident doofus, who borders on being unhinged. Roe v. Wade is not gone. The SCOTUS jurists render their decisions passed on the Constitution. Nowhere in the Constitution does the word abortion appear in any manner, nor is it a form of birth control to prevent pregnancy.
The usual noise from people like Hausig, who scream racism and homophobic terms, is because they are parrots and practice current blather, as seen on TV.
“Sickly paranoia of Christianity”? What type of warped, unhinged mind creates a label such as this? We have religious freedom here, according to our founders. The only paranoia comes from the usual sources, who want to tear the country down. The lack of core values is obvious.
So Hausig declares, “abolish all religious practice.” Is that not anti-Semitism that has no place in this world? Does that include our Muslim worshipers, also?
His ilk pays the protesters in front of SCOTUS residences. That in itself is a federal felony just by appearing there. Yet no enforcement? What would happen if protesters picketed him?
Hausig is correct on one thing: “We have to be stronger about democracy, step up.” Learn and show respect to the laws we have in place.
He would do well in Moscow or Beijing bellowing out his weekly missives of “abolish.” They will “abolish” him, like many to the gulag but not sorely missed by anyone.
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
A Natural Fit
July 4, 2022
When faced with the 9/11 attacks, George Bush explained that he asked himself, “What would Jesus do?” for guidance in making a decision. Bush was a dimwit by most standards. Bringing Jesus into the equation required a nonviolent negotiated resolution for almost all of the world except the United States. Jesus told Bush to go to war once, then again, and to kill and destroy until we ran out of ammo. American Christianity at its most absurd.
Nobody asked what was wrong with Bush? Ignorance, religion, and violence — the American nightmare??
The conflict in religion is always between the doctrine of peace and love and the reality of population control. To avoid the conflict, the founders made clear that religion and government are to remain separate and unequal. Religion and fascism are a natural fit. Democracy would require an extraordinary level of religious restraint that had yet to exist.
When Trump was elected, and his three Supreme Court judges lied at their hearings, our system was put into jeopardy. When Trump unleashed his campaign of racism, homophobia, and misogyny, he signaled to the justices that they, too, could come out of the propriety closet. (See Alito’s and Thomas’s memos regarding Roe — so perverse and deranged that they would take us back to the idiocy of 16th-century Europe.)
In a normal world, the two memos would disqualify both justices from voting on every human values issue, but prejudice in the form of religious perversion has become the norm.
Clearly, the religious beliefs of the justices became relevant to making the decision on Roe even though the Constitution demands that they shouldn’t be. If we assume that Christianity in the U.S. is a mixed bag of good, evil, and manipulating people, why would anyone think that this is a reasonable measure for making a decision about women’s rights or about anything at all?
Religion may have a role in allowing people to live their lives in an orderly, reasonable fashion, but it is antithetical to a political system that strives for equality and fairness determined by the realities of the world we live in.
The U.S. is at the bottom of the belief-in-life food chain. Our history of violence and killing, while kept out of textbooks, is the essence of our development as a nation. Christianity, while no worse or better than other religions, has never shown an iota of respect for life, especially in the U.S. The bullshit that is Donald Trump is the bullshit of the Roe decision.
For women, the first shots in the war to rein in their rights have been fired. If they don’t hit the streets, they will wind up on their knees in the kitchen.
For young people, there is a need to take over the country. Religious fascism is staring your futures in the face and it can get really ugly. However ugly, racist, and homophobic the courts might be, the Congress is up for grabs. Need to vote. Get your friends to vote. Voting for your futures. Voting for life, not bullshit.