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Letters to the Editor for September 1, 2022

Thu, 09/01/2022 - 10:22

That Walker
August 27, 2022

Dear David:

I want to give special thanks to Cindi Crain, and her daughter, Atlas, for last week’s kind letter. I am that walker on Route 27 who was described there. They have given me an excellent opportunity to thank people for their various forms of encouragement, which have been so important to me.

I walk from the Overlook to the fire hydrant beyond “Lunch” every day in summer unless it is raining. I do it to clear the cobwebs out of my brain and maintain a healthy life. I walk at the same time, wearing my striped shirt. I need to walk before the restaurants open, and the striped shirt makes me more visible. The Stretch is busy, and some drivers are not paying full attention, so anything that makes them notice me is helpful.

My usual walk, two times around Fort Pond and through Montauk village, becomes too busy in summer, and I needed an alternative route. I tried Old Montauk Highway and Montauk Highway before settling on the Stretch last summer. The five or six miles are just the right mix of challenge and diversity. And even on the hottest days, I can make the journey without too much concern.

Though many people know that I am a member and trustee of the Montaukett Indian Nation, and compare my walking to my famous relative, Stephen Taukus “Talkhouse” Pharaoh, no such comparison is in my mind. Stephen Talkhouse was an extraordinary individual and no one can emulate his famous walking feats. It is enough for me that some people might think of him today as something other than an iconic bar photo or a music venue. And if my walking adds anything to the knowledge of the Montaukett Indian Nation’s plight while we anticipate Governor Hochul’s signature on a bill to restore our tribal identity and dignity that was cruelly taken away over 100 years ago, I am honored and grateful.

My friends along the way are people I know and some I have never met. Town employees, Hampton Jitney drivers, truck drivers, people on their way to and from work, my regular cyclist pals, my niece Alicia Ann, and grandnephew, Miles, honking and waving all mean a lot to me. I can even get encouragement from the one person who cursed at me and later started making obscene gestures at me for reasons I don’t understand. If I have touched any of these people with my walking, they should know how deeply they have touched me. Some people call them my fans. I call them my friends.



Managed Meadow
August 27, 2022

Dear David,

Not too long ago an article in The Star announced that a long-hoped-for project to remove the utility lines crisscrossing what may be one of the best views on Route 27 in Montauk is within reach. This, thanks to the indefatigable work of John Keeshan. While it has not yet been realized, it seems to be in the works and will offer an unobstructed view and as John noted at the time, “you’ll get the essence of Montauk” as you descend the hill into town. This a stunning ocean view gateway to Montauk.

I would like to propose that is only half the view that is potentially available but now partly obscured. As you come along the highway, or old or new, the other part of the stunning vista could be across open historic pasture farmyard of the Second House, the barn and Montauk Indian museum down to Fort Pond, the gem of Montauk often hidden behind houses and dense invasive vines, shrubs, and hedges.

But the case now is that vista to the wonderfully and historical renovated Second House, the barn and museum are surrounded and visually obscured by privet and invasive species. Along the highway and from the west, the privet, certainly not historical to the pasture and farmyard, only allows a bit of a glance of the historic buildings and museum. Along Second House Road, more privet and tangles of invasive vines have strangled the few mature trees and destroyed many of them, trapping litter and garbage, and obscuring the view of the house and pond.

Adjacent preserved land owned by the Peconic Land Trust, in my memory an open field down to the pond, has become a tangle of vines, other invasive growth, and phragmites, infested with trash, totally obscuring the pond and house. The pathway now unsafe, as, once visually open, now obscure, in fact, tragically, a human death trap. Farther along the road, land part of the state highway right of way, also once open field to the pond, is now physically and visually impenetrable, a preserve of mounds of nonnative vines — and trash.

One other part of this historic pond-front land is part of Montauk Village Association Kirk Park. While half is clear and open, with wonderful open views from the west to Second House and its barn, part along the pond-front and highway, a noted preserve of native plants seems now to have been entirely taken over by vines, phragmites, and trash, strangling anything native.

Consider also that this impenetrable tangle, surrounding the historic wood structures of house, barn, and museum, is potential fuel for brush fires that, as in the West, have tragically turned homes to dust. This fuel is piled against the museum, feet from the barn. It could happen here.

I think it would be a stunning and iconic entry to Montauk if all of the invasive tangle and privet were removed and the open vista of the Second House and barn, and down to the pond, were cleared to replicate the site as historic Montauk’s pasture and open fields.

The good news in all of this is that all of the property is owned and preserved by state, county, town, and Montauk entities. There are no land acquisitions needed. This seems very appropriate, as this iconic and historic site is part of the history of all four and, if preserved, as the record of pasture Montauk, and as John Keeshan said of the pole removal, “You’ll get the essence of Montauk,” its historic gateway.

So perhaps a consortium of all four with their resources could provide for the opening up this land, as preservation has to be more than letting the land be taken over by weeds. It also would be a high-value-added proposal, big bang for little bucks, making the historic buildings more visible, and the pond accessible, and complement the pole removal with no additional land costs. Probably even the maintenance is less costly as managed meadow.

The town has recently done a project of opening Hook Pond with similar conditions; that done at this site would have a far higher visual impact — everyone entering Montauk sees it — and set the tone for the historical and ecological preservation of Montauk.




Cannot Visit
East Hampton
August 28, 2022

To the Editor,

Paul Goldberger’s letter (Aug. 25) says, “the arts still flourish here and in some ways their local presence is stronger than ever.” I agree when he mentions The Church in Sag Harbor as an example. I do take issue with his inclusion of Onna House. It is not open to the public, one cannot visit, one cannot even pay to visit, one cannot admire its art or architecture. So I ask Paul, how is Onna House a “meaningful institution . . . enriching the community,” as he says it is.



Bull in Our Midst
East Hampton Village
August 26, 2022

Dear David,

Thank you for making us aware of the decision to display the newly acquired statue of the nine-foot-tall silver bull in the village.

I am happy for Ms. Melendez that she had such a nice time at the dinner party and that she made a new friend. Why that encounter has to result in the rest of us being forced to look at a giant illuminated statue of a bull in our midst is a giant head-scratcher.

East Hampton’s beauty is incomparable. The wonderfully preserved historic buildings sprinkled throughout the village are exactly and the only art we need.

I pray this will not come to pass.

Thank you,



Involve the Students
East Hampton Village
August 27, 2022

Dear Mr. Rattray:

The editorial “Whole Lotta Bull” (Aug. 25) was on target. Making decisions for our village while attending social events — as East Hampton Village Trustee Sandra Melendez did — is unacceptable. Furthermore, why showcase a well-known and established artist with no real connection to East Hampton and relatively minor ties to the East End?

I volunteer for a nonprofit, Foundation for New American Art, dedicated to nurturing the visionary artists of tomorrow. Founded by Phoebe Legere, an artist and musician, we design and sponsor free arts-education programs for underserved students attending public schools where the budgets for this curriculum have been drastically cut or eliminated.

We are gratified to see young artists motivated and inspired to create, turning their hopes and dreams into art. Students also experience a rise in self-esteem and a new confidence in their own abilities and worth.

Why not give young artists in East Hampton the opportunity East Hampton Village Trustee Sandra Melendez has extended to Enrique Cabrera?

Let’s involve the students of the East End in this artistic public works process. I would much rather see an outdoor sculpture created by a local budding artist than someone who is already celebrated. If the student lacks the funds and resources to create their piece, give them a grant, possibly sponsored by a local business.

Let our village give form to the unsung nobility in our budding artists.




A Pile Of
August 28, 2022


The placement of a large chrome bull in Herrick Park is nothing but a pile of bull crap.




Deserve Credit
East Hampton Village
August 28, 2022

To the Editor:

Marianne and I, with our two young children in arms, moved to East Hampton fifty-two years ago. We often look back upon our decision to reside here as one of the most important choices of our lives and certainly one of the best. We raised Eric and Jeanne here and were so taken with the area’s quality of life that we convinced my parents to relocate to East Hampton in the 1980s, where they happily, for both themselves and us, spent the rest of their lives.

Along with the stunning ocean and its pristine beaches, the verdant farmland, and the significant stretches of dunes and woodlands, the aesthetic qualities of East Hampton Village have always made us proud to refer to it as its moniker states: “America’s most beautiful village.” We believed that then in 1970 when we discovered it for the first time, and we believe that now.

In the span of time that eclipses more than half a century, there are always the inevitable changes that occur. From our perspective, some of the most recent changes have been among the most welcome, and we credit the Village of East Hampton’s leadership and administration for its significant strides on our behalf and on behalf of the entire community as well, thanks to the creative and refreshing vision and impressive leadership of our mayor, Jerry Larsen, Deputy Mayor Chris Minardi, and Marcos Baladron, the village administrator. Their highly innovative plans and programs for our village have greatly enhanced our lives in a place that already was unique. Furthermore, Trustees Sandra Melendez, Sarah Amaden, and Carrie Doyle certainly deserve credit as well for being part of and contributing to a cohesive, energetic, and dedicated team that continuously strives to improve the quality of our lives in this special place that we call home.

Most appreciatively,




Jerry’s Birthday
Salamanca, Spain
August 29, 2022

Dear David:

While out of the country, I’ve been following village news through social media platforms. After reading and watching the trustees’ bull discussion, it’s encouraging to know our elected officials and administrators’ incompetence has not waned.

In my search for “news you can use,” I came across the Beach Hut’s Instagram posting of its dinner celebrating Jerry’s birthday. It made me wonder who was paying for the event. Was it Jerry, the foundation, village taxpayers, or just a nice thank-you from the Seekamps?

When I posted the query, “Who’s paying?” Beach Hut took the post down.

So Jerry, who paid for your party? Your constituency wants to know.




Well Above 30
August 9, 2022

To the Editor,

Yes, it is peak summer, and we are all hating the traffic. As The Star’s piece about recent traffic deaths points out, Peter Van Scoyoc agrees that “it’s time something is done about dangerous traffic conditions in the area.” Springs-Fireplace Road, especially between Ashawagh Hall and Sycamore Drive, has become a drag strip with cars and trucks traveling well above the 30-miles-per-hour speed limit — year round! There is virtually no enforcement.

I know there are no speed cameras in East Hampton, but how about speed-monitoring signage — or dare I suggest speed bumps? Sag Harbor has imposed 20-mile-per-hour speed limits on main thoroughfares like Jermain Avenue, with speed-sensing signage and active enforcement, and it seems to be working, training drivers to respect the speed limit. People are driving more slowly.

Other streets in Sag have speed bumps, great deterrents to speed scofflaws. East Hampton, especially in Springs, has none of this, even in comparison to our town’s south-of-highway areas, where traffic (and population) is seasonal.

As we emerge from the summer crush, now would be time to consider and implement some simple, yet potentially lifesaving, changes that are so needed in our town.



Selling This Space?
East Hampton Village
August 28, 2022

Dear David,

All day Saturday, blaring disco and rap music could be heard not only in the business district, but in residences surrounding the village. In support of the event a truck with, essentially, a big-screen digital billboard was parked on Main Street, directly across from Dayton Lane. It was advertising for the big event in Herrick, Technics (50th Anniversary?).

 Yet, for all this noise and inconvenience to the businesses and people of the village, there were a few small tents set up in Herrick Park where perhaps a dozen potential customers browsed the offerings. What possible connection does the event have to do with quality of life or cultural enrichment of the people of the Village of East Hampton? Another complete sham.

Is this our new business-friendly environment? Is the village selling this space out for events?




Wainscott Commercial
August 23, 2022

Dear David,

Some development projects are bad. Others are insane. That’s what the proposed Wainscott Commercial Center is.

Maybe the developers think we don’t already have enough traffic on Route 27 in Wainscott? This past week, I budgeted an hour to go the 19 miles from my home in Springs to Southampton. But as soon as I hit the Route 27 Wainscott Parking Lot, er, stretch of highway, I knew I was in trouble. It took me 90 minutes to get to my doctor’s appointment, a half-hour late. With a massive new influx of trucks and cars into the proposed commercial center, it will be gridlock morning, noon, and night every day of the week, all year round.

Or maybe the developers think our sole source aquifer and Georgica Pond aren’t already threatened enough? Between the airport lead contamination (the third worst in the state), PFAS, and coming saltwater intrusion from sea level rise, I guess they figure more contamination just won’t matter.

Who in their right mind would propose such a cockamamie idea? Nobody — unless the dollar signs dancing in their eyes are blinding them from the chaos and destruction their development project will visit on our community. The message seems: “Let them drink poison and stew in traffic, as long as I can make a buck!”

Stop the Wainscott Commercial Center.




Is This Sustainable?
East Hampton Village
August 25 2022

To the Editor,

I just finished reading most of your current issue’s editorials and letters. I find myself going back to a question that occurs to me every time I drive on our principal streets or visit various overcrowded shops or restaurants, or see the drastic inequities that seem to grow larger by the day, and what I wonder has to do with the question of sustainability. Are the actual realities of our towns and villages truly sustainable and, secondarily, would sustaining things as they are right now even be desirable?

The very simple fact that we need a work force and yet costs are such that the working people that are needed simply cannot afford to live here, causing an appalling situation as traffic in and out of our towns at both the morning and evening rush hours on Route 27 can slow traffic down to speeds like 15 miles an hour. This amounts to a kind of super-taxation on the people who can least afford to pay it.

The fact that a true civic benefit in closing down East Hampton Airport and developing that land for the benefit of our entire population can be stopped in its tracks by the financial power of a small but extremely wealthy minority able to hire high-power legal teams to block this development. I see almost no evidence that the town will be able to prevail in the long run, though I live in hope.

We know we are now into a water emergency, due in large part to the mammoth amount of usage in the towns’ biggest homes and estates. Also the lawns, gardens, and hedges that are being soaked with our water nightly hold another trick against us: the current mania for mammoth conifer hedging, particularly along our lanes and in the estates and larger homes along our beachfronts, has had the unintended consequence of blocking the marvelous sea breezes that used to moderate our business and residential areas.

This litany could be elaborated on by most of your readers, even without mentioning the very evident effects of global warming. I say just look around carefully and ask yourselves, “Is this sustainable?”



Not Solving the Issue
August 26, 2022

Dear David,

It’s been a busy summer, I apologize for not sending this letter to the editor in a more timely fashion. Wanted to thank you for your editorial back in late June about the most recent slight to the future well-being of Montauk re: what could have been the purchase of the Montauk Airport by the East Hampton Town Board. As you wrote then, it’s “difficult to avoid the impression that no one in town government is actually going to bat for Montauk at a time when the overburdened easternmost hamlet needs it most.”

Unfortunately for many of us in Montauk, this feeling of being slighted is not new. At a time when the town board members could be standing up for Montauk’s local residents, we continue to be ignored. This isn’t new; unfortunately it seems to be a bit of a trend. The hamlet plan, Deepwater Wind, along with (as you mentioned) the latest megamansion at Ditch, come to mind. And without some sort of compromise on East Hampton Airport, it’s clear Montauk residents are about to get hosed again.

When 77 percent of year-round town residents would like to keep the airport open while figuring out a schedule to reduce noise pollution, why is the town not actively working toward a solution for all? As I said on the record at all of the town webinars on the airport last year, I can completely understand the feelings of Wainscott residents who have been bombarded with noise and want it to stop. What I don’t understand is why the town board’s solution for solving the problem for one hamlet is to throw another hamlet or two under the bus. That’s not good government, unless of course our local voices don’t count, and then you have to wonder, why are some hamlets’ voices more equal than others?

Montauk does not have the infrastructure to be the landing pad for the entire East End. You can barely traverse our roads now in the summer without losing your mind. Adding more traffic Ping-Ponging between Montauk and points west will create an even more hellish logjam than already exists. Hang out for a Friday or Saturday night on the Stretch and count the cars heading for and leaving Montauk if you think I’m exaggerating, it’s mind-blowing.

And while the airport’s legal-limbo future could drag on, with time and money thrown at the problem through various courts for years, it’s not solving the issue. Closing East Hampton Airport is not solving the issue. It will just compound the problem, and spread the pain to all points east.

The town board should come up with a solution that works to protect all of its residents and their quality of life, not just a plan where Montauk gets the short straw again and again.




Continues to Impede
East Hampton Village
August 23, 2022

Dear David,

It is extremely difficult to understand why the Hon. Paul J. Baisley Jr., presiding justice of the Supreme Court Civil Parts in Suffolk County, continues to support a tiny, wealthy minority exploiting the East Hampton airport for profit. He does so despite ever-increasing egregious noise and pollution suffered by many thousands of residents who are entitled to quiet enjoyment through the region and throughout the vast impact area of the airport.

It is extremely difficult to understand why Justice Baisley would not do everything necessary to support the elected officials who represent the people of East Hampton, the absolute owners of East Hampton Airport. Instead, he continues to impede civil government.

One can only be sadly suspicious when there is an absence of logic or reason or social justice emanating from the judiciary.



A Transformation
August 25, 2022

Dear David,

The Springs School has undergone, not just a renovation, but a transformation. The school superintendent, Debra Winter, gave me a tour, and I was incredibly impressed. The choices for the building renovation and construction were not only energy efficient and safer for the staff and students, but also aesthetically pleasing.

Congratulations to the entire team. Our school taxes have been well spent.

At least 15 years ago, I was on the school’s long-term planning committee, and I was hopeful that the recommendations would be fulfilled. They are now.

I personally worked on the exterior lighting and made a few more suggestions to increase the energy efficiency and to protect the view of the night sky.




No Second Chances
August 26, 2022

To the Editor,

Here is my not-so modest proposal: I hereby propose that, in the interest of justice, public safety, and the rights of decent, law-abiding people to not have their lives ruined or ended by irresponsible, uncaring law-breakers, as soon as any reckless driver (drunk or sober!) is found guilty of injuring or causing the death of any innocent person, or destroying their vehicle, home, or storefront through speeding, running red lights or stops signs, going the wrong way, hitting the gas instead of the brake, losing control, distracted driving, rear-ending or head-on colliding with another vehicle, hit-and-runs, etc., such menaces to society shall be prison-sentenced to life without parole. No second chances to ruin the lives of additional new victims! I would also apply such “draconian” justice to all convicted sucker-punchers, street-stabbers, subway-shovers, and street-stompers.



Unwilling to Enforce
August 29, 2022

To the Editor,

“Cease making statements about the East Hampton Town government that are related to my department that you cannot make good on.” Problem was I didn’t name this department. I guess if the shoe fits. This was from Kevin Cooper, head of Ordinance Enforcement, as he stated this in an email to me on our Independence Day. By the way, this is on my secondary email, meaning he had to track that down; it wasn’t one I can recall or see that we corresponded on before.

I suppose I should consider this a threat or harassment. I guess the continued non-enforcement of what I asked him to enforce that day is the retaliation. If the town board is unwilling to enforce the law or town code. Why should any other department?

Still Here,



Extremist Agenda
August 15, 2022

To the Editor:

Republicans have spent decades promoting an extremist anti-abortion agenda and dismantling our democracy to install anti-choice judges and elected officials but it seems in the process they made a very powerful enemy: their own voters. We saw proof of this earlier this month when the people of Kansas — that’s right, Kansas — voted overwhelmingly to reject a constitutional amendment that would have let state legislators ban or significantly restrict abortion. They turned out at voting booths and said, “No thanks. We want abortion to be legal.” And to add icing to the cake, at least 20 percent of those voters were registered Republicans.

Now, here in New York, Lee Zeldin, an anti-choice gubernatorial candidate, has stated time and time again he is against legal abortion. He thinks that this stance resonates with his base, but we know that it does not. New Yorkers on both sides of the aisle stand firmly against the institution of forced birth.

Mathematically, we can now reason that Lee Zeldin is more out of touch with New York voters than 20 percent of Kansas Republicans! Congrats, Lee, on achieving a new level of tone deafness!



Executive Director

Eleanor’s Legacy


National Security
August 23, 2022

Dear David,

As communications officer aboard a United States military destroyer escort-class vessel during the Vietnam War, I was responsible for maintaining the security of top-secret classified documents. I am especially appalled by what we’ve been learning about Donald Trump’s behavior with classified material. If I had handled classified documents in the manner Donald Trump treats them, I would have been court-martialed and spent many years in prison.

Maybe if Donald Trump had not so cleverly avoided compulsory military service as a young man, he would have learned the consequences of flouting the law and our national security.



A ‘Lie’?
August 26, 2022

Dear David,

I was reading the Aug 25 edition of The East Hampton Star. In the letters to the editor section, Bea Derrico made some claims about President Obama keeping “in excess of 30 million pages of records.” The editorial response to this was calling this a “lie.” I’ve read your paper over many years, and my assumption is that you did enough fact checking that you had good reason to believe Ms. Derrico’s claim was inaccurate. But a “lie”?

In the past you have seemed to be one who encouraged civility. You’ve criticized rude behavior from town visitors and locals alike, which I’ve always admired. Unless you know something you haven’t mentioned about Ms. Derrico’s having a malicious intent and intentionally spreading false information, I believe you owe her an apology.

Hoping for a kinder, gentler East Hampton Star,



The Fascist Label
East Hampton
August 28, 2022

Dear David:

In a speech last week, President Biden called out MAGA Republicans for threatening Americans’ personal rights and economic security and, most important, posing a threat to our democracy. These efforts to denigrate our social and political fabric were, to President Biden, “semi-fascist.”

Well, the thin-skinned MAGA Republicans were quick to call the president’s remarks “despicable” and beneath appropriate political discourse. This from Republicans who gleefully label Democrats and their policies as “socialist” or viciously accost Democratic lawmakers as they do their jobs in Congress. And last week the laughable senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, called Democrats “radical left-wing lunatics, laptop liberals, and Marxist misfits.” Even on these pages some MAGA adherents have no compunction against insulting anyone who voices an opposing view. In today’s asymmetric political world, Republicans feel free to hurl epithets at Democrats but cannot stomach it when the tables are turned.

The reason for the MAGA vitriol is that the “fascist” label fits like a glove. There is no room in a democracy for calls (or violence) to overthrow a presidential election on entirely baseless claims of election fraud. There is no room in a democracy for efforts to perpetuate minority rule as a means to supplant election victories by an opposing party. There is no room in a democracy for a small minority to enact legislation that strips rights that the vast majority of the citizenry favor. There is no room in a democracy for that small minority to dictate what teachers can teach or what books a librarian can place on his or her shelves.

Efforts by a minority to force its will on the majority is the hallmark of fascism and it should be called out as such. And voters of all reasonable views should take serious note of the threat the MAGA ideology poses to the rest of us.




Student Debt
East Hampton
August 28, 2022


In its history the United States government has spent 99 percent of its energy and its funds in providing for and protecting the wealthy. Prior to Roosevelt’s New Deal, working class Americans got squat from the government. Enraged wealthy and conservative Americans vowed to reverse the program.

There are two parts of Biden’s student debt relief program to provide relief for people who are suffering from too much unpayable debt. Currently the bill is as close to being perfect as anyone can expect from this government, meaning it’s mediocre but mediocre is the new amazing.

Helping huge numbers of people who need help because of unexpected expenses. Trying to undo the disturbing designed faults in the system that left people of good intentions in the lurch.

So bravo, Joe. We give corporate America trillions, small businesses (see Covid) billions, and, now, student debtors a small but useful amount in thousands.

Every argument against debt relief must be understood in the context of white-trash greed and elitist desire to never share the nation’s wealth.

The Intercept article by Jon Schwarz of Aug. 25 lays out the story in all its insidious greedy repugnance. In 1970 Roger Freeman, economist and education adviser to Nixon and Reagan, stated, “We are in danger of producing an educated proletariat. We will have to be selective on who we allow to go to college.” If not, we will have a large number of highly trained, unemployed people.

Ronald Reagan, governor of California and avowed New Deal opponent, took up Schwarz’s position. He had been at war with student protesters in the California school system since the early 1960s and was looking for a way to punish them for their actions.

The California university system was almost free, and Reagan’s plan was to raise tuition high enough to force students out of the system, setting in motion a nationwide process of increasing school fees and creating what exists today: massive debt, the debt incurred because Americans had bought the story of going to college and improving their living conditions and making us more competitive in the world. As tuitions increased, debt followed. The conservative plan to limit education and knowledge failed, but putting the burden of substantial debt on 45 million people was a huge success.

Once again it is only the Democrats who support relief for student debt. The missing piece for Republicans is that it doesn’t make the wealthy wealthier.

The perversion around the debt story is simply business as usual. It fits perfectly with the $1.6 billion dark-money, tax-free (none ever paid) gift to a right-wing political action committee. We are sick with wealth and greed.

Joe actually believes in people. He’s got some balls and he’s not a complete pig.


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