Love of Life
September 16, 2022
Once again, Andrea Meyer has highlighted a historical local tidbit of interest. Last week’s “The Corwins Cut Their Wedding Cake” is a photo of our mother, Norma Edwards, a woman who overcame adversity and has retained her love of life, although widowed at age 20 while training at Bellevue’s renowned nursing program. Born in Springs and still living there, she retains her vigor and has touched many lives in her 98 years.
Our family is celebrating next week, 79 years later, the wedding of her granddaughter Dr. Molly Banfield.
SUE ELLEN O’CONNOR
Feel for the Game
September 19, 2022
Lost in my notes during the High School Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony last week was my appreciation of Jack Graves and his coverage of the East Hampton High School golf team over the 31 years I was coach.
Jack’s feel for the game and his pride in the teams is evident in his writing, and his reporting on the matches was always received with great excitement by the players.
Jack is an East Hampton star — and an East Hampton legend, and I thought it was important to recognize him for his work.
September 7, 2022
I was glad to see your article detailing the challenges of placing and keeping clergy on the East End. It is a real problem that I and other pastors worked to alleviate during my time in East Hampton. I know the challenge is still very real. One statement about me in the article, though, is factually incorrect and I’d like to clarify: I gave five weeks’ notice, not two, when I left the First Presbyterian Church of East Hampton. Two weeks would have been exceedingly short. Five was the amount of time recommended by Mark Tammen, executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Long Island. Not too short and not too long — it’s the “sweet spot,” he advised. This fact does nothing to challenge the larger problem your article correctly describes, but my wife, Linda, and I are very fond of the East Hampton congregation (and the entire community for that matter), and I wanted to correct the narrative of our departure from them.
REV. SCOT MCCACHREN
The Promised Land
September 12, 2022
I have spent all or part of my summers in Promised Land since 1961. It hasn’t changed a great deal since then, and time on Napeague Harbour and surrounding creeks has always been something to cherish. The area has always been so far removed from the Hamptons scene. It is quiet, peaceful, and always felt safe. A place where your moored boats, fishing equipment, paddle boards, and other water based items were left unsecured and you never had a bother. This changed this week when my grey, two-person fishing kayak, which was anchored in the reeds of Napeague Pond, was stolen. I
f you notice someone recently with a new grey kayak with “Fromm” marked on the transom, ask them if they need it more than me and my grandkids. If so, keep it. If not, return it. I still have faith in the Promised Land, and am sure this was just a one-off event.
September 19, 2022
The widespread use of L.L.C. and L.L.P.-titled ownership for residential properties concerns me. This anonymous ownership puts actual residents in some danger by not knowing who our neighbors actually are. As I was writing this letter, I found the excellent editorial in the Sept. 15 Star, “The Money Launderer Next Door.”
That piece carefully describes how this form of anonymous asset ownership can be a haven for many kinds of criminal activity such as hiding wealth to avoid taxes, and other international regulations. Please read that editorial.
My concern about this is more local. These limited liability corporations and partnerships have a valid purpose, which is to limit the liability of individual partners from each other, relating to the asset. It is a safer investment technique that became a legal option quite recently, and we can see how popular it is in the published real estate transactions every week.
Unfortunately these L.L.C.s and L.L.P.s leave us with little ability to know and interact with these secretive neighbors, except through what often is a law office. Obviously, it’s a clever business option, however it seems to destroy any concept of a residential neighborhood.
In times of emergency or community concern it was always possible to contact our actual neighbors, but now we live among corporations and partnerships that are almost impossible to reach. We don’t even know what their actual purpose is — and to what extent that purpose does or doesn’t include owner occupancy.
Rentals and transient occupancy become almost impossible to control. Emergency situations such as fire, theft, trespass, and smaller issues such as noise or accidental damage become difficult to communicate, even by law enforcement and municipal officers. Before this, many small issues could be handled politely among neighbors. This is changing the character of many residential neighborhoods, especially single-family and low-density-zoned areas.
Real estate speculation, development, and property syndicates may be legal but they join together with money laundering and tax gimmicks to raise questions about who your actual neighbors are, and how involved they may be in community affairs.
Clever business schemes are one thing, but residential properties should not become a haven for money laundering or other unlawful activities made easier by anonymous ownership.
We are living in an era of aggressive behavior politically, financially, and in real estate development. We have a right to know our neighbors, if we care at all about our communities.
Against All Norms
September 19, 2022
To the Editor:
Four seasons have swept past us since the LongHouse Reserve board summarily dismissed its popular and effective director of more than two decades, Matko Tomicic. We begin to see the shape of what the future holds for this magical place where serene gardens welcomed visitors with the beauty and healing. Now, watchful guests see poison ivy invading flowerbeds, and, most serious of all, the director has been allowed to move into the historic Larsen home with her boyfriend and dog. This goes against all norms of how the LongHouse board should have preserved the accuracy of the rooms where Larsen lived to the end of his long life.
It was Larsen’s vision that his house would offer docent-led tours to educate and delight visitors who wished to see his modestly small bedroom space, the adjoining large workspace where he designed his textile collections, and the living room, where his rare collection of furniture and sculpture, pottery, and baskets was on display. These items included some of the diverse ethnic artifacts that inspired his world-renowned textile designs as displayed in Paris and London and in the Museum of Art and Design at his last one-man show in New York City.
I chaired a board committee in Nashville that was entrusted with the task of preparing an antebellum residence for tours. We photographed, inventoried, and cleaned the precious hand-woven fabrics to prepare them for the guided tours that still bring history to life for enthralled groups of visitors 30 years later.
For more than two decades, Tomicic worked side by side with Jack Lenor Larsen, the owner and designer of this much-loved sculpture garden and home that engaged those who lived on the South Fork and their guests from all over the world. Together, they planned trips to take groups to see artists’ studios and spectacular gardens across the globe and in the United States. Tomicic was poised to continue to offer these rare experiences even after Larsen’s death, as he had become a trusted friend of the network of artists and landscape architects who admired Jack Larsen. That travel program seems to have ended.
The Town of East Hampton should take notice when one of the top destinations for homeowners and their guests is being mismanaged.
Left to Rot
East Hampton Village
September 18, 2022
I remember when the first wave of the pine beetles hit along the east side of Route 114 between East Hampton Village and Sag Harbor, that the purposely-felled infected trees were left to rot more or less in place where they fell. I wondered at the time whether the beetles, surely alive when the trees were cut down, would actually die or whether they would be able to move on to infect other trees. Subsequent events suggest that this may have happened. I know nothing in these matters, but my question remains: Should those fallen trees have been burnt?
September 16, 2022
To the Editor:
I agree with your editorial last week titled “Time to Get Tougher on Zoning.”
An application of better zoning laws and enforcement you did not specifically mention would be the protection of affordable housing. The town’s laudable building projects are badly needed, but are insufficient to solve the problem.
My own neighborhood on Napeague provides a case study that almost anyone who applies can obtain variances needed to build a larger home on a quite small plot, evade pyramid requirements, and clear native dune vegetation.
Some of these houses, often owned by anonymous L.L.C.s (the subject of your other editorial), then become raucous, illegal shares which harm the quality of life in our neighborhood. Yet the building of mini-mansions on lots of a fraction of an acre has driven prices in my neighborhood to a surprising multiple of what they were when I purchased in 1997. Our neighborhood, like others in Montauk and East Hampton, is in effect, being gentrified, helping to ensure that people who grew up here, or who work in service and support businesses, cannot afford to live here.
The lots in our neighborhood are mainly too small to qualify for accessory apartments even under the town’s proposed revision. It seems contradictory to allow anonymous investors to build much larger houses here — especially when the plan is to rent them (or flip them to people who will).
Is There a Plan?
September 4, 2022
I know the name Heath Freeman has certainly been on many people’s minds. Given the piece in The Times about the properties in Ditch Plain, shouldn’t all types of red flags be flying? To date, he has bought East Hampton Point, Harbor Bistro, Consumer Tire, not to mention the slew of other properties.
What is the agenda here? Is this ego-driven or is there a business plan being played out in East Hampton and farther east that could have a lasting (and most likely negative) impact on the communities. This is certainly not an individual who is looking to build value for the year-round community but, rather is focused on serving a small subsection of an overwhelmingly summer population.
Forget the building projects in Wainscott or the decimation of Main Street by vulgar megabrands, what we should be concerned by are individuals like Heath Freeman who through his continuous acquisitions will literally swallow the ethos of this place.
September 17, 2022
Thanks for your editorial expressing dismay at a recent planning board decision. It is very painful to see the planning board, which should be protecting our environment and preventing inappropriate overcrowding of our roads and parking, take the naive position that the Hero Beach management will not take advantage of a kitchen permit.
When I read in The Star (Sept. 1 edition) that the East Hampton planning board accepted language which allows Hero Beach to install a kitchen that will serve guests, guests of guests, 15-plus owner families and their guests, as well as staff, I retreated to the couch with a cold cloth on my forehead.
For those who don’t know, the Hero Beach resort sits at the entrance to Montauk, the beginning of the traffic bottleneck that is Main Street. It sits in a low-lying dip where five roads merge and crisscross, between the ocean and Fort Pond — scarcely above the water table. The septic plume tends toward the pond.
Their application contains such loose language that the director of ordinance enforcement, Kevin Cooper, wrote a strongly worded letter advising the planning board to reject it as “another Montauk entity that is clearly looking to stretch a definition as far as they can to make a profit.” He went on to say that Mr. Krasner, an owner of Hero Beach, “massages and stretches to the best of his abilities for his other businesses.” The “guests of guests” language means it will be impossible to enforce any limits. Go prove that someone is not a guest of a guest or the owner’s family. Nor have any additional parking spaces been created to serve the additional staff and guests of guests.
Thanks are due to Mr. Cooper and to Lou Cortese and Randy Parsons, two realistic members of the planning board who registered strong protests against the applicants. They know whereof they speak.
Further development of Montauk’s vulnerable beachfront properties should simply be off the table. The kitchen approval was reported in The Star on the same date as the adoption by the town of the long awaited Coastal Assessment and Resiliency Plan, or CARP. Managed retreat from the beachfront is central to CARP.
Perhaps the Hero Beach group are not planning to pump and dump an unsustainable business on a greater fool. Nevertheless, adding value to their property with new kitchen facilities means that when the inevitable day comes to give credits to property owners who have to move back from the primary dune, Hero Beach will be able to point to the value the food service adds to their net worth, and ask for a larger bail-out.
Guess who foots the bill?
JANET VAN SICKLE
September 19, 2022
To the Editor,
Back in the ’70s The Star barely covered Wainscott. In the Sept. 15, 2022, issue of The Star the word “Wainscott” was printed 32 times.
Afraid of the Truth
September 19, 2022
In February of 2021, homeowners in Amagansett won their decade-long case and were informed they own the beach, known locally as Truck Beach. It’s private property, their private property. As a natural consequence, the beach being privately owned, the court also said the town could no longer issue permits allowing members of the public to drive on their beach. Makes perfect sense: A municipality can’t issue permits allowing the public to drive across your front lawn, or park in your backyard, for example.
But that wasn’t enough. By May of last year, the beachfront homeowners had their attorneys file an emergency request asking that East Hampton Town officials be held in contempt, because, as they alleged, officials were actively enabling hundreds of people to park their cars on the homeowners’ beach. We’re talking about March, April, and May, folks.
As a resolution to their purported emergency, the homeowners asked the court to issue an order directing the town to purge their contempt by enforcing the driving and parking prohibition on their beach. It’s worth repeating, if only to point out that it’s entirely made up; enforcing a driving and parking prohibition is not language found anywhere in the court’s decision.
In truth, prohibiting town officials from issuing permits to the public to park and drive on private property is not remotely the same as ordering the town to actively prevent the public from parking and driving on some homeowner’s private beach. That’s like asking the town police to have a patrol vehicle parked in my driveway just in case someone decides to walk across my front lawn. But that is what the homeowners asked for and exactly what the court demanded the town undertake.
Oh, but there is more. Despite strongly worded letters from their attorneys demanding that town police respond to any claims of trespass on their private beach, the homeowners have refused to cooperate in any manner with the police. In what was an otherwise orderly protest on the beach in June and October of last year, numerous town police officials waited for any homeowner to come down and file a complaint. They refused. Ultimately, the police filed charges of trespass against 14 fishermen in October, but those complaints have been sitting on a prosecutor’s desk for nearly a year waiting for a homeowner to come down and cooperate. Again, silence.
It seems the homeowners are afraid of the truth that an ancient reservation contained in their property deeds will establish that a trespass charge will not hold up because all 28,000 residents of the Town of East Hampton have a legal right to be on that beach under the color of fishing activity.
And that’s the truth. But fear not, homeowners. While you may not otherwise regulate a property right that belongs to the people, a municipality can. But that’s only if you give it back.
DANIEL G. RODGERS
Mr. Rodgers is a lawyer representing the 14 drivers arrested on Truck Beach in October. Ed.
September 18, 2022
To the Editor:
Whether it’s been the airport, the senior center, blocked roads, Truck Beach, lack of communication, or no communication at all. The band KISS just came into my ear buds with “Detroit Rock City.” Serendipity on two fronts. First, the Lions won today. Second, break down KISS for our town board: Keep It Simple the last S is self-explanatory. Turn on the Springs communication tower.
September 17, 2022
I watched a segment on CBS this morning about a parental rights movement in several states that would closely monitor the state and local curriculums and local teaching methods to ensure that both would not violate parental values.
I would suggest that these parents should withdraw their children from public and private and parochial schools and educate their children the way they want. This would guarantee that their children would not be subject to awareness of woke liberalism, socialist programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, modern science, Marxist ideology and indoctrination, and un-Christian thoughts.
Let us be honest, there is no doubt that these parental censors can educate their children on their own. We can all recall how it easy it was to prepare us for conquering algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, earth science, biology, chemistry, critical writing, art, music, global studies 1 and 2, American history, and civics. Nowadays to get into a decent college all of these courses require a good grade on Advanced Placement tests. Not to worry, kids! Mom and Dad will take care of this as well in their spare time before and after work.
September 18, 2022
This election is about choices that will dictate the direction our state and country will head for years to come.
Inflation is at an all-time high, and not a day goes by that we haven’t broken another record as the economy spirals out of control. The economy is a wreck and worsens by the day with zero leadership from Washington and Albany.
A pro-criminal, anti-victim policy has left us with cashless bail, a court system that protects criminals at the expense of victims, and policies to defund police departments as every major violent crime index rises. A broken immigration policy has placed open borders over the safety of U.S. citizens as criminals engage in human trafficking, and dangerous drugs flood our streets as every major violent crime index rises. In 2021 there were 107,622 drug overdose deaths in the United States, an increase of nearly 15 percent from the 93,655 deaths estimated in 2020.
We now know federal and state government response to Covid on all levels failed to follow the science and has led to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. In New York alone, there were over 15,000 nursing home deaths. One has only to look at East Hampton Town that attempted to penalize local families for holding a wedding yet allowed the rich and famous south of the highway to have massive parties without so much as a peep.
The only guarantee we have from federal, state, county, and town governments is that if there was a decision to be made, they somehow managed to make the worst possible choice.
This election, we have a choice to change direction, starting with electing Lee Zeldin governor and Nick LaLota for Congress, along with Anthony Palumbo for Senate and Peter Ganley for Assembly.
East Hampton Town Republican Committee
September 19, 2022
Dear Mr. Editor,
Hope all is well at The Star. Sorry for the delay in writing, but I have been busy. Lucky for you, your editorial people have smoked me out. I just can’t keep my mouth shut about the biased, nonsensical, and flat-out bullshit they have been spewing out over the summer concerning Jan. 6 and democracy.
The line that snagged me was, “until Republicans return to being a reality-based party, their candidates must be defeated every time.” What writer on your staff is walking around with his head up his ass? And then you print it? Do you believe the Democrats are “reality based”? Please let me know one good thing the Democrats have done, please. Oh, sorry, I forgot.
Fuel prices through the roof because we need to buy from other countries when we are floating on our own oil. Maybe Biden is saving it. And how about inflation? Biden’s mismanagement of the country has driven goods and staples up 20 to 40 percent. And investigations. O.M.G., stop with the unnecessary spending. This week you people even went after Mike Lindell, really — a guy selling pillows and slippers is on the F.B.I.’s list by Biden. Oh, I forget again; he is a Trump supporter.
The current Justice Department, like the F.B.I. and C.I.A., are using tactics out of the Nazi playbook: Disagree and you disappear one way or the other. That’s a no-no in your world.
Also, your ranting about Jan. 6: Please let it go and release those poor people and give them some type of a trial. You did it for Black Lives Matter. They burned down cities and got paid for it. And of course Biden says we have no inflation yet he has a bill to combat it. Is that some type of a smokescreen? Last but not least, you pull your pit bull Colbath out of the pen and sic him on the people who think bills and loans should be repaid. I mean that is one of the pillars of our nation, credit. You borrow money and you pay it back. Will I get credit for the pain and suffering for my paid student loans?
Colbath is correct about one thing: We can change this in November. Vote Conservative across the board.
Yours to command,
September 18, 2022
To the Editor,
The shameless, sanctimonious, hypocritical posturing of the liberal left has never been more on display for all to see than on Martha’s Vineyard last weekend. The same Nantucket nabobs who self-righteously lecture us on the importance of treating illegals humanely because “it’s who we are,” creating sanctuary cities and states everywhere they can, showed us their true colors.
Fifty illegals bused into their exclusive little community so panicked these frauds that they rose up and chased the interlopers from their precious little haven and threw them on a ferry, calling in over 100 Massachusetts National Guardsmen to hustle them off the island. They did throw their guests a meal of sorts, consisting mostly of Sugar Pops and canned soup. The lobsters, steaks, oysters, kale, and other delicacies these phonies normally gorge on, were nowhere to be seen.
They even claimed that these 50 downtrodden souls had precipitated a housing crisis. But a brave local reporter pointed out that this community has a year-round population of 2,500, yet somehow finds ways to accommodate over 200,000 during the summer months. And a local wag pointed out that the Obama estate on the island, along with many others, could each easily accommodate all 50 of these Dreamers.
Then they called Governor DeSantis a kidnapper, somehow overlooking the fact that it was Joe Biden’s border policy that has burdened us with over two million illegals in the past 18 months, making him the greatest human trafficker in history.
If it weren’t for double standards, the left would have no standards at all.
September 17, 2022
Biden’s back in the basement. He’s giving speeches to take the limelight away from himself, and trying to blame everything on Trump. A sit-down interview would confront the disastrous record you’ve unleashed, you would have to explain why do we have the worst inflation in four decades. The worst collapse in real wages in 40 years, the worst crime wave since the 1990s. We are also having the worst border crisis in America’s history.
We have the highest gas prices on record, the highest increase in food prices since 1979, and we’re in the midst of an energy crisis, the lowest oil and gas leases since World War II.
Tough questions he doesn’t want to answer, prefers to shout, “MAGA, MAGA” from a stage where he can’t be asked the tough questions.
Our oil reserve is the lowest it’s ever been, thanks to Joe Biden raiding it, his excuse for the raiding it is to help.
F.Y.I., info coming out on Durham’s investigation. Danchenko became a paid F.B.I. agent in March 2017. He provided info to C. Steele, who was paid by the Democrats during the 2016 campaign for intelligence on ties between Russia and Trump. Can’t wait for Durham’s trial.
In God and country,
September 19, 2022
Mikhail Gorbachev died recently and his death is a reminder of opportunities lost and the cost associated with it. Gorbachev had a vision of a world order after the breakup of the U.S.S.R. He understood the idiocy of world domination and the need to recreate a viable world order. He envisioned a world like the United Nations without the veto power of individual nations: collective consciousness. Unfortunately we weren’t up to the task and, except for Bush 1, didn’t understand that there was a task. See Ukraine War.
Without history we are lost. Stupid beyond redemption. Guaranteed to consistently screw up and fail.
In 1992 the United States was the unquestioned leader of the free world. After World War II we were the last nation standing and we inherited the mantle. Up to then, our method of conflict resolution was to kill the other side. Efficient, bloody, usually insane. We had been substantially isolated for 200 years and were rarely a part of determining the world order. We were MAGA morons in the truest sense of the expression.
Unfortunately, none of our presidents from Johnson to Trump (Bush 1 aside) had any real experience or understanding of what a world order meant. Johnson was zero. Nixon had Kissinger but little else. Reagan, Clinton, Bush 2, Obama were virtually zero. Trump was negative because he had no knowledge and no interest in learning (the definition of a moron).
If any country was unequipped to deal with the fall of the U.S.S.R. it was the U.S. Our capitalist model was turning on itself. Greed was now the dominant motivation, and everything was becoming transactional, including the well-being of U.S. workers. We still embraced the capitalism-communism disconnect, even though Marx had been sent packing by the 1920s and communism in Russia had collapsed economically in the middle 1950s.
Gorbachev stated that capitalism deprived the people of the wealth that was created around them, while communism took away the dream of a better life. Both sucked and the real hope was some place in between without the oppression.
Bush 1 understood — in 1992 — that the future well-being of Russia would determine the well-being of the rest of the world. A prosperous Russia would open up enormous markets for the West and significantly improve life for the Russian people, who would demand more freedom and some kind of democratic governing. Unfortunately, Clinton went quasi-MAGA (not only Repubs are morons), and, before we knew it, Putin was taking over.
History tells us that every great empire has a termination date. Economic and military dominance are not enough to keep us safe and prosperous. Our experience with Afghanistan, Iraq, and Covid tell us that going it alone doesn’t work very well.
If Gorby were running the show in Russia would we have the Ukraine War and massive inflation as one of its byproducts? We had our head in the sand 30 years ago. (We had a chance to set the world on a path of peaceful coexistence.) A long time to go without breathing. Are we brain-dead?