Great Way to Start
January 8, 2023
To the Editor:
It was uplifting to see your article on composting efforts in East Hampton and the East End. Learning about positive actions we can take to benefit our planet is a great way to start the new year.
The United Nations Environmental Program Report points out that two-thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions are determined by choices at the household level. If we are the problem, then we get to be the solution. But what to do? Project Drawdown to the rescue.
Before Paul Hawken addressed this issue, there was no scientifically vetted study to answer that question. With Project Drawdown, he assembled several hundred researchers and scientists to develop a list of 100 of the most-impactful solutions for addressing greenhouse gases that do not require government approval, and provided a ranked order of prioritized actions.
The number-one thing we can do is not to compost, as many believe, but to stop food waste before it is eligible to be composted. In the United States, over 40 percent of the food that is grown is not consumed and that is primarily at the household level, not grocery stores or restaurants.
The Drawdown study predicts that if we address reducing food waste, we can keep almost 90 gigaton carbon dioxide equivalents out of the atmosphere and another 1 gigaton if we compost. There is an excellent book to help us get started. It is downloadable and free: “Changing Behavior to Help More People Waste Less Food.” It even includes a pledge we can take. And if learning more steps to take to address global warming is your thing, join a Carbon Crew by visiting carbonCREWproject.org
So let’s all compost! And let’s eat all of the food that we buy. We’ll save money on our monthly food bills and together be the solution.
January 8, 2023
Yes! I’m glad to hear that our East Hampton Town Board member Cate Rogers is proposing a pilot program to increase composting here. The odds and ends of vegetables and fruits, along with coffee grounds, tea leaves, and eggshells, can easily be turned into rich, loamy soil.
As Tom Gogola points out in his Star article, food scraps account for around 40 percent of residential landfill usage, and Melissa Clark, a New York Times food writer, seconds this, telling readers in “New Year, Less Waste” that trashing food scraps is “a huge contributor to greenhouse gases . . . responsible for twice as many emissions as commercial aviation in the United States.” Also in The New York Times, Susan Shain drives the point home, reporting in “How Central Ohio Got People to Eat Their Leftovers” that residential food waste adds more to landfills than restaurants, grocery stores, or farms do. In Cate Rogers’s plan the vegetable peels and orange rinds that we unnecessarily toss into the trash will instead be collected and delivered to a community compost site. This would make reducing, reusing, and recycling more convenient for people who have good intentions but don’t want to or don’t have the outdoor space to maintain their own compost bins. And if the program eventually extends from homes to restaurants, so much the better!
Resourceful cooks can, of course, turn vegetable scraps into a hearty broth, make a summer pickle from watermelon rinds, and add an extra zing to sauces and baked goods with leftover citrus zest. But I look forward to the day when I can donate the piles of tough corn cobs that accumulate each season to someone else’s more powerful composting solution — my no-tech, low-tech system is no match for those!
I’ve been composting here in East Hampton for years and also in New York City, where GrowNYC farmers’ markets have food scrap drop-off sites in all five boroughs. I know firsthand that the nutrient-rich soil that results from the mixture of “green” food scraps and “brown” dried leaves or sawdust is a welcome addition to poor soil in the yard or in a container garden.
No doubt, we’re all concerned and disheartened by the dire environmental news we hear every day: vanishing woodlands, algae blooms in ponds and creeks, decreasing populations of native bees and butterflies, etc. But we can all do our part to make positive changes, and I applaud Ms. Rogers’s “bucket list” that includes promoting organic farming as well as encouraging us to cut down on residential waste.
ReWildLI has just started a chapter here on the East End, and, along with Gloria Frazee and Leonard Green, I’ve been elected to serve as chapter co-chair. Sustainable landscaping for biodiversity and climate resilience are key goals for ReWildLI members, and there are many ways we can make changes and have fun in the process, such as planting a pollinator and bird-friendly garden, raising organic veggies, building a compost heap, or saving water by replacing turf lawns with native grasses, among other things. Hope you’ll join us!
January 9, 2023
In the recent Star article “Eyeing Table to Farm Compost Plan” the article states that “The number-two solution [to reverse climate change presented in the book “Drawdown”] is reducing and diverting food waste from landfills.” This, unfortunately, is flatly incorrect. Currently, Project Drawdown lists reduced food waste as the number-one solution in limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Food waste is defined as edible food that is thrown out. Reducing and diverting food waste and scraps from landfills to be composted, which is the focus of the article, is currently the 78th solution. The huge potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by eating all the food one buys, rather than letting it spoil and tossing it, is due to all the energy, land, water, and other resources used in producing, preparing, transporting, and retailing the food that is discarded.
To put values on it, per Project Drawdown, reducing food waste is an 88-gigaton opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and diverting food waste from landfill to compost is a 1.13-gigaton opportunity. Of course, composting has many other benefits, such as building soil health and increasing soil water retention. Separating one’s food waste and food scraps is the best way to see what, and how much, food is being thrown out and is the logical first step in making changes to reduce wasting edible food.
Approximately 40 percent of the total waste of edible food that is grown happens in homes, rather than during the previous life cycle stages of growing, processing, shipping, and retailing. Amazingly, about a third of the total amount of food that people buy is wasted and tossed! Thus, reducing food waste also saves the significant cost of throwing out a third or more of what you spend on food, not to mention a third or more of the cost of gas to go shopping.
ReFED.org is the definitive resource on food waste if anyone wants to learn more. I hope that the laudable effort taken by Cate Rogers and the Town of East Hampton to encourage composting puts the appropriate emphasis on educating the public with the goal of advancing the understanding that the vast majority of the climate benefit of composting is reducing food waste in the first place.
KRAE VAN SICKLE
Drawdown East End
January 3, 2023
In order to help Springs residents who have little or no cell service, the Town of East Hampton has installed for the new year a public telephone at the Maidstone ballpark with many useful, free options.
Happy new year,
Focus on Two
January 2, 2023
Years ago, working at The East Hampton Star, I was copy-editing so closely a story about a Boy Scout troop that visited a newspaper, checking for punctuation and spelling, etc., that I failed to realize the newspaper the scouts visited was The East Hampton Star — and I had been in the newsroom at the time. I was reminded of that while reading “Just When We Hoped It Was Safe To Go Out” (do all those words need to be capitalized?), a more ridiculous, more contradictory “news” story I have never read. Every paragraph is gibberish; I’ll focus on just two.
Of Covid, Fredric Weinbaum said: “You see fewer unvaccinated people in the hospital simply because there are fewer gross numbers of them in our area.” (Second opinion, anyone?)
So, of 100 motorists involved in head-on collisions under identical circumstances, 90 are “fully protected” (for what does “fully vaccinated” mean?) by wearing seatbelts. Yet, instead of having 10 people show up at the emergency room (the 10 people not wearing seatbelts) the majority of people rushed to the hospital were wearing seatbelts. Does that make any sense to anyone? Dr. Weinbaum continues, “People who are unvaccinated tend to have more severe illness.” So stay at home?
Paragraph two, Nadia Persheff: “The flu strain that’s been around is pretty bad. Nobody understands that we’re in crisis. Kids are getting a weeklong fever, then two weeks of cough, and then they come in with a sinus or ear infection. Three visits for every kid and everyone thinks the vaccine is optional. This is just not the year to picket vaccines.”
Kids are getting a weeklong fever, huh? Three visits for every kid? Wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that, for no good reason, and no doubt on the advice of doctors just like Dr. Persheff, they were largely kept out of school the last few years — kept from swapping the germs that keep kids healthy? And those kids, all unvaccinated, were they? Were any? Editors? See: Boy Scouts.
Matter of Fact
January 9, 2023
My name is Dan Reichl, and I have been a member of the East Hampton Village Ambulance Association for 34 years. For 15 of those years I was the elected lieutenant. Throughout my years, we have always had an excellent relationship with the village. They always had our backs and were always there when we needed them — that is a matter of fact.
The mayor starts by saying an outrageous statement: “What if the ambulance service went away tomorrow and took the certificate with them?” Why on earth would we ever do that and where would we go?
Our ambulance association certificate paperwork for State Department of Health recertification has been filled out and signed off by our chiefs for many, many years. And it has been approved every time without an issue or problem by the state. The Village has never even been a part of the process. None of their signatures have ever been needed.
Who is “everybody,” as he stated, that is looking into billing? If you just say it out loud, it must be true, huh?
He said, “We asked the state to look into it.” Why? So they can start billing even though the membership has voted against it numerous times.
He said, “The way things were going, we were considering moving away from them and running the ambulance ourselves.” (Translation: Since we said no to billing from the start of the mayor’s administration which is how long he has been pushing it.) He would allow us to be a fraternal organization and not rule ourselves? So does that translate to: The Village has decided that we no longer need the volunteers to do the work of answering calls? He should just say that because all the members who have and still put in thousands of hours to be there for our community, all hours of the day and night for free, can move on and volunteer somewhere else. Do you really think we would feel the same about volunteering to get out of bed at 2 a.m. during a snowstorm so the village can send out a bill?
He stated that the ambulance association is resisting paid help — not true in any way, shape, or form. We have gotten along extremely well with 99 percent of all the paid help since they started years ago. We have had paid people do training, come to our dinners, and one even did a pig roast for us this summer. Prove that we are resistant; it is simply not true.
We ask people who join to take the emergency medical technician class within two years of joining. In the meantime, they can become drivers. Not an unreasonable request since you can’t drive a patient without an E.M.T. in the back! We need both. We have implemented a firefighter driver program, as well as a police officer driver program. That doesn’t sound like a group who is not cooperating with the village, does it?
I hope the plumber you call isn’t charging you in your taxes as well as sending you an outrageous bill. Not everyone has insurance. As a matter of fact, many insurances will not pay the cost of the ambulance unless you are admitted and you still could be left with an outrageous co-payment. (One of the officers recently had to pay hundreds of dollars for a loved one to be transported even with insurance.)
We are going to need the support of the community in this matter and since the mayor decided this should be in The Star, then please let your feelings about this matter be known to The Star.
At Any Hour
January 7, 2023
The East Hampton Village ambulance corps that Mayor Larsen basically seeks to destroy, possibly in an ill-considered pursuit of cash for the village, is a selfless group that dedicates uncounted hours and effort to helping their neighbors in their hour of need. In order to become a member of the ambulance association a volunteer must undergo six months of training and then pass a practical and written exam.
Once qualified as emergency medical technicians, volunteers must be available to serve on shifts that require them to answer calls at any hour of the day or night and deal with the ever-present possibility of confronting, blood, trauma, and death.
To keep their status as qualified emergency medical technicians they are constantly taking part in training classes to keep updated the skills they use in transporting the sick and injured.
They do all this for free, and the village does not charge. When I lived in New Jersey and my gravely injured wife needed emergency transport to the hospital just one mile away, the cost was $5,000. What if I didn’t have insurance that covered all or part of this expense?
Do we really want to change the way our system of dedicated volunteers currently functions? I hope it never happens.
January 9, 2023
Before we pave paradise and put up a parking lot, I think it’s wise to take a few minutes to evaluate what we’ve got before it’s gone. The East Hampton Village Volunteer Ambulance Association is not just free ambulance rides. The cover story in last Thursday’s Star compels me to express my personal thoughts on this matter.
There is nothing stopping the village from applying to the New York State Department of Health and Suffolk Regional Emergency Medical Services Council for their own original ambulance service certificate. No municipality needs to commandeer an existing certificate. Certificates are not transferable.
This is an opportune moment to enumerate what the volunteer ambulance has done for this community. This volunteer organization is a private institution in East Hampton as are most of the volunteer ambulance corps on the East End. It is our East End tradition and our custom. We are a unique region with many sophisticated and well-financed charities and institutions of all kinds, but this is one of the very few institutions that serves the average working and retired person. I have proudly served an East End volunteer ambulance corps for the last nine years and I am honored to be counted among many who have served for more than 30 years. These are my observations, I don’t presume to speak for the East Hampton Ambulance Association, nor do I claim to have any inside information or authority, but it reads better and my letter is shorter if I write in the first person as a mother and neighbor and fellow taxpayer. I thank you for your indulgence.
In the 48 years it has existed, E.H.V.A.A. has provided E.M.S. services entirely free to sick and injured residents and visitors. Vulnerable injured working people have never been fleeced for their last dollar while lying helpless on a stretcher. They have never been hounded for a bill they could not refuse and they have never had an immortal red mark placed on their credit rating for being unable to pay.
I have proudly and confidently assured many patients over the years, some of them experiencing a life-threatening medical event, that they need not fear a bill for my services — and I could measure the relief they feel in their vitals. The concern they have is overwhelming. They dread being billed more than they fear losing their lives. This reality is a crippling burden of working and retired people that is not a concern borne by those who can easily pay.
The E.H.V.A.A. has proudly provided adult education in medicine and E.M.S. services free to anyone who wants to serve. There are hundreds of people working and living among you who are current and former emergency medical technicians and trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid. Some of them might live right next door. How many stories have we heard about one of our friends having a medical incident and there just happened to be an E.M.T. sitting at the next table, or in the stands of a sporting event, or in the car behind them, or right there on the job site, or working the deli counter at the grocery store? We are your friends and your neighbors and waitresses and your landscapers and carpenters and plumbers. We are “get it done” kind of people.
Ambulance volunteers provided free services during the Covid pandemic, when legions of paid health care providers across the nation refused to report to their jobs. The E.H.V.A.A. handled the overnight surge in our population seamlessly and without warning.
In the beginning, we knew nothing of the potential dangers of the Covid virus and we stood our watch, just as we promised we would. We have the numbers, and we are trained in disaster preparedness and emergency services and mass casualty incidents, and simultaneously pray that, God forbid, we ever need that here. We provide a level of protection for each and every resident and they likely never knew we were there and we don’t have to travel from Up-Island fighting traffic to get here. We’re always around like guardian angels. You may have pulled over for the flashing green or blue lights in our windshields? That’s our members responding to a 911 call. We thank each of you for that courtesy. You have the volunteer ambulance service to thank, and many of you have written generous checks to support us. We are grateful to each of you.
In addition to medically related services, this community institution provides a means for contractors and hard-working laborers and skilled craftsmen to earn an exemption on their property tax bills and a modest pension in a working career that seldom provides more than Social Security. Without it, it is unlikely they could continue to afford to live here. Our young people, through Suffolk SERVES, can earn a tuition-free college education by volunteering with the ambulance. We need young people and they need tuition reimbursement and we can help them earn up to a bachelor’s degree free of charge and train them to be better citizens and neighbors and business owners.
The volunteer ambulance coordinates CPR instruction and first-aid classes and serves as a public resource for health awareness and education. We provide free ambulances and full crews to stand by at community functions, marathons, athletic events, fairs, and festivals. Anyone who asks us will be helped. We educate the public on tick-borne illness and other facts of life here on the East End. We even scold your kids about wearing bike helmets and riding safely. We visit your child’s school and let them learn about what we do and how to call 911 in an emergency and how to form a family emergency plan. We are the moms and dads of their classmates.
The members of the E.H.V.A.A. donate hundreds of hours of our personal time and training and study to be prepared to donate skilled services to our community. It makes us all better neighbors and friends. Any scheme to take our charity and our devotion and commoditize it and sell it for a profit is contemptible and could be considered exploitation. It’s not like the tax base in East Hampton is so shallow that we are on an austerity budget scraping by to provide public services. This village can easily afford to support this working-class community institution, and I think I’ve made a pretty good case that the taxpayers are getting a tremendous value for their tax dollars.
It is getting harder and harder for working people to stay here on the East End. The price of housing has outstripped what we can earn, food prices are climbing out of reach, and the cost of everything a working family needs is exceeding our budgets. Billing for ambulance service and eliminating our volunteer organizations and the free benefits they provide in the process is simply throwing gasoline on a failing working-class economy.
The trade parade grows longer and longer every passing year with essential workers who cannot afford to live here and who search aimlessly for parking. To even consider balancing our village budget and generate a profit for the village by exploiting the sick and the elderly and otherwise vulnerable is outrageous. It is thinking devoid of a moral compass.
It is with confidence that I say, no government will ever be able to affordably reinvent the entire scope of this 501(c)(3) volunteer institution as a billed municipal business.
The E.H.V.A.A. and all volunteer ambulance corps provide much more than free ambulance rides; we create a community fabric of safety and reliability and we make the East End a better place to live and work and raise all our children. I am proud to be a part of that. We provide our residents with the one thing all their money cannot buy: peace of mind and the knowledge that they have trained medical people among them at all times ready to take what might be the worst day of their lives and make it better — at no charge. Your volunteer ambulance corps can guarantee free service unless the village usurps the operating certificate. This is where we live, and we need our certificate to continue serving you. I wish the mayor luck in applying for his own.
January 6, 2023
“Suffolk County public water is in the top 5 percent of nitrate levels in the U.S.,” according to Stony Brook’s Chris Gobler, probably the most-recognized authority on Long Island’s ground and surface water problems. Dr. Gobler reports that this level of nitrate pollution puts us at increased risk for colon, bladder, gastric, ovarian, and kidney cancer. This is not good. We sit on top of a sole-source aquifer, and our misguided actions have caused this problem.
Our septic systems, for the most part, rely on antiquated technology. Our lawn and agricultural practices rely too heavily on fertilizer. And we have largely destroyed the natural systems that filter our water and structure our soil. Healthy soil promotes a healthy watershed. Forests, grasslands, and wetlands do a remarkable job of keeping both surface and groundwater clean. These ecosystems are alive with soil fungi and microbes that naturally remove many of the contaminants that now threaten us. Yet, we continue to strip our watershed of these protective natural systems.
Every time we clear-cut lots for building convenience or even remove leaf litter from woodland floors for fear of ticks or a misdirected need for tidiness, we diminish nature-based solutions to our problems.
The good news is that newer septic system technologies, generously subsidized, will drastically lower nitrate levels in our ground and surface waters. There is more, however, that we should be doing, given the urgency of the problem. It’s not only our health at risk. Our bays, estuaries, and other surface waters are endangered by nitrogen overload. Algal blooms threaten our shellfishing and tourism industries. Even our pets are at risk if they drink from ponds that have certain nitrogen generated algal blooms.
East Hampton is a leader in environmental protection. Still, we need to do even more to prevent tree clearing and to protect our remaining woodlands. Even small remnant woodland lots have outsize ecological value beyond their visible usefulness. Our native oaks are keystones of our woodland ecosystems. Once removed, they are not easily or rapidly replaced. Study after study has also shown that red oaks, along with willows and poplars, are extremely efficient at removing nitrates from soil and groundwater. We need to leave trees in the ground. And we need to re-vegetate environmentally strategic but diminished sites like the 70.5-acre Wainscott sand mine.
If, as Dr. Gobler says, all of Long Island is a watershed, then we should treat it as one. Our lives and livelihood depend upon it.
Value of Trees
January 8, 2023
To the Editor:
A woman recently told me that she was surprised by the behavior of her 2-year-old son. Their neighbor was having a large tree removed, and she took her boy outdoors to see the event. He loved watching heavy machinery, so she thought he would be enthralled. But when he saw the tree being cut down, he broke into tears, whimpering “kai, kai,” his word for “bird.” His mother said he was reacting to birds losing their home.
People are becoming increasingly aware of the value of trees. They produce oxygen, prevent soil erosion, and add beauty to our communities. By absorbing carbon dioxide, they defend against global warming. And, as this young child understood, they provide habitats for other living beings. I hope that when residents and government officials make decisions about tree removal, they will consider all the benefits trees bestow.
East Hampton Group for Wildlife
Steal Our Parkland
January 9, 2023
Thank you for your coverage of the ongoing struggle to again save Hither Woods in Montauk. If the motels in downtown Montauk are creating so much pollution that we have to cannibalize part of Hither Woods, then maybe it is time for the town to buy and then tear those motels down. Don’t retreat — remove. Don’t move the downtown motels, remove them. Maybe it is time to transform Montauk from a tourist community to a second-home community.
According to the Suffolk County Water Authority, in 2001, the water authority pumped almost 20 million gallons of water from East Hampton to Montauk, never to return. By 2021, that number had increased to a whopping 291 million gallons. Meanwhile, it already costs the taxpayers over $1 million per year to keep sand on the dirt bags in front of the motels.
And yet that is not enough for the developers and their enablers. Now they want to steal our parkland
to build a $75 million sewer. The answer is not more development;, it is less.
The town should identify the biggest polluters and if they can’t be remediated, remove them. After a sufficient number of motels are removed, then maybe there will be sufficient space for the remaining businesses to install on-site sewage treatment.
Begin the Downfall
January 9, 2023
The Town of East Hampton is proposing to build a sewage treatment plant on Suffolk County parkland in Hither Woods. The town would get 14 acres of county parkland in Hither Woods in exchange for land the town recently purchased — and preserved — on Montauk’s East Lake Drive.
I oppose both the land transfers and the development of a sewage treatment plant in the magnificent forest known as Hither Woods. Our East Hampton community has fought very hard since the 1980s to preserve Hither Woods and our environment in general.
Montauk has many unique qualities, especially its protected open space, its astounding views, and the sight, smell, and sound of the ocean and bay. Montauk is an enclave, essentially an island, attached to the rest of East Hampton via a narrow spit of land, Napeague. The character and charm of Montauk is in large part because we’ve controlled development and preserved open space, unlike many other communities in the Northeast. We’ve done this by obtaining and preserving open space as parkland. The charm and beauty of these open spaces, including the still-wild Hither Woods, is the backbone of Montauk’s economy.
Hither Woods parkland is a vital resource for our local environment. For one thing, it helps to maintain the purity of Montauk’s most important drinking water aquifer. It would be foolish and shortsighted to attempt to clean the water under downtown Montauk by pumping it into a treatment plant located directly atop the Montauk aquifer.
Montauk is special, not overdeveloped or urbanized. Hither Woods provides recreational opportunities for many kinds of park users on Montauk, among them hikers, runners, botanists, equestrians, hunters, mountain bikers, cross-country skiers, birdwatchers, fishermen, and historians. We’ve worked hard to keep this place special, cognizant of what it takes to maintain our pure environmental character.
Montauk is a prime example of what a community can do when it comes together to preserve the environment.
I ask you to refrain from supporting East Hampton Town’s ill-conceived proposal to alienate parkland at Hither Woods for the development of a sewage treatment plant. The sewage treatment plant will only begin the downfall of Hither Woods. The Town should be told to prepare an environmental impact statement in order to investigate less-harmful and less-expensive ways to treat groundwater in Montauk’s commercial areas.
CAPT. THOMAS R. CUSIMANO
In Hither Woods
January 6, 2023
Thank you for your coverage of local opposition to the proposed sewage plant in Hither Woods. Would it be correct to sum up the situation as follows:
East Hampton Town zoning and planning regulations — and permitted variances in Montauk — have brought about a situation where the perceived only way to deal with resulting sewage is to dispose of it on land preserved as park?
Can’t Be Trusted
January 8, 2023
To the Editor:
Trust is essential, in all facets of life. It comes from the confidence of knowing that whoever you are dealing with is beyond reproach, as are their words and actions.
Regarding the proposed destruction of parkland at Hither Woods and the creation of an urbanized Montauk sewer system, Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc purposely hid the facts behind a recent town land purchase, which he wanted to help advance the sewer project. He and the town board hid the fact that they bought land on East Lake Drive specifically to offer it in exchange with Suffolk County in order to obtain Hither Woods parkland from the county. They had an opportunity to tell the truth. They didn’t. They thought the townspeople weren’t smart enough to figure it out. They can’t be trusted.
Mr. Van Scoyoc and the town board used the town general fund instead of using the community preservation fund to purchase the Highland Meadows property on East Lake Drive. On its face, the town board’s action seemed baffling, as it was a wasteful use of more than $4 million of town general fund tax dollars, which could have been saved by simply using community preservation fund money. That is precisely what the preservation fund is for. Why was this done? The town board wanted to do a land swap with Suffolk County for Hither Woods forest so they could destroy it for their sewer project.
If the town had bought the Highland Meadows property with preservation fund funds, a land swap with Suffolk County would have needed approval by the town’s voters in a public referendum. Why didn’t the town board inform their constituents? Because Mr. Van Scoyoc and his fellow town board members did not want town residents to know of their grand plan: to wipe out a chunk of Montauk’s Hither Woods to help boost development in an increasingly urbanized downtown Montauk, and they certainly didn’t want town residents to get to vote on whether this land swap should occur!
Mr. Van Scoyoc claims the town has examined alternatives to an urbanized and centralized Montauk sewer system. When were these alternatives explored? It occurred inside a very small town subcommittee that has a high proportion of Montauk business owners and whose meetings are not public. This subcommittee of sewer people is just an echo chamber. It tells the supervisor what he wants to hear.
The alleged alternatives have never been discussed in public, just presented as fact by Mr. Van Scoyoc. The Montauk urban sewer program has never been presented to the town’s nearly 30,000 full-time residents for discussion and debate. Shouldn’t there be a real discussion of alternatives before spending $75 million on just the first phase of the largest infrastructure project the town has ever considered? This lack of transparency does not inspire confidence in the town’s leadership, much less trust.
There’s a war being waged against our way of life here in Montauk. The people touting the Montauk urban sewer system will tell us all the reasons why destroying a portion of historic Hither Woods forest (which so many people worked hard for 20 years to preserve) is good for Montauk. They’ll claim they know what is best for us, which is exactly what the supervisor is saying.
The reality is if they get 14 acres of Hither Woods to bulldoze for their sewer scheme, the sewer people won’t stop. In 15 or 20 years, the sewer people will want 20 acres of parkland, then 25 acres. There will be proposals for other uses that can only be put in parkland. The result — Montauk will never be the same again. Clearly, this is considered progress by Mr. Van Scoyoc. I do not subscribe to this type of progress. There is however, a broad groundswell of local people that recognizes the danger that Montauk faces. These are the people who will hold the line against the sewer people, and we will never yield.
January 9, 2023
The town board recently formally announced the “kick off” of the Montauk wastewater proposal. The plan requires exchanging acres of Hither Hills state parkland for property acquired elsewhere. The town board’s actions to fund and purchase an exchange property were concrete steps initiating the plan.
While the town board may have held discussions for some time with business owners and others, the process to date has largely excluded public participation. Nor has a formal environmental review begun. This inaction is puzzling given that the plan is in motion and there are known flooding and sea level rise concerns affecting Montauk. The key policy behind state-mandated review is that it begin as early as possible in the formulation of a proposed project.
Early review is critical. Environmental issues and alternatives must be weighed equally with other considerations. Delaying review makes it harder to change course in response to concerns brought to light by a scrupulous review process. Moving plans forward before review even begins also creates institutional bias in favor of the project as proposed.
Prompt and transparent State Environmental Quality Review Act review is our town’s strongest defense against inappropriate planning and development. It applies to the town board and brings efficiency, transparency, and accountability to its actions.
It is a serious mistake to “kick off” a massive capital project before formal environmental review even begins.
Start at Home
January 8, 2023
We begin this new year looking forward to something better than the last year. Many horrors of last year could begin to resolve if we focus on personal improvements and local issues significant to our own communities. This is the only “trickle down” theory that I think makes sense. First, let’s get our own house in order — Washington will eventually wake up and follow, because they need our votes.
We have heard it before that all politics is local. Constituents and voters are concerned most about issues that affect their personal lives and home communities and they vote accordingly. When sensible representation is sent to Washington, sensible democratic process has an opportunity to thrive.
National and international politics continues to be a mess, and it may seem that we, as individuals, are limited in our ability to change that. Look at the ridiculous situation of the stumbling election of speaker of the House of Representatives, and its obstruction by a mere handful of right-wingnut zealots.
Also, we must not overlook the complete phony who just got elected on lies, and was still sworn in by the House, and is now representing the Third Congressional District on Long Island! That was a gross failure of due diligence by both parties. Washington seems drowning in its own BS while feeding off, and wasting, our taxes. Remember, they contribute nothing to the gross domestic product, but we do!
These parasitic creeps in politics have figured how to live high on the hog by simply getting elected and re-elected, by hook or by crook. They forecast great fears and tragedy if we don’t elect them, and for some foolish reason we have been drinking their Kool-Aid and electing them. It’s time for us to take care of ourselves more directly.
The “dry January” commitment we see trending is an interesting idea for self-help. Some sources date it back to the 1940s, others credit a British trademark movement 10 years ago. Anyway, it offers a look into the old 12-step programs based on taking charge of what we can actually change, rather than spinning our wheels trying to change that which we cannot.
Accordingly, our local politicians and constituents with strong points of view can make a resolution to become more willing to listen to each other — and to negotiate. If we’re ever going to save democracy, that effort will have to start at home.
Winning at all costs is not democracy. Working with our opponents to achieve the best result for the most people is democracy. One person, one vote is democracy, and not the largest cash bankroll for advertising. Weapons and shouting are not democracy; thoughtful speech leading to agreeable results is in the direction of democracy.
We are still in serious trouble if we look only toward Washington for direction. We actually need to direct them more effectively.
It was refreshing to listen to Hakeem Jeffries speaking as the new minority leader, when he took the time to describe true cooperative Democratic principles. After that, he embraced Kevin McCarthy, who took over the microphone. Then Kevin made it clear the extent to which he had sold his soul to become leader.
Rather than anything conciliatory, warm, and welcoming, he lashed out and went so far as to say that his commitment would be to govern by subpoena. We all know what that means. It’s just another dog whistle, signaling the continued allegiance to the disgraced former administration, and those who continue to support its ideals. McCarthy even went so far as to give the disgraced ex-POTUS credit for his win. If there’s any hope for this country, we voters out here in the hinterlands must take the lead and show these idiots how to run this country — properly.
Hoping for a healthier and happier new year.
January 6, 2023
Today, a ceremony to honor those police officers who were beaten, killed. and abused was held at the Capitol. Only one Republican congressman showed up to pay his respects. The others didn’t not come because they were in prison; they just didn’t care enough. The only question is why aren’t they in prison?
So Many Liars
January 4, 2023
Happy new year. I would like to start by stating your editorial about punishing George Santos, in all honesty, probably is a must. However I could be wrong, but I never read anything about other liars, such as the “Indian” Elizabeth Warren. Please include Richard Blumenthal, who for the life of me, lied big time about serving in Vietnam. Both have been re-elected a few times, why, please someone tell me why.
My next question is why are so many politicos chronic liars? Keep in mind, the biggest liars of all are Hillary Clinton, “The fact is that I had zero emails that were classified.” The Justice Department inspector general found 81 email chains containing about 193 individual classified ones. Keep in mind, Hillary illegally destroyed plenty more. And Joe Biden’s mouth can’t or won’t tell the truth. Every time he opens his mouth, untruths spill out. His list is way too long to write about.
I would like to thank Mr. Ihle for letting me know my letters to the editor are truly read. Have you read the numerous letters for four years, written by at least four different persons ripping Trump down to the gutter? Wishing him the worst things that could happen to him and about him.
Have you been in a closet while letters written about Lee Zeldin, both when he ran for Congress and recently ran for governor? Wow, what was written about him, he’s lucky to be able to hold his head high. The hate, the threats, the lies were totally unnecessary. Is this okay with you? The dislike in my letters is nothing as to what has been in the letters to the editor. On the wrong side of the facts? I don’t think so.
In God and country,
Not Up to Him
January 5, 2023
To the Editor,
Why do all press reports about the accused University of Idaho mass murderer, Bryan Kohberger, say that he has agreed to “waive extradition,” as if he has any choice in the matter, could “fight” extradition, and is being a cooperative, nice guy doing a favor to his four victims’ grieving families and the United States justice system?
It is not up to him. That decision is in the hands of the Idaho governor; not the (alleged) criminal. The United States Constitution is crystal clear on the matter of extradition. Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2 explicitly states, “A person charged in any state with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another state, shall on demand of the executive authority of the state from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime.” Case closed.
The State of Idaho does not need Bryan Kohberger’s magnanimity in speeding up the cause of justice in the adjudication of this horrendous massacre.