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Letters to the Editor for January 19, 2023

Thu, 01/19/2023 - 08:15

Cooking With Volts
January 15, 2023

Dear David,

The gas industry’s dirty little secret is finally out of the bag: Having a gas stove is like putting an S.U.V.’s tailpipe in your kitchen. With toxic pollutants like particulate matter, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and nitrogen dioxide spewing out, gas stoves cause an estimated 12.7 percent of United States childhood asthma cases — and up to 14 percent in New York State. Those pollutants are fouling your indoor air with levels hundreds of times higher than those allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency for outdoor air. And the burners don’t even have to be lit!

Gas stoves pose other health threats, too, like heart disease and cancer. And some studies have linked their use to a higher risk of dementia. And it’s not just stoves; gas furnaces can spread pollutants throughout your home’s ductwork, putting your health and your family’s health at risk.

But the gas industry doesn’t care about your health. It only cares about profits. It makes money not only from the sale of gas but also from installing gas hookups to new homes or homes with new service — and the New York Public Service Commission forces all gas ratepayers to fund free gas-line installation for new gas customers, even though those lines are polluting our homes with deadly gases.

The right-wing propaganda machine has found a new bone to gnaw on, with hysterical cries that the government is coming to “take your stoves.” But that’s a lie pushed by the gas industry itself. The truth is, the government is just making it easier for you to buy an electric or induction stove, with new federal incentives of up to $850 to make the switch. Induction cooktops are more responsive to changing cooking temperatures than even gas stoves. They’re safer. They don’t pollute. And they are way easier to clean.

Don’t get snookered by the gaslighting lies of those who don’t care about your health. Get smart and start cooking with volts, not gas!



Once Held Sacred
January 16, 2023

Dear David,

The East Hampton Trails Preservation Society, representing 572 member households, stands in opposition to the Town of East Hampton’s proposal to bulldoze 14 pristine parkland acres in Hither Woods to build a sewage treatment plant. It’s hard to believe we even have to write these words. Is this what our East Hampton is, or perhaps worse, what we are becoming as a community — a place where our open space, once held sacred, is now destroyed to build sewage treatment plants?

We stand in support of the Coalition for Hither Woods efforts to stop this unimaginable project, and encourage our members and community to learn more at Time is critical, and there is certainly much information to digest. But for the Trails Preservation Society, it continues to return to one simple and very clear theme: In our beloved hometown of East Hampton, we don’t build sewage treatment plants in our parks.




East Hampton Trails Preservation Society


Time to Fight
January 15, 2023

To the Editor,

It’s unfathomable to believe that anyone would consider constructing a sewer treatment plan over the largest freshwater aquifer in Montauk and potentially risk our drinking water for decades, or perhaps forever. But, that is exactly what Peter Van Scoyoc, and seemingly other town board members, is proposing. Not alone in their proposal, the wastewater committee, consisting largely of Montauk business owners, are on board as well.

Over the past 10 years or so, Montauk has seen significant growth in new homes, as well as daily visitors during the peak summer months. This has led to a reduced quality of life for residents because of traffic congestion, rowdiness, auto accidents, noise pollution, etc. Instead of attempting to control the mayhem, Peter Van Scoyoc and some on the town board want to make the problems worse for Montauk residents. They want to increase growth in the village — something they can’t do without bamboozling Montauk residents into approving a $75 million infrastructure project, and destroying a large swath of Hither Woods and its underground freshwater aquifer.

We, the Montauk residents — and not the business community — need to decide on the future for Montauk. Do you want to allow Peter Van Scoyoc, and “Big Hotel” to remake Montauk village into a mini-Miami beach, or would you prefer the small-town local community feel Montauk has long been cherished for? It’s time to fight for what you believe in.



Essential Hearing
January 16, 2023

Dear David,

A belated happy new year to you. While reflecting on 2022 and taking stock of all the issues I’ve written about to you — yes, I admit to chewing up no small number of inches of your newsprint — I recalled that the first letter I ever sent to The Star was about the pending Wainscott Commercial Center development application for a 50-lot subdivision of the 70-acre depleted sand and gravel mine, a.k.a. the Pit.

This project isn’t just “big-ish,” it’s gigantic. As the applicants characterize it, this will be “the largest commercial subdivision and development on Long Island’s South Fork.” Their stated sole purpose of this development is to serve the town’s dominant and expanding construction and tourism industries and wealthy second-homeowner economy. All in, the project as currently scoped, or anywhere close to it, will perpetuate overdevelopment in East Hampton for decades more to come.

In that letter, titled “The Big Pit,” published in your Dec. 9, 2021, edition, I wrote. “Though this project has been idling on the tarmac for many years — working its way through state, county, and local studies — it now appears the engines are revving and that the commercial center is getting ready to barrel down the runway for takeoff . . . I implore my fellow East Hampton citizens to ‘get grounded’ A.S.A.P. on the topic.” Well, here we are, a little more than a year after that letter, and those engines are no longer idling — the Wainscott Commercial Center is airborne.

Following three years of review of three different versions of a draft environmental impact statement, at their final meeting of 2022, the East Hampton Town Planning Board voted to declare the fourth impact statement version complete.

“Complete” is something of a technical term used in review processes, but complete does not equal approval of the application. It simply means that the board finds the many issues that were scoped at the beginning of the process were addressed adequately by the applicant in the document.

But the declaration of completeness does one most important thing: It launches the application process into the public comment period, including the essential public hearing.

Last week, the planning board set the public hearing for Feb. 8, divided into two parts: an afternoon session from 3 to 5:30, followed by an evening session beginning at 6:30. Rather than the usual Town Hall setting, the venue will be LTV Studios, at 75 Industrial Road, Wainscott. And if anyone who wants to speak cannot make it in person, there is the option to participate by watching the hearing on LTV Channel 22 (on television or online) and dialing in to comment.

Considering the consequential and even existential nature of this application, the timing of this hearing is unfortunate. Maybe it’s just bad luck, or perhaps there was a bit of strategic management by the applicant who had control of exactly when they submitted the fourth impact statement draft in a way that would put the public hearing deep into cold, gray winter in East Hampton. Either way, a hearing in February creates some degree of disadvantage for the public. As we know, it’s a time when local residents often flee from winter by the sea, and when the seasonal homeowner population is nonexistent out here. The effectiveness of public notice, as well as turnout, likely will be compromised by this timing.

We all need to counter that, so now I’m writing to implore the people of East Hampton and surrounding areas to participate fully, by speaking at the hearing, or at least by letter to the record, or even better, with both.

For readers not yet familiar with the application, the Pit site starts just north of Route 27, only 200 yards from Georgica Pond, bordered by residential neighborhoods on both the east and west sides, and bounded by the Long Island Rail Road on the north. It’s estimated that during peak periods it could create an additional 600 vehicle ins and outs right at perhaps the worst traffic-pain point in town. All types of pollutions — noise, light, visual, air, water — will be created. Zoning maximum building and coverage allowances could mean over 50 acres of structures and impervious surface at full buildout.

The entire site is zoned commercial-industrial, so uses on this project could include warehouses, distribution and storage yards, wholesale lumber and building product yards, workshops, filling stations, car washes, garages for repair and storage, motor vehicle sales, car lots, office parks, fuel-storage tanks, multiple industrial complex, planned industrial park, paving and construction material manufacturing, scrap yards, recycling centers, truck terminals, and waste-transfer stations.

 If anyone is unclear about what this project really means — what it will all look like, sound like, feel like, the density and intensity of it — I urge you take a tour of the commercial-industrial corridor on and around lower Springs-Fireplace Road.

I imagine representatives from the construction, landscaping, real estate spheres and pro-development interests will turn up at the hearing to claim that all 50 lots are necessary. But I hope many more people will address the application’s lack of tangible benefits to residents or community sustainability; that it forecloses the realization of the Wainscott Hamlet Plan; that it’s incompatible with our town code’s purposes and the comprehensive plan’s objectives; that it likely widens the affordable housing deficit; and that there are significant opportunity costs, in that better, productive, economically sound, environmentally positive, value-enhancing, forward-looking, and character-sustaining multiuse alternatives to benefit a broader swath of the community and economy should be considered.

There’s a lot to get up to speed on before the hearing. No doubt, hundreds of impact statement pages and all the technical data are daunting. But if anyone wants to learn more or needs some assistance sifting through it all, I’m here to help via my organization Build.In.Kind/EastHampton

I hope to see and hear many of your readers at the public hearing on Feb. 8.




Dolphin Drive
January 15, 2023

To the Editor,

I can’t believe that David Lys or the board has brought up parking on Dolphin Drive again. Our neighbors and experts have repeatedly discussed with the board how environmentally wrong this is because of the threat to the primary dune — our only protection in the face of storms. The primary dune effectively protected us from losing our homes and lives during Hurricane Sandy and is urgently needed for protection in the face of future storms.

Countless times it has been pointed out to the board that this proposed parking requires walking across the primary dune to get to the beach, which is the only beach access on Dolphin Drive. The dune is already eroding terribly from people walking across it. We have shown the board photos of the terrible erosion every time this parking proposal comes up.

Yet, Mr. Lys and whoever else is supporting this plan, seems to turn a blind eye and overlook the truth and keeps bringing up this disastrous plan. There is already a public parking lot in our community one block away which is open to all and generally filled by outsiders, since the neighbors in our community walk to the beach!

It becomes a highly suspect question as to why Mr. Lys is repeatedly raising this issue that clearly is a danger to our community. Why is he repeatedly threatening our nine-block community filled with many senior citizens and families with young children? Why out of all the streets on the ocean side is Dolphin Drive being targeted. Is this a personal vendetta? Is this for some political or some unforeseen economic gain?

This must stop. It is a form of ongoing harassment of our community and demonstrates a callousness and insensitivity to our residents by the board who has sworn to represent and protect them. Please end this once and for all!



Changing the Rules
January 15, 2023

To the Editor:

According to David McMaster, an assistant town attorney, “When you purchase a property, you inherit the property rights of the previous owner,” except here on Bay View Avenue, where a road and access are still blocked. All because the homeowners built past their property lines. All because the agents and attorneys work for the town. Urban renewal plans mean nothing in town code time and time again.

I see Rick Whalen remains on the business committee, according to the Jan. 5 town board meeting. Great moral stance from the man who resigned a week after he was called out as chairman of the nature preserve committee. Must be time to write more legislation.

The nature preserve under the Steele Document is still blocked at the end of Bay View Avenue. I guess it’s not for all town people to use, after all. Maybe the rest of that committee should resign immediately.

Aram Terchunian once again is on the Montauk beach preservation committee, while the beach here has been destroyed by him and his company by obtaining permits that, in my humble opinion, were done under well-detailed false pretenses. Just look at the plans.

So what are your rights? What is real property? It is only real when it suits the town and the board’s associates. As we’ve already learned, the house (in this case, the town) always wins because the house is always changing the rules, rights be damned.

Still here,



Time to Run
January 16, 2023

Dear David,

On Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the American Legion, 15 Montauk Highway, East Hampton, the East Hampton Town Republican Committee will hold the first of two candidate screenings. If you desire to run for office, you do not need to be a registered Republican; Republican, Democrat, Independent, or unaffiliated are welcome to screen.

East Hampton Town is at a crossroads. One-party rule is destroying the fabric of our community. One-party government has adopted a one-sided “my way or the highway” ideology. They have pitted neighbors against neighbors, spent exorbitant fees on litigation, prevented family gatherings while turning a blind eye to the parties of the rich and famous, decimated the town work force, raised taxes, lost beach access rights enjoyed for generations, and adopted policies that have accelerated outward migration of our children and families. If you live and work in East Hampton, this town board has failed you at every level.

All politics are local, and East Hampton residents’ issues require local thinking. We need you to save East Hampton to work for an equitable East Hampton where a resident can earn a living wage. You do not need to be a registered Republican but, instead, have a strong desire to fix broken town government. To be a voice for unrepresented, struggling families, senior citizens, and year-round residents struggling to make ends meet.

Come join the East Hampton Republican Committee to work for an equitable East Hampton where a resident can earn a living wage. This year’s election: supervisor, $114,014; two town board, 71,260; one town justice, $82,802; one highway superintendent, $118,569; one clerk, $136,300; two assessors, $91,455, nine trustees, and health and state pension benefits.

If you believe one-party rule has led to one colossal failure after another and placed East Hampton on the wrong track, now is the time to get involved and run for office.



East Hampton Town Republican Committee


Many Challenges
January 15, 2023

Dear David,

Kudos to Town Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, who this past week, announced that she’ll run for the vacated position of town supervisor. In 87 words, and telling it like it is without wasting a syllable, she spelled out many of the key economic, social, and demographic challenges we’re facing.

She wrote: “Over the last several years, we have witnessed tremendous shifts here in town — the year-round population has grown by 32 percent, the potential labor pool has shrunk significantly, the housing market continues to tighten, with housing getting even more expensive relative to income, some very wealthy residents have become more entitled and overly litigious. Private equity investors have poured in millions of dollars, buying up local businesses, all the while our older residents and those facing challenges due to low incomes have become more and more isolated.” Well said, Kathee, well said.




Rebalance the Court
East Hampton
January 16, 2023

Dear David:

Upon Janet DiFiore’s resignation as chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, Gov. Kathy Hochul had the opportunity to align the state’s highest court with the values of the majority of New Yorkers. And, she had a chance to rebalance the court to better reflect the breadth of the professional experience of the New York legal community. And, she had the opportunity to nominate a chief judge whose judicial philosophy aligned with the values New Yorkers hold dear.

Instead, Hochul nominated Justice Hector LaSalle, a judge whose pedigree is more in line with the deeply conservative justices on the United States Supreme Court than with New Yorkers, most of whom value individual liberties and legal protections for all residents. If his nomination is approved, the Court of Appeals would tilt decidedly toward conservative principles.

I supported Governor Hochul’s bid for the governorship and am deeply disappointed in her nomination of Justice LaSalle. I hope the State Senate soundly rejects him, thereby sending a message to Governor Hochul to nominate a chief judge with a record of defending the rights of the powerless, not one focused on protecting the privileges of the powerful.

As candidate, Ms. Hochul acknowledged during her campaign, reacting to the clamor from the far-right Lee Zeldin, that abortion and labor rights (among others) are issues that clear majorities of New Yorkers strongly support, and must be protected — not challenged. So, one would have expected her judicial appointments to align with her political philosophy. One would have thought. But, by nominating Justice LaSalle, Governor Hochul has placed all these interests at risk. Justice LaSalle has authored or joined several legally questionable decisions during his time on the Appellate Division. These decisions include a ruling which could subject organizers to liability for heretofore protected union activities and a ruling protective of anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers — organizations that mislead pregnant women about their options and act as fronts for forced birth advocacy.

Beyond serious concerns over Justice LaSalle’s judicial philosophy, his nomination would perpetuate the lack of professional diversity on New York’s highest court. Prosecutors and corporate attorneys are severely overrepresented on the Court of Appeals. This lack of professional diversity deprives the court of crucial perspectives of how the law impacts ordinary people. This lack of diversity has real-world impact. Empirically, studies have shown that judges who are former prosecutors and corporate attorneys imposed harsher criminal sentences and sided with employers in discrimination suits more often than other judges.

Anecdotally, judges themselves have acknowledged the impact that judges of professionally diverse backgrounds have on their deliberations. U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan stated that Justice Thurgood Marshall’s experience as a civil rights attorney gave him “firsthand knowledge of the law’s failure to fulfill its promised protections” and that this perspective influenced Brennan’s own thinking.

Justice LaSalle’s record reflects one who is more interested in protecting the interests of the wealthy and powerful than in ensuring that equal justice is served in this state. New York deserves a judiciary that upholds a commitment to protecting all New Yorkers. The New York Senate can take one important step in that direction by rejecting Ms. Hochul’s nominee.




Process Reversed
East Hampton
January 16, 2023


The new opus, only 240 pages, by Thomas Piketty, “A Brief History of Equality,” is the most lucid and well-documented writing on equality in the world. Piketty explains the rise in equality — political, economic, and social — that has taken place between 1800 and 1980. Amazing changes.

He explains how progressive tax policies and the development of the welfare state enhanced growth and general prosperity and how, from 1980 to 2020, the process was reversed and general progress eviscerated. He avoids ideological idiocy and presents facts legibly, clearly, and understandably.

Not everyone’s cup of tea, but irresistibly interesting for anyone who is curious about history and reality.



He Sent Lawyers
January 12, 2023

Dear David,

Last week, news came out about some top-secret documents found in Biden’s office he used at one time when he was John Q. Public. Strange that he sent his lawyers in November to clean out a closet. Please note: He sent lawyers to do the cleaning. These documents were found before the election and we are just hearing about it.

I waited before I ran to type a letter, not jumping on the news; however it really hit the fan.

China pays the University of Pennsylvania and U. Penn. pays Biden. Millions are involved here. Biden stored documents in a Chinese-funded office.

A second set of documents was found, and now stored in Biden’s garage next to his Corvette, a third set found right out in the open in his Wilmington, Del., home. In his nasty manner he says the garage is locked. Guess they realize garages are broken into, and how do they get the car out without opening the door? Transparency has never been a part of this administration, even though it was a campaign promise.

Perhaps Biden should apologize for his statement to Scott Pelley that Trump is sooooo irresponsible. Pelley hosted him on “60 minutes.” Maybe he should go back to school and learn journalism.

In God and country,



142 Names
January 15, 2023

To the Editor,

Since George (False Pretenses Congressman) Santos has publicly promised, “If 142 people ask for me to resign, I’ll resign,” I have so far gotten these dozen “famous” “people” to join me, Richard Jay Siegelman, to ask for Representative Santos to resign immediately.

Therefore, we only need 129 other people to join us. So consider this public plea to add yourself to this baker’s dozen list of the first of 142 names to put an end to this national nightmare :

1. Richard Jay Siegelman

2. Sidd Finch

3. Mavis Beacon

4. Betty Crocker

5. Alan Smithee

6. Dame Edna Everage

7. P.D.Q. Bach

8. Tony Clifton

9. Silence Dogood

10. Lemony Snicket

11. Penelope Ashe

12. Kilgore Trout

13. Super Dave Osborn

14 to 142. ?


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