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Letters to the Editor for December 21, 2023

Wed, 12/20/2023 - 16:56

Levittown Look
East Hampton
December 15, 2023

Hey, David,

Hope you are well. So I have been meaning to write since we turned back the clocks. What got me moving was the Nov. 23 edition and the article “Landscape Designer Takes Stand for Sustainability.”

As you may know, I work in Quogue and since the clocks were set back I am traveling back to East Hampton in the dark. The amount of traffic heading west at rush hour becomes very obvious when traveling east. It is a continuous stream of side-by-side and bumper-to-bumper headlights from the Sunrise Highway all the way to County Road 39 and then on to the Montauk Highway intersection. At that point, it’s a single row of lights pretty much to Bridgehampton.

My point is the East End is so overworked, “we are in an environmental cascade,” according to Margie Ruddick in the article. And she is dead-on-balls accurate. I applaud her on drawing the line of no new construction projects. Just imagine if our local government would take that stance!

I have mentioned a few times the idea of a building moratorium. That would give us a little breathing room to figure out if we want to live in East Hampton or take on a Levittown appearance. I don’t see the current regime of Democrats lifting a finger to slow the destruction.

This current boom, I believe, is Covid-born. Do you remember the start of Covid? Then-Governor Cuomo told everyone to shelter in place. Well, the city dwellers made a beeline to the east, overran the East End and were more than welcomed by local governments against the orders of the governor. Remember our bare shelves in the I.G.A. and Stop and Shop?

It’s bad enough to deal with the destruction from Mother Nature, like runoff, pine beetles, clear-cutting the forests, and the “mass clearing of vegetation” in general. The current town board and successors will continue to “discuss” this situation and kick the can down the road. Again, I applaud Ms. Ruddick. Perhaps our local leaders can get on board. It would be a nice change. However, my expectation level is zero, as the Democrats will treat the East End just like our border.

Best regards and, as always, yours to command,



Overwhelmed Kids
December 17, 2023

To the Editor,

As the holidays approach, kids feel a mixture of excitement and anxiety. One major worry is, “Will I get the present I long for?” If you have decided to get your child that cellphone he’s been clamoring for and you told him, “Maybe,” make a firm commitment to him instead. Maybe it will be less of a surprise, but it will bring your child the same pleasure.

Kids also feel overwhelmed at this time of year by all the toys they see on television and wherever they go. Explain to your kids that all the ads and toys in store windows are there to make you want to buy everything you see. Explain to them that it is natural for them to want everything they see, but they cannot have everything they desire. Make a list of toys they like and tell them that you will get a few things now and the rest they may be able to get on another holiday or a birthday. If your child wants to give a gift to his brother or sister and he’s worried about whether it will be good enough, explain that gifts don’t need to be huge or expensive to be worthwhile. He can get something special that fits the person, like a book on astronomy, or give him one of his beautiful drawings.



Baseball and Art
December 17, 2023

To the Editor,

That was a lovely article about Helen Harrison’s impending retirement from her longtime stewardship of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center.

Thankfully, because of her tenacity and hard work, it’s a national landmark and legacy for two of the 20th century’s most gifted artists. It also brought back a memory when my wife, Meg Perlman, first peeked under the mosaic tile and uncovered the floor — the “accidental masterpiece” — in the studio. The other side of the tiles, if I recall correctly, revealed [that they were boards from] a baseball board-game that apparently failed. Hence, so many of them were lying around. I’m just guessing that it was one of Krasner’s relatives or friends that left them there (Helen probably knows). How serendipitous to think that in some strange way, baseball has been very, very good for modern art.



Stop for Animals
December 18, 2023

To the Editor:

Last week, on Route 27 in Wainscott, my husband saw a fawn lying dead on the side of the road and close by, an adult raccoon, also dead. Both had been hit, hard, by cars. My husband stopped and bought them home, and we gave them a burial. We’ve done this before with so-called roadkill, and it’s never not a heartbreak.

With winter upon us, and with darkness falling at 4:30, I am writing to ask your readers to slow down and to be prepared to stop for animals; they dart out quickly.

In the past few weeks, I saw more animals, squirrels especially, on the roads than I saw all summer, and insurance companies report that the rate of deer/vehicle collisions is highest during the winter months. This past summer, the East Hampton Group for Wildlife put eye-catching bright-yellow signs along the roads in town, reminding drivers, “Slow Down — Protect Wildlife.” The signs had to be taken down the first week of October, but now is when they’re needed most, and hopefully, this coming year, the town board will allow them to stay up year-round.

May all of us have a safe and happy holiday season. Slow, slow, slow!




Blinding Other Drivers
December 18, 2023

Dear David:

I was watching “Miss Americana,” the movie about Taylor Swift, when I understood the puzzling feeling I have whenever I hear her music. It was all the scenes where she collaborated — not with a band or an orchestra playing real instruments — but with her music director manipulating a roomful of acoustic synthesizers. The music on Taylor’s records is mostly created on machines. Amazingly, there’s not a live musician in the studio. It’s all manufactured. Yet her positive messages and exciting live performances cast a welcome light on these dark times.

I grew up with FM radio, disc jockeys, and, a little later, making my own audiotapes to share with friends. We spliced together favorite songs, but the music was based on live performances in recording studios or concert stages. When the first synthesizers came out — “the Moog” — we regarded them as interesting toys. They were like kitchen dishwashers and autopilots on airplanes. That is, they were mechanical substitutes for doing work. The same with synthesizers. But now, they’re ubiquitous. It still seems unnatural that machines and technical directors have replaced musicians, conductors, and orchestrators.

This epiphany was on my mind yesterday when I was driving to a cabaret event at The Church in Sag Harbor. Route 114 was very dark — only a sliver of crescent moon lit the night. But I was constantly blinded by mechanical car lights that were brighter than the summer sun shining on Main Beach. The brightness, especially from new electric vehicles with Xenon HID (high-intensity-discharge) lights, repeatedly blanked out the road. In these HID headlamps, electric current passes through captured xenon gas to create an arc between two electrodes; this generates intense white-blue light that is much brighter than LED. This is not exhilarating, like light shows at a concert. It is frightening, like crash scenes in a movie. New pickup trucks are especially culpable. The height of their lights, together with the power and intensity of their beams, not only shocks the optic nerve but can cause momentary purple spots to appear like U.F.O.s.

So, while I sort of understand the male and female macho of driving with high beams on, it is dangerous. People might (and probably will) be killed when they can’t see the trees alongside winding roads or even the white and yellow lane markers on straightaways. Reflections from street signs are particularly blinding. The victims could be your family! So, please douse those beams when on the road — especially when driving on two-way traffic lanes. Use your high beams when pulling into your driveway or on short stretches of dark private roads. Save a life by switching to low beam when passing other vehicles. As public safety messages advised about drinking and driving when I was a teenager: “Be careful. The life you save may be your own!” Remember, you’ve not creating light shows for a Swifty concert — you’re blinding other drivers.

Happy New Year!



Saved Me Time
December 18, 2023

To the Editor,

I was going to write a letter decrying the blind ignorance of someone so involved with self-described social work.

Someone so concerned about current anti’s and phobias, understanding none of it. But the letter following Ella Engel-Snow’s by Donald Sussis said it all, saving me the time.



Bully Pulpit
December 13, 2023

To the Editor,

This is in response to an editorial in The East Hampton Star on Dec. 7. The Maidstone Gun Club is leased and a private members-only facility. It is not public property! How do you qualify yourself to judge what belongs and what does not belong, at a private club for members and their guests only? What gives you the right to judge what a private facility and its members may or may not do? Last time I checked, this is a free country. Members work and run this club.

You need greater oversight using your newspaper as your personal bully pulpit.



The Club Serves
East Hampton
December 15, 2023

Ladies and Gentlemen:

For the Star to invest its editorial energies (Dec. 7, 2023) to suggest that the presence of a 35-square-foot convertible Ping-Pong/pool table (donated by a member) situated in the Maidstone Gun Club’s meeting room somehow changes the complexion of the 1,000-member shooting club with acres of skeet, rifle, trap, and pistol ranges into an improper “social hub” in violation of its true purpose is a cheap shot. My recent letter to the town board, a courtesy copy of which was sent to The Star and apparently served as the inspiration for The Star’s misguided editorial, was a plea to the town board to be mindful of the unfair prejudices held by some against the Maidstone Gun Club.

The letter described Maidstone’s charitable arm, community service activities, firearm safety dialogues, service as host to the local Boy Scouts and police departments, and its role as the training ground for our local competitive shooting champions. The letter provided insight to the pleasure that the members and their guests enjoy when engaging in Olympic-sanctioned shooting sports at Maidstone — a full-service gun club.

The letter also mentioned that the members, as in any club, enjoy the camaraderie of each other’s company and exchange information when they meet at the clubhouse. Indeed, the club serves as a much-needed (see Star editorial of Dec. 14) and inexpensive outlet for many senior citizens of the community who enjoy the sport of shooting and the social interchange that a club provides. For The Star to ignore the gist of the letter and instead extract only a snippet from it which referred to the presence in the clubhouse of a convertible Ping-Pong/pool table (donated by a member) as evidence that Maidstone is improperly serving, as referred to in its editorial heading — “More Than a Gun Range” — in violation of its intended purpose and a reference in the letter to the friendly social interaction between members as reflecting an unauthorized “social hub” is lopsided journalism.



Human Interaction
December 15, 2023

Dear David:

At first, I thought to myself, is it spring 2024 already, and April Fool’s Day is upon us? When I read “More Than a Gun Range” . . . “a club member said it was where members can ‘gather on the porch or in the lounge and discuss matters of common interest’ “ . . . “play a game of Ping-Pong or billiards” . . . an “extraordinary place to get free do-it-yourself home-repair guidance.”

You mused, “This is lovely, but does it belong?”

Are you serious? Sad part is I am sure you are. I wonder how you would expect to manage such normal human interaction, like people talking to each other and having some fun? Would you want a clause in the lease that stipulates “No friendly conversations among members who might derive mutual pleasure from human engagement is allowed on leased property grounds. If you want to talk about home-repair projects, go elsewhere — just do not do that here! No billiards allowed to avoid competitive spirt among participants to result in loud cheering should a good shot be taken. We will have none of that! This is a place for shooting and gun education only!”?

Maybe it is me who took you seriously when in fact you were just trying to be funny. My sense of humor often misses nuances obvious to others so I will just leave it at that. I missed your point if there was one.



Laced Up Sneakers
East Hampton Village
December 13, 2023

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to the Village of East Hampton, the Town of East Hampton, and our wonderful community for the overwhelming support and participation in the inaugural Y.M.C.A. of Long Island 5K Series Run/Walk for a Cause at the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter.

This event was a tremendous success, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the collaborative efforts of the Village and Town of East Hampton, as well as the generous support of our community sponsors, including Serhant, Coreyswave Professional Surf, Egan & Golden, and the Kiwanis Club of East Hampton. Their commitment to our cause played a pivotal role in making this event not only possible but truly memorable.

On behalf of the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter, we extend our heartfelt thanks to each and every participant who laced up their sneakers and joined us for a beautiful race day. Your enthusiasm and commitment to promoting community wellness were truly inspiring. The energy and camaraderie among the participants created a positive and uplifting atmosphere, making the event a resounding success.

We also want to express our gratitude to the local businesses and individuals who came out to support the event, contributing to the vibrant and inclusive spirit of the day. Your presence and encouragement made a significant impact, and we are truly thankful for your involvement.

As we reflect on the success of this year’s 5K Series Run/Walk, we are already looking forward to next year’s event. The positive feedback and community engagement have fueled our excitement for the 2024 race series. Registration is now open at, and we encourage everyone to mark their calendars and join us for another fantastic day of fitness, fun, and community spirit.

Once again, thank you to the Village of East Hampton, The town of East Hampton, our community sponsors, and everyone who contributed to the success of the Y.M.C.A. of Long Island 5K Series Run/Walk for a Cause. Your support is deeply appreciated, and we can’t wait to make next year’s event even more remarkable.



Executive Director

Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter


Oh, So Young
December 14, 2023

To the Editor,

Today is the 11th anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School’s 2012 massacre, and the most significant fact is that this 2023-24 school year would have been the 20 oh-so-young 6 and 7-year-old first graders’ senior year. Since they won’t be here in June to attend either their prom or graduation, the best way to make this up to their families would be for the United States Congress to finally (more than 4,000 days since the tragedy) pass some common-sense, lifesaving gun-control laws.



What Else
December 17, 2023

To the Editor,

With a $30-million project on the horizon for the new senior center, what else could it have been used for?

This is also with the caveat that the town wouldn't actually be incurring the full cost for all these projects (though it could just get it done with a promissory note):

The current estimate for the Napeague Harbor dredging is $5 million, Cranberry Hole Road bridge is currently $2.5 million by New York’s own database website. It has been said that the $500,000 set aside a year for leaf pickup would be more than enough; a decade and another $5 million used leaves (pun intended) us with around $17.5 million left. What other projects are you thinking no one is talking about?

Still here,



East Hampton
December 18, 2023

Dear David,

In this age of fake news, imagined news, no news, real news, canceled cultures, woke cultures, students using artificial intelligence for writing term papers, book-banning, hate speech, restoring banned accounts on Twitter, on X, deep webs, cyberthreats and attacks, etc. etc., it’s gratifying and refreshing to know that The Star’s policy is to print every letter to the editor with the “exception of those sent anonymously, or those judged to be proselytizing, an invasion of privacy, libelous, or obscene.”

People have spent their lifetimes sending, trying and failing, to get their letters printed in The New York Times — books and numerous articles have been written on trying to figure how that can be done.

Kudos to The Star for leading the way and being that small-town independent paper offering the forum where dialogue can occur, individual truths can be heard, and democracy flourishes.

Whatever ails democracy can be cured by more democracy, not less.

There’s a fly in the ointment — call it the messiness of life. There always seems to be at least one.

It’s touched upon by one of our country’s literary giants who lived many years in our East Hampton community.

In Joseph Heller’s antiwar satire, “Catch-22,” the hero and protagonist, Yossarian, while in a hospital, is assigned to a censorship detail where he is forced to censor letters written by enlisted men in the same hospital. This soon becomes monotonous and he begins censoring at random. He amuses himself by deleting all the adverbs and adjectives from soldiers’ letters, then all the articles, then everything but the articles, and so on. He begins censoring at random.

His job was to delete details that threatened operational security. The result was gibberish.

Redactions are supposed to remove names or anything that could compromise sources and methods, not to undermine the source material so that it is impossible to understand.

Yossarian might have responded by saying: “It is blank that a blank process be carried out that blanks sources and blank and other blank that is blank to our blank blank.”

It’s the same dynamics when writing a letter to the editor.

Unless you’re a free speech absolutist, The Star’s rules that govern publication of a letter are fair and reasonable.

Writers of these letters should be responsible and abide by the rules of the game.

But if one does, and the results are a letter that has the blood and guts of it taken out that undermines the source material and thrust of the letter, shouldn’t there be some sort of recourse for the author?

Try reading a novel with 15 or 20 percent of the words or ideas blacked out by an editor.

It’s not so much a question of how much is deleted, but what is deleted and why.

Shouldn’t there be some accountability or responsibility on that editor for some explanation to the author?

It’s not just an issue for any particular author but an issue that affects us all — authors, would-be authors, and readers.

If there isn’t some mechanism to provide for that, it becomes censorship without representation, or as legendary journalist Nat Hentoff put it: “Free speech for me, but not for thee.”

Let Mae West have the last word — not totally connected to the issues of this letter but love it anyway!

“I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.”




Despicable Conduct
East Hampton
December 17, 2023

Dear David,

What is wrong with this picture? On Sunday, the leaders of Florida’s Republican Party voted to strip its chairman, Christian Ziegler, of his authority on the board and to reduce his $120,000 salary to $1. Their action was prompted by a rape allegation made against Mr. Ziegler in late November and an ensuing investigation launched in response by Sarasota police.

Mr. Ziegler has called the encounter at the center of the investigation a consensual one and refused to step down despite the growing calls for his resignation. The motions at the party’s emergency meeting in Orlando passed unanimously. The motion to censure Mr. Ziegler said the party has lost confidence in him because he “has engaged in conduct that renders him unfit for the office.”

E. Jean Carroll filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump accusing him of sexual assault. In a most ironic moment in this case, Mr. Trump denied the accusations, contending that Ms. Carroll was not his type. Then, moments later, when asked to identify Ms. Carroll in a photograph, he mistook his then-wife, Marla Maples, for Ms. Carroll. Ultimately, Mr. Trump was found liable for his conduct toward Ms. Carroll and, importantly, was found by the jury to have committed sexual assault.

In its inimitably hypocritical fashion, the G.O.P. found that Mr. Ziegler’s conduct rendered him unfit to lead the Florida State G.O.P., but let Mr. Trump slip that noose. Despite similarly despicable conduct, the G.O.P. would crown him as president tomorrow. One would have hoped that the G.O.P. would think that the bar for fitness to be president would be a bit higher.

It boggles the mind at how far in the sewer the G.O.P. now finds itself.




A Question
East Hampton
December 17, 2023

To the Editor,

I have a question for our new congressman, Nick LaLota: Will you vote to impeach President Biden if there remains no substantive evidence?

I ask because you voted for the inquiry without such evidence.

I do wonder if it gives you pause that Jim Jordan is leading the investigation, as you voted against him for speaker noting his strong-arm tactics. This is the same Jim Jordan who recently ignored a congressional summons to testify.

Though it is impossible to take Mr. Jordan seriously, we have higher hopes for you.



Closer to Jesus
East Hampton
December 17, 2023

Dear David,

Happy Hanukkah and merry Christmas to all!

I remember singing the carol “O Little Town Of Bethlehem” every year at Christmas. Such a sweet, gentle song. Bethlehem, a place where, if you believe, Jesus, the baby savior, was born. A baby unto Mary, a virgin, and Joseph, a carpenter. The Immaculate Conception. What a concept.

The babe was born in a manger as his parents were refused entrance at any inn or home. A stable was the future son of God’s birthplace, as the story was told for centuries and passed down, and how we learned it at home and at church and school.

Bethlehem was visited by church groups for years, as was Israel, by Christians, or Catholics as it were. It was in the same neighborhood, more or less. Terrorists weren’t blowing up themselves and others they hated then. Or maybe they were.

So many peoples of various colors and religions lived or occupied that little town of Bethlehem historically. All moved on. But terrorists don’t move on. They have to be moved. Sad what has become of this once Fertile Crescent and birthplace of a man who came to bring light and peace and love. Until they killed him. Funny how people have made up their own version of events and created a hateful country and world as a result. Why is Jesus’ name on so many car windows? “You are so close, you’re closer to Jesus,” read one sticker on a car’s back window. Hmm.

I hope we soon see Bethlehem as the peaceful land it once was, when baby Jesus took his first breath. Don’t hold yours, terrorists, he’s not waiting for you at the golden gates with any virgins for you. You blew it. You should have been gone long ago.

Anyway, do light the darkness with a candle on the solstice, Dec. 21 — set an intention for a better way forward for this world. War is harming us all. Mary, the mother goddess of us all, is weeping for every child and parent.

In heavenly peace,



Merry Christmas
December 18, 2023

To the Editor,

To all, happy birthday, Jesus, and a very merry Christmas. Also enjoy your New Year. Be safe and healthy.

In God and country,


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