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Letters to the Editor for January 26, 2023

Wed, 01/25/2023 - 15:52

East Hampton
January 17, 2023

To the Editor,

I am a local who has lived here for 57 years, and I am very shocked that the village mayor wants to start charging people for the ambulance. I am a disabled person with nine conditions and need the ambulance but cannot afford to pay for it.

My father and five other guys started the ambulance. I remember when the first ambulance came I went with my Dad to see it, and I was put on the stretcher and put in a new ambulance to see how it worked.

I am very sad about how much East Hampton has changed. The government of East Hampton Village has to remember that there are still local people living here who are trying to survive. Please think of the impact that this will have for all.



Gouging Visitors
East Hampton
January 23, 2023

To the Editor,

Where is the public outcry about the increase of nonresident beach passes to $750 for the 2023 season? First from $400 to $500 and now $750?! A 50 percent increase is obscene and undeserved.

An affordable nonresident beach permit is not an inalienable right, but gouging the visitors is wrong. Is the village really in such a dire financial position? What happened to the revenue from the on-street parking app and those ominous enforcement vehicles scanning front, side, and back to fine unwitting summer visitors?

East Hampton Village is no longer a quaint place, rather, it has become a revenue stream. At least ensure that every penny of the parking fees goes directly to the homeless or hungry, or after-school programs for children of parents who clean and maintain the multimillion-dollar estates. Make something good out of something bad.



An Accident
East Hampton
January 19, 2023

To the Editor:

That charges are going to be brought against Alec Baldwin for an accident while filming the movie “Rust” in New Mexico is beyond my comprehension. I hear people say he must be held accountable for his actions and didn’t follow protocol.

The same can be said about hunters in New Jersey and other states. When they kill a person while hunting, they weren’t following protocol, and it’s considered a tragic accident. The majority of the time they only get a slap on the hand and walk. It should be the same across the board. Hunters know they have a loaded gun; Alec didn’t.



An Integral Part
East Hampton
January 23, 2023

To the Editor,

Your Dec. 22 article “More Study at Airport” revealed the town has decided to waste even more money on yet another “study” when we already know that the airport has preserved more open space than any other facility, has protected the largest aquifer, is an integral part of our economy and safety, produces less noise with less environmental impact than leaf blowers and lawn mowers, and is less noisy than the Long Island Rail Road or Tuesday night beach concerts, and the increase in traffic is exponentially less than the increase in the trade parade. And small planes are the most environmentally friendly, practical, and economical means for out-of-town excursions.

In the article, the author of the “study” states the “town’s identity as a resort community.” East Hampton is not a resort community, originally a fishing and farming area that has traditionally had a boost in the summer economy that swells with part-time residents and their guests. We don’t have boardwalks, casinos, or carousels that the invasion of Jersey license plates aimlessly glutting the roadways last summer was looking for. We’re not known for our entertainment venues.

Beaches are for residents — as it should be. The artists and writers who have famously come here didn’t come for a resort.

People are so focused on messing with the airport they’re missing the boat. Please join me in my campaign to bring back Bonac!



Will Spread the Virus
East Hampton
January 23, 2023

Dear Editor,

Jeffrey Gilchrest, a Ph.D. Canadian researcher, recently published a formula that shows that the level of carbon dioxide in indoor air directly correlates with how much air you breathe in that other people have expelled. The higher the level, the greater amount of rebreathing.

The significance of this is that with the SARS virus that causes Covid, rebreathing in the air that infected people expel is the source of transmission.

Levels of carbon dioxide in outdoor air are very low very consistently. So therefore any design of the new senior center that does not include a sophisticated air-handling system, one that brings in as much outside air as possible, one that sucks air upward toward the ceiling when a group of people are sitting talking below, one that filters any air that is being recirculated, will spread the virus.

That’s right: The air handling system will spread any virus that a person expels throughout a building. By that I mean, spread the virus among the most vulnerable people in East Hampton. Thus far, I haven’t heard anything coming out of Town Hall to assure us that this is an issue being paid attention to.

Since we know that Boss Tweed makes decisions about who gets contracts and what is built, has anyone heard what is on Boss Tweed’s to-do list?



Crucial Differences
East Hampton
January 20, 2023

To the Editor,

A new use for the sand pit in Wainscott? The East Hampton Town Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the draft environmental impact study for the proposed Wainscott Commercial Center subdivision on Feb. 8. But let’s take another look at the recommendations in the Wainscott Hamlet Study that was approved and adopted in the town’s comprehensive plan in May 2020. As Christopher Gangemi reminds us in “A February Hearing on Wainscott Commercial Center,” “the 2005 Town of East Hampton Comprehensive Plan envisioned something very different: ‘clean’ low-intensity uses, a limited amount of moderate-income housing, open space, and recreation.”

I see crucial differences between the recommendations in the original Wainscott Hamlet Study adopted in the town comprehensive plan and the potential environmental and community impacts in the Wainscott Commercial Center’s environmental impact statement. The proposed commercial center is designed for commercial-industrial businesses, such as construction, tourism, and services for second-home owners. The property will be divided into 50 lots and will not include a comprehensive sewage treatment system. Some of the likely uses — truck terminals, waste transfer, warehouses, vehicle and equipment storage — will increase road traffic and pollution of our air and water. An estimated 825 parking spaces are proposed there. Since we are facing a climate emergency and are prioritizing climate resiliency, it seems this commercial center, as planned, will worsen an already imbalanced equation.

We cannot ignore the state of our above-ground water quality, our underground water sources, and the ever-increasing amount of traffic here. Our roads become more congested every year, leading to real questions of public safety when ambulances and other emergency vehicles cannot get through the traffic jams (and impatient drivers do not make way for them), and extreme weather events force us to consider the viability of our evacuation routes. I have no doubt that the increased truck and car traffic engendered by the commercial center will diminish the quality of life for nearby residents and will have cascading effects throughout the East End, as drivers will opt to detour onto local residential streets and through the Village of Sag Harbor.

The size of the property, approximately 70 acres, dwarfs the 30 acres of the Bridgehampton Commons, and much of the site will be covered by “hardscape” of paved roads, driveways, and buildings. With little indication of vegetated buffers between the lots, the extensive construction will impede groundwater filtration and presents clear risks of increased water runoff. As Sara Davison, the executive director of Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation, told The Star, “Everything that happens at the pit ends up in Georgica Pond.” In fact, the site is only 300 feet from Georgica Pond and much effort has been expended trying to keep that body of water healthy.

The town plan in 2005 recommended that a large part of the reclaimed pit be reserved for open space and recreation. That means increasing, not decreasing, tree and plant cover and promoting healthier soil. A recent New York Times article pointed out that well-maintained vegetated soil, trees, and other native plantings are effective in sequestering and filtering nitrogen, which is produced by vehicle exhaust, etc. As a new study by Andrew Reinmann, a forest ecologist, and his colleagues at the City University of New York found, trees and other vegetation take up much more atmospheric carbon than previously thought. And, much of that carbon comes from human-caused emissions.

Although the draft impact statement for the subdivision includes “rain gardens” on every lot, the development is uncoordinated and piecemeal. I have to wonder how the minimal amount of unbuilt land devoted to remediation and revegetation in this plan is justified and what guarantees exist that any such vegetation will be properly maintained.

As The Star reported in November 2021 in “Turning Wainscott Hamlet Plan Into Action,” Lisa Liquori, the former director of town planning, gave several recommendations to the town board based on the results of the Wainscott Hamlet Study. Relevant here are her urgent recommendations to protect and enhance the hamlet’s natural environment and historic character, to improve the pattern of development, and to redevelop the former sand and gravel mine in an environmentally sensitive fashion. She also emphasized the need to promote mixed-use development, work-force housing, and transportation improvements. Clearly, our town should make forward-looking land use a priority. Why not redevelop the former sand and gravel mine in a way that maximizes the bio-services that nature offers?



$75 Million for Who?
East Hampton
January 23, 2023

Dear Mr. Editor,

Hope all is well at The Star. You had a couple of eye-catching editorials in the Jan. 12 edition —  maybe a little Johnny Reb. First was “Montauk Uprising.” I can remember when the Democratic Party was a party of tree huggers and “save the environment.” The thought of “clear-cutting” 14 acres of woodland to build a sewage treatment plant for downtown Montauk is the most preposterous idea to date!

If you listen to the “climate change” people, the downtown area won’t even be here in 15 to 20 years, so to spend $75 million on a sewage treatment plant for — who? Sooner or later, the Army Corps is going to let it go. Plus, as you pointed out, a sewage treatment plant will only promote growth, which I would hope by now is on the minds of all citizens who cherish our open space and rural atmosphere — all except government and developers, who seem to override the public’s wishes. If we try real hard maybe we can call it the “Montauk insurrection.”

Second was “Governor’s Warning.” As I have said in the past, your current Democratic Party is the party of density. So, as Lord Hochul stated, if local government does not conform to her wishes, she will bypass local government and approve more and bigger buildings. Wow! Now as far as I am concerned, that would call for an insurrection.

As Blackbeard would say, “Grab your cutlass and pistol, boys. We’re going ashore!”

Best regards.

Yours to command,



Not Serving
January 20, 2023

Dear David,

A letter writer in the Jan. 19 Star claimed that I am still a member of the town business committee, notwithstanding my opposition to the town’s proposal to build a sewage treatment plant on parkland in Hither Woods. This is not true.

On Jan. 5, I emailed the town board liaison to the town’s business advisory committee, asking that I not be nominated to the committee for 2023. When the resolution appointing the committee was adopted, my name was still included. I presume the town board did not have time to revise its resolution or perhaps did not realize that it still contained my name.

In any event, I am not serving as a member of the town business committee. I previously voluntarily resigned from the town’s nature preserve committee, also in protest of the proposed sewage treatment plant in Hither Woods.




Take the Burden Off
January 21, 2023

Dear Editor,

The town board has purchased land on East Lake Drive in Montauk. From what I understand, the plan is to trade the East Lake Drive land for county parkland in Hither Woods so the town can build a water treatment plant. The treatment plant would be built to service the Montauk business district. I understand this will be the largest municipal project ever for the Town of East Hampton, at an estimated cost of $75 million, plus yearly maintenance costs.

At the same time, East Hampton Town has a mandatory requirement for anyone applying for a building permit for new construction or renovations to upgrade their existing septic system with the new nitrogen reduction septic systems. The new low-nitrogen septic upgrade being installed in residential and commercial projects in the town are basically small water-treatment plants on their own. So, if residential and commercial projects are required to install their own treatment plants, why can’t the commercial property owners in Montauk pool their resources and install these systems under the parking areas?

Some suggestions might be: The Town parking lot behind Becker’s could service the businesses on the north side of Main Street; parking behind Herb’s Market could service the businesses on the south side of Main Street; parking lot behind Plaza Sports to service from Fudge N Stuff to Corner Store; parking behind Pizza Village, a system for itself and the retail store; Memory Motel parking lot, a system for itself, and Royal Atlantic parking lot, a system for itself. This theory can be applied throughout the hamlet.

In my view, this approach would take the burden off the taxpaying residents of the town and put it where it belongs. I would think in the end, it would be a lot more economical for taxpayers and downtown businesses, rather than having to pump their cesspools constantly.

If you want to build a house or renovate an existing house, you must upgrade and install the new low-nitrogen septic systems. Why not make it necessary for operating a business as well? Divide the business district into areas where systems could be installed; prorate each business according to the usage. You wouldn’t expect retail “dry” stores to pay as much as “wet” stores. This would keep any future commercial expansion to a minimum and eliminate the need for a $75 million project that would take years to complete and the constant maintenance burden on taxpayers for years to come.

There are two new commercial buildings in Montauk being built today and one already completed this past summer. Each of them either has or is required to install low-nitrogen septic systems. Crow’s Nest and Surf Lodge have already installed the upgraded low-nitrogen systems under their parking areas. Why not continue this approach with existing businesses? The town already offers grants for new septic upgrades, why not increase these grants to lessen the burden on the commercial property owners and businesses? I would think this approach or something similar would cost the town a lot less than $75 million and would also help to keep commercial expansion at a minimum.

Thank you,



Examine All Solutions
Sag Harbor
January 20, 2023

To the Editor:

On the proposed sewage plant in Hither Woods, the issue is very simple: We don’t want any “solution” that will enable the business activity in Montauk to expand unimpeded. If it can’t expand outward, it can expand upward — think Atlantic City.

We need to take a deep breath and examine all possible solutions to the sewage problem before we do something that will increase congestion and make all our other problems worse.



Destroying Parkland
January 21, 2023

To the Editor,

I am writing with regard to the proposed Montauk sewer plant at Hither Woods.

Mr. Van Scoyoc and town board members’ recent actions are nothing short of secretive and abhorrent. Thinking that they could propose such a plan without the resident vote is an insult. Once again, the Town of East Hampton is treating Montauk and its residents as second best. The town should be supporting what makes Montauk unique and beautiful, not destroying parkland. If they want to do something, they should finish the pool.

Keep Montauk beautiful. That is why we all love living here.



Reckless Disregard
January 21, 2023

To the Editor:

Over the years, I have mainly (though not exclusively) written to The Star about a single issue. This letter is to make a connection between my issue and two other larger ones which have been commanding a lot of press and public attention, including in your letters column.

The shocking proposals to raze 14 acres of Hither Woods for a sewage treatment plant and for a huge, 50-lot Wainscott Commercial Center on the old sand mine site both represent Peter Van Scoyoc’s vision of East Hampton as an upscale New York City borough, perhaps an extension of the ritzier parts of Queens. I will be at the zoning board of appeals meeting on Feb. 8 to testify against the Wainscott proposal and will be vigilant for opportunities to speak out against the Montauk sewage plant as well. Both projects would go far toward killing any vision of our town as a green, rural, relatively slow-paced area, protective of the values and daily lives of local residents.

I hope it will be evident to readers that David Lys’s repeated proposal to drive pedestrian traffic over a badly wounded primary dune by placing parking on Dolphin Drive is, though less conspicuous, just more of the same, entirely consistent with the other two projects. All three involve reckless disregard both for the environment and full-time residents’ quality of life.

The similarity of the Dolphin Drive discussion to the others was in the past obscured by baseless and dishonorable rhetoric about “elitists” and nimbys — which could just as easily, it seems clear, be deployed against opponents of the sewage plant or the commercial center.

There are two morals of the story: We need a town board that is not brutally disruptive of our values (I hope for better Democrats — if possible). The other is that one doesn’t become a nimby opposing a destructive project you would dispute anywhere else, just because it happens to be proposed next door to you.




Under Town Code
January 22, 2023

To the Editor,

The town has a resolution for next Thursday. This is to change some portions of urban renewal under town code. Looks to me it’s to help some hired hands.

Building pyramids on top of current code only weakens their meaning. Can’t in good conscience retroactively change the code you’ve refused to enforce.

Still here,



More Documents
January 23, 2023

Dear David,

As of today Monday, more documents have been found in Joe Biden’s Wilmington, Del., home, found on a table in a box marked “Important Docs+ photos.”

President Biden and at least four of his top lawyers and advisers tried to keep Americans from learning of the mishandling of classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president and senator. This is a bombshell report. Both the media and newspapers are on top of this news; however, excuses are being made that Biden is cooperating, therefore, I choose not to go into full detail; you can read it for yourself.

I must ask, why are lawyers cleaning out office space, why are there classified documents in the hands of Hunter Biden, and, most important, why after all these years are these important papers popping up? Keep in mind an ex-president is permitted to declassify and keep documents; a vice president has no legal right to be in possession of classified material.

The Daily Mail reported Friday about a plan for Joe and Hunter to participate in a phone call in late 2017 to set up a multimillion dollar deal to sell American liquefied natural gas to China. Joe still claims he knew nothing, nothing, about Hunter’s business. One reason he’s sticking to his “I knew nothing” is if he admits knowing about the schemes, he would face follow-up questions: What did you know and when did you know it?

In God and country,



Criminals at the Top
East Hampton
January 22, 2023


Last week, a news story about a guy who spent 15 years in prison for possession with intent to sell an ounce of crack caught my attention. While it is not unusual for crackheads with money, and there were hundreds of thousands of them, to possess an ounce or more of crack, this information was ignored. Crack is bad. What we call a hard crime. More a danger to himself then to the society.

We tend to categorize our criminals the same way we see people in our society. The wealthier and more powerful the person, the lesser the crime. At the very top of the scale is our political class, who are almost impervious to prosecution no matter how heinous and destructive their crimes might be.

So, when Ronald Reagan violated domestic, international, and every basic law of human interaction by creating a revolution in Nicaragua, he was never punished. Despite killing thousands of people and destroying the country, his behavior was ultimately considered acceptable.

When Bill Clinton championed abolishing Glass-Steagall, destroying the banking industry and creating chaos and misery throughout the country, he barely got a slap on the wrist. Bad, dumb Billy.

When George Bush ignored the warnings of an attack pre-9/11 and then lied about having been forewarned, created two wars, and destroyed two countries, he wasn’t punished but re-elected. Was his criminal action a matter of stupidity or evil? The results speak for themselves.

The current House of Representatives has 146 members who supported the criminal conspiracy to overthrow the 2020 election by refusing to accept the electoral votes. This action, with absolutely zero proof and a possibility factor of zero percent, identifies these congressmen as willing and conscious participants in an act of sedition: overthrowing the government.

Almost none of the Jan. 6 participants had sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution like this group of politicians. Their criminality is on the record in black and white. That they are not in prison is a stain on the nation’s founding principles.

We have the largest prison population in the world. We put people in prison and leave them there for the most minimal and often ridiculous offenses. Yet, our political class with all its power, prestige, and national trust operates outside the system. They get a free pass, immune to prosecution, unconstrained by laws and rules. We need to add a codicil for elected officials who commit crimes — is it the death penalty, life in prison, or forfeiture of accumulated wealth? Criminals at the top set an example for the rest of us.


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