Deprived of Voice
December 2, 2023
To the Editor:
Thank you, Jaine Mehring, for your excellent (as always) letter last week about the degradation of public participation in town hearings. I have some additional background and information.
I was surprised to hear of town entities which do not hold public meetings, as I believe they are required to under the New York State Open Meetings Law. I will do a little more research on this as soon as I can.
One more way the public’s exercise of its First Amendment rights is being downgraded is in certain decisions in developer lawsuits against our zoning board of appeals. I wrote a letter a few weeks ago about local courts losing sight of a powerful policy-oriented legal rule, that they should treat zoning board decisions deferentially. Instead, our courts are starting to overrule the Z.B.A. with wild abandon. A common and completely wrongheaded trope in some of these decisions is that the Z.B.A. gave in to public pressure (in other words, Nimbyism) instead of basing its decision on objective legal factors. In cases in which I have participated personally or have observed, this is also wildly untrue: Members of the public are frequently highly prepared and testify to these boards, with documentation, about very specific violations and dangers. The “public pressure” trope is highly dismissive and disrespectful, and chills concerned citizens from speaking out, for fear their participation will backfire — exactly the opposite of what we should want in a democracy.
Finally, these dishonorable attempts against public participation should be seen in the context of a general attack on freedom of speech which has been mounted throughout American history but is now getting much worse. In the 1960s, we heard we didn’t really oppose the My Lai massacre, or the use of napalm or Agent Orange in Vietnam, or even the killings of young people just like us on college campuses — we just wanted to get out of class and party! Or consider the absurd trope, repeated to me once by an otherwise normal and professional court reporter at a deposition in Minneapolis, that people don’t participate in Black Lives Matter demonstrations because they are personally outraged when cops shoot unarmed black motorists dead when they are reaching for their identification, but only because George Soros is (a right wing fever dream!) paying them. In my very first case in our local Z.B.A. some years ago, the developer claimed that my clients filed their opposition not because they were honestly harmed by his relentless expansion without variances or permits, and the resulting increases in noise, congestion, and septic — they had certainly been put up to it by a malicious and interested third party.
All of these tropes have a common goal: to deprive us not only of our voices, but of any role in governance or the public conversation.
For Democracy in East Hampton,
Vote for Murphy
December 4, 2023
To the Editor,
The Bridgehampton Fire District elections are scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 12, between 6 and 9 p.m. at the Bridgehampton Fire Department. Come to the Bridgehampton Firehouse and vote. If you live in Bridgehampton, Sagaponack, Wainscott, or Water Mill, you may well live in the Bridgehampton Fire District.
Absentee ballots are available if you are out of town on Dec. 12. The restrictions are more onerous than New York State’s absentee ballot rules, but it is an available option. Voting for Robin Murphy for fire commissioner can help make it easier to vote in the future, not harder.
This year there are two topics to vote on: fire commissioner and an increase in the length of service award programs (LOSAP), for the volunteer members of the Bridgehampton Fire Department.
For fire commissioner, I encourage you to vote for Robin Murphy. She has been a member of the Bridgehampton Volunteer Ambulance for more than 25 years. When someone in your home needs to call 911 for a medical emergency at 2 a.m., she’s one of the volunteers who shows up and gets you to the hospital.
Equally important, Robin Murphy is also a local businesswoman, and would bring her business owner’s financial experience to the board of fire commissioners. Something well worth thinking about as the board overseas an annual taxpayer-funded $4 million budget. The people we chose, and elect, to serve on the board of fire commissioners have a duty to be good stewards of our tax dollars. I believe Robin Murphy would be a good steward. Robin Murphy will have my vote, I encourage you to give her yours as well.
The other issue to vote on is an increase in LOSAP. This is a state-run pension system for volunteer firefighters and emergency medical service personnel, collectible only after the volunteer turns 65. The proposed increase is $10 a month. Yes, you read that right — $10 a month. Bridgehampton has the lowest LOSAP contribution of any volunteer department on the East End. The LOSAP increase, which helps retain those volunteers who come to your aid, is far cheaper than having to pay full-time ambulance crews and firefighters. It is an investment in the community of Bridgehampton, helping recognize the efforts of our fire and ambulance volunteers. I know how I will vote; I encourage you to vote “yes” on the LOSAP increase.
Historically, fire district elections across the state have very low turnout, almost none outside the members of the fire department. Let’s change that. Come out and vote on Tuesday between 6 and 9 p.m. at the Bridgehampton Fire Department. Make your choice heard.
December 4, 2023
On behalf of the Greater East Hampton Chamber of Commerce we want to extend our heartfelt thanks to this community for the truly collaborative spirit that made our holiday parade and festivities such a huge success. The sense of unity and community spirit that permeated the air was truly remarkable and it is those qualities which define us and make us who we are. The deepest gratitude to the dedicated volunteers and sponsors who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, Mayor Larsen and the East Hampton Village Foundation, board of trustees, our tireless police, fire, and Public Works Departments, local businesses, and all those whose collective efforts did not go unnoticed. A special thank-you to our acting executive director, Mary Waserstein, whose boundless energy connected all the dots to make it happen. It was a beautiful thing to witness our community laughing, sharing, celebrating, and shining the light on one another as we amplified our deep and exceptional connection. Your commitment and love have left an indelible mark on the memories of everyone who attended.
As we move forward let’s carry this spirit of collaboration forward into our everyday lives. It is our unwavering connection that makes our town exceptional, and I am immensely proud and grateful to be a part of such a unique and stunning community. Let’s continue to set high standards for future celebrations knowing fully that collaboration is key. With heartfelt gratitude to all, and a very special thank-you to The East Hampton Star for your wonderful support of the Greater East Hampton Chamber of Commerce, and your steadfast service to our beloved community.
Greater East Hampton Chamber of Commerce
December 3, 2023
Dear Mr. Rattray:
We’re now a month past Election Day, and, here in East Hampton, life has indeed moved on, as it should. We have a great new supervisor-elect, a couple of terrific continuing town board members, and a really great person joining the town board come January. No complaints about process, fraud, stolen elections — none of that narishkeit. So, congratulations to all the candidates and their parties for letting the process play out honorably and with due purpose and seriousness. Once again, it seems East Hampton sets a compelling example for pretty much everywhere else.
As just one East Hampton Town resident, I’m grateful for the dedication, resourcefulness, and plain, old-fashioned hard work that Peter Van Scoyoc and Sylvia Overby brought every day in their service to our town. It’s easy to gripe about this or that policy or this or that project, or even the outcome or status of vexatious lawsuits. But that really serves little purpose — certainly not at this juncture. They both have had remarkable tenures working on behalf of our town, with many accomplishments that help sustain what’s so appealing about life in East Hampton. While the hard work is never done, they’ve moved the ball forward measurably, and for that, I’m grateful.
Thank you, Peter. Thank you, Sylvia. All the best to you both.
December 3, 2023
Supervisor-elect Kathee Burke-Gonzalez has pledged to protect the character of our historic, beautiful yet environmentally sensitive town. Councilwoman Cate Rogers is leading a committee to update the comprehensive plan that serves as a legal blueprint for the ultimate land use and population buildout of East Hampton.
These elected leaders, with the input and support of the three other town board members, have an immediate responsibility to address and adopt an updated comprehensive master plan now.
Why? Because a major concern of our residents is feeling overwhelmed and frustrated at the apparent rapid development of big second-home McMansions in small-lot neighborhoods pricing out local residents and young adults unable to afford purchasing a small lot and excluding them from living in their hometown.
The town board only has a short window to take a comprehensive look at how many residential lots are left vacant before we reach the total carrying capacity and population buildout legally allowed in East Hampton’s land use plan and zoning code. There is just a small number of buildable, vacant residential lots left.
Already there is pressure on our town board and Planning Department staff to change our zoning map and allow more development, increasing our population, so that more condominiums can be built higher with more units costing $1 million each but not affordable to our local residents. Don’t believe it?
The last application was for 100 high-rise condos with an ocean view along Montauk Highway in eastern Amagansett. A former developer said East Hampton is perfect to be developed as a “Miami Beach of the North.”
The current legally adopted zoning map must not be changed to allow an increase in population, except for affordable housing opportunities, because it would be a clear court case for exclusionary zoning that is illegal in New York State.
Ms. Foster is a former member of the town board and former chairwoman of the planning board. Ed.
December 3, 2023
To The Editor,
The town’s appeasement is amazing. I was discussing local matters with an associate the other day. They also used to be a political consultant. We talked about one of the number-one issues with politics: People’s apathy for the government allows anything to happen.
It’s accountability. No one is discussing it’s 10 years with no senior center? Don’t tell us about plans, break ground! They’ve been this close before. Only to fumble at the one. If you do actually build it, we’ll let our families know. Unfortunately, the ones who would have benefited already passed away while waiting.
Eight years, no communication tower in Springs? A road and emergency access blocked? Truck Beach? Rights chipped away because people have no understanding of this town’s history that should be heralded or the code that should be enforced?
The list can go on and on. Add to it as you see fit. Silence is deafening. Appeasement is championed. The kick-the-can down the road mentality is rewarded. Anything to secure a pension.
December 4, 2023
The oil mogul who is heading up the United Nations Climate talks this week in the United Arab Emirates says that we don’t have to phase out fossil fuels to avoid climate change. He directly contradicts both common sense and proven science that says we must get off dirty energy as soon as possible to avoid catastrophic climate disruption.
Here in New York State, National Grid and other fossil fuel companies are bankrolling the Orwellian-named front group “New Yorkers for Affordable Energy” with a $2 million campaign designed to snooker New Yorkers into opposing the state’s plan to get us off dirty energy. They want you to believe that continuing to burn fracked (“natural”) gas and oil is more “affordable and reliable” than clean energy.
But the facts are these: Clean energy is cheaper than fossil fuels. Energy experts say that transitioning rapidly to clean energy will bring trillions of dollars in net savings — even without taking climate damages like floods and fires into account, or including climate policy co-benefits, like cleaner, safer air or millions of good new jobs. And, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s most recent renewable-energy maps, the United States has 228,081 gigawatts in potential renewable energy; that’s more than 200 times the current installed electrical capacity in the U.S. In other worse, clean energy is affordable (and getting cheaper) and reliable.
But dirty energy is getting more expensive. Gas utilities are raising rates across New York State to pay for more gas expansion. Why? Because they make most of their profits off building new gas lines. Here on Long Island, National Grid is asking for a $30 per month gas rate hike starting in 2024 to pay for $13 billion in gas infrastructure expansion to extend the life of its fossil fuel system.
The proposed New York Home Affordable Energy Transition Act will free us from outdated rules forcing us to burn ever-more-expensive fossil fuels. It would get rid of the subsidy for new gas hookups that amounts to about $200 million a year paid for by New Yorkers. It will begin to move us away from the $150 billion ratepayers have to pay to fix leaky pipes. As State Senator Liz Krueger, the sponsor of the act, said recently, “New Yorkers deserve a break — and that’s just what N.Y. HEAT will deliver.”
December 4, 2023
If the colors of black and white can coexist on a very tasty and popular cookie, why not on Main Street, Amagansett? Black is a great color for a great pub.
November 25, 2023
To the Editor,
In response to Mr. Gangemi’s article regarding our newly planned Sandy Paws Vet Clinic in Montauk, I need to point out before I begin that Mr. Gangemi did not ask for our response to his salacious reporting about our building. His article is one-sided, unprofessional, and sensationalized.
The “sidewalk to nowhere” occurred because the planning department did not include or discuss topography when they approved our site plan. When the neighbor building plan was approved, they asked us to connect the sidewalks on South Euclid Avenue. There is a three-foot difference between the properties in very short spans. The Planning Department approved a sidewalk connection on paper and failed to visit the site. We decided that there was no safe way to connect the sidewalks. Thus the sidewalk ends, and no one gets hurt on town property. It should also be noted that our sidewalk that wraps around our building is on our private property. Our clients will arrive by car with their animals or choose to walk along Essex Street, which has no sidewalks on either side.
“The asphalt berm blocking access to a parking lot” is an outright lie. There is no parking lot and never has been. There is no driveway to 809 and 813 Montauk Highway; they both have grass yards littered with old bikes. The Martell’s tenant has been parking for the last 10 years on what is now the alleyway. There is ample parking available to him on Mr. Martell’s empty lot, a mere 100 yards to his back door. Mr. Martell’s tenant has been nothing short of “an abomination,” accosting us on multiple occasions.
The “berm” is a four-inch asphalt lip on the south side of the asphalt alleyway that the town required us to pave without instruction or elevations. Rhett Beckmann met multiple times with the asphalt technicians, and they created an alley that would flow correctly down the roadway. The four-inch lip was to ensure no drainage would spill onto Mr. Martell’s backyard. Mr. Beckmann spent many heavy rainstorms in September of this year observing the water flow, and he was always happy to report heavy rainwater drained east to west and not north to south.
As for the “five additional departures,” there is the issue of a rock retaining wall. I personally requested this as part of the landscape as it is Montauk, and we have rocks everywhere in our landscapes. The boulders in the wall are 100 percent excavated from the building site. We support “reuse, recycle.” The rock wall is also in keeping with the two properties to the east on Essex Street.
Another departure is the addition of three egress windows in the basement. There may be a time when we will go to the town for permits to create affordable housing for clinic staff.
Next departure: The Americans With Disabilities Act ramp on the back side of the clinic was initially planned to be in cement. We chose to upgrade this ramp with a much more attractive mahogany ramp.
One of the last departures was the decision to save the tree on South Euclid Avenue. This subsequently required us to adjust the A.D.A. parking.
As for Tina Vavilis LaGarenne’s opinion that our building is a “hovering island,” she clearly does not understand that we worked very hard to balance the building on the commercial lot. The lot has an elevation change from the northeast corner to the southwest corner of nine feet. We saved the tree because it is in kind with the rest of the avenue, not to hide our building.
We receive compliments daily that our building is gorgeous, the grounds look like a park, and it’s the best-looking spot in town.
Lastly, it was never our intention to stick to the build. We have been discussing the benefits of a modular vet clinic with our neighbor Pat Kehoe since our children were waiting at the bus stop in 2012. It was not to save money. Mr. Kehoe knows the benefits of a building built inside, providing an airtight and decreased risk of mold, a local problem living seaside.
I do not think we “missed the mark.” We did the very best with the topography of the building lot. We tried to protect Martell’s and do not support people being injured on a steep, unnecessary staircase. The overall height of the building is based on the topography at hand, the need to balance the project, and to prevent collateral issues to surrounding properties.
With all the best intentions,
DR. MOLLY MIOSEK
November 26, 2023
To the East Hampton Star Editor,
Upon reading the one-sided article from your writer, Christopher Gangemi, titled “What Was Built and What Should Have Been,” I thought of the famous quote from the great Conor McGregor saying, “Who is this guy?”
I felt the need to respond and point out some of his miscalculations and other straight-up lies:
The sidewalk on our property allows easy access for clients and pets to our facility. A continuous sidewalk would have been nice, but just too much elevation change in a short distance. The planners penciled in an “L”-shaped return to align sidewalks but failed to provide elevations for what that would do to the rest of the project.
Elevations on this lot should have been a top priority as there is a change of some nine feet from the crown of the road to the southwest corner. As a matter of fact, in the building code, it states neighboring elevations should be shown on an approved site plan. They approved it without any elevations other than the first floor elevation.
First floor elevation (F.F.E.) was determined in “good planning” and was set at 30.5 feet on a lot where average elevations are 33.5 feet. As we excavated, we stood in the hole and decided runoff from the adjacent roads with elevations ranging from the northwest corner of 29.5 feet to a high of 39 feet (9.5 feet above the F.F.E.) at the corner, then back to the southeast corner 31.5 (above the F.F.E.). To achieve this, we installed three retaining walls that help balance the site, avoid runoff, and help responsibly drain the surrounding areas.
Paving the alleyway was a required aspect of the site plan. Our approach to this was that drainage was the key issue because the neighboring property was at the lowest elevation in the surrounding area. We accomplished this with a “curb,” really a three to four-inch lip, along the south side of the alley. Again, with no given elevations existing or proposed.
After paving, someone contacted me and said we cut off access to his lawn areas that they used to be able to park on. Our back elevations on our project are the same as they were on the unimproved lot. On all the surveys we have, it shows a 12-foot opening (the rest vegetation) that did access an angular approach to the back lawn. Some refer to this as the parking lot.
In the alleyway there was a shallow kettle hole between the neighboring properties. This is the only area where any fill was used. On the site, there is a clear profile of where the fill was added.
It’s important to remember that our back two corner elevations did not change, so the change had to be made in the alleyway for drainage and safe passage.
The biggest challenge on this site was the change in elevation that everyone seems to have missed. Ian Calder-Piedmonte, of the planners, said he “thinks we could have made it work.” Good planning requires more than a quick thought. The seven-foot retaining wall that the plan would have required would have been okay, wrapping itself around the corner from South Euclid Avenue to South Essex Street. That would have really “missed the mark.”
In closing, we need to address the parking issue created by these (92 and 94 South Euclid Avenue) projects. Perhaps the planners can come up with a solution. It will require some engineering, some elevations, and some open minds. Perhaps parking behind the buildings or on the vacant lot? The open alleyway is no longer a dirt path leading to the back lawn areas of the neighboring property.
Mr. Beckmann is Dr. Miosek’s husband and the owner of the Beckmann Commercial Building. Ed.
November 26, 2023
To the Editor,
The Montauk community deserves access to a veterinary clinic, and its continued closure is causing harm to both pets and the local economy. While planning concerns are important, and the neighbors deserve to access their driveway, this should not overshadow the immediate needs of our pets and the business that is eager to serve them.
Every day the clinic remains closed, pets’ lives are put at risk. When my Labrador retriever suddenly needed lifesaving emergency abdominal surgery this July, I had to take him on a 90-minute medevac to Riverhead, at great expense and threat to his life, and stress to mine, because there was no local option. We can’t wait for a months-long bureaucratic process to play out; our pets need care now. Moreover, the business that hopes to operate the clinic is losing valuable time and revenue. They could be employing locals, contributing to taxes, and enhancing the overall quality of life for Montauk’s residents.
Our public servants should remember their true purpose: to serve the people. It is not to serve the “interests of good planning,” or a rule written in some book. They shouldn’t get bogged down in technicalities and regulations at the expense of the community’s well-being. The spirit of the law is to protect the public, not hinder it. Your decisions, or lack thereof, have real-world consequences.
I just came back from a trip to the Mediterranean where half the cities are built into the side of a cliff. But East Hampton Town planners go apoplectic about a three-foot gap between two properties? And there is somebody who has been working on this project for 14 years? That is nuts. These are problems that were solved 3,000 years ago by people who by our standards, for good or ill, were uneducated. Yet apparently they knew something we do not.
I will refrain from drawing any parallel between this situation and that of Rowdy Hall, lest the tone of this letter escalate. But will at least suggest that planners playing the part of martinet have lost sight of what it is with which they’ve been entrusted when public health, the environment, neighboring businesses, employees, and the tax base are sacrificed just to be vindictive with someone who has thumbed their nose at their fairly criticized and plausibly abused authority.
Instead of a stalemate, the parties involved should work together to open the clinic now and address any residual concerns within a reasonable time frame, say 30, 60, or 90 days. This collaborative approach would prevent time from eroding the benefits, value, and money that a functioning veterinary clinic would bring to Montauk.
Let’s put the needs of our pets, our community, and our local businesses first. Open the clinic and let’s continue to work together to find solutions that cure the real grievances of some of the affected parties.
Montauk Is Fortunate
November 25, 2023
To the Editor:
I am writing in support of a speedy, fair solution to the planning board’s issues with the construction of Dr. Molly Miosek’s veterinary office in Montauk. An in-town vet office is obviously in the public interest.
Dr. Molly has been a diligent, dedicated vet to my dogs over the years. One is unfortunately gone, but good medical attention got my deaf rescued girl to 16 years, against some odds. My little guy is 14 and counting, and a very happy client.
Montauk is very fortunate to have Dr. Molly, and I look forward to seeing her in her new building soon.
A Dog Town
November 25, 2023
To the Editor,
Following the publication of a recent article discussing the challenges Dr. Molly Miosek is facing opening her newly built clinic, I wanted to write to you to express how badly needed this clinic is in Montauk. The article did not fully capture this. Montauk is a “dog town.” Seemingly, everyone has a dog, as well as myriad other pets. Dr. Molly is the only veterinarian in town and is a trusted and beloved member of the community. Her capacity to serve the needs of pet owners here in Montauk will be greatly enhanced by the opening of her new space. She will be able to deal with emergencies much more effectively than she can now, she will be able to see more patients and provide more services. Our town desperately needs this and it is incredibly frustrating that the town is blocking the expansion of and investment in this very critical, longstanding business and pet health care provider. Please ensure additional coverage of the situation reflects this!
Dictators and Paramours
December 3, 2023
Ah, the romance of dictators! We are touched by how quick they are to recognize each other and how they begin with a few mild caresses but are soon eating croissants in bed the next morning.
But, as happens, while the bloated one goes back to sleep, the other, having gotten his way, steals out of bed and marches into Ukraine.
And yet, love being love, the bloated stays true to his dear Putin — finally finding the one he will not divorce.
Dictators and their paramours do not stop — they are stopped.
Off Their Meds
December 4, 2023
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas all around the villages. East Hampton is particularly festive this year with evergreen-garlanded light posts and magical white lights on the trees in front of the shops and restaurants. Lovely job!
I started my Christmas cheer in California this year; they do it up big and I was impressed by the effort. Funny, though, how certain areas are quite clean and safe, and you know they cleaned up San Francisco for the China visit with our president. Why don’t they clean the whole place surrounding the city, too? There are historic buildings in Oakland and the whole East Bay, and it’s a crying shame there are so many communities of homeless people. It’s disturbing on many levels. Even in New York City, which has seemingly gone into the crapper, too. First, it’s a humanitarian crisis and societal failure. Second, it’s filthy and disease-causing. Thirdly, the number of people off their meds, or in need of meds, or self-medicating is astounding and frightening and dangerous to others and themselves.
In California, a man was naked from the waist down defecating against a tree. In broad daylight, where families were walking around a popular square. This is okay with the rest of the population? You’re not a sanctuary; sanctuaries are clean and humane. You’re a Band-Aid that is rancid and infected. I, for one, couldn’t get this awful picture of hopelessness out of my head. You can’t call the cops, because they are invisible or few and far between, since the defunding rants. Thanks, big mouths who know nothing about an ounce of prevention. All cops are not alike, and we need them back to protect us.
I’m so very tired of the moronic rhetoric from the lousy left who have clearly lost the plot. I am a proud liberal American and, like Bill Maher, I veer more center, toward the sensible and informed. I don’t jump on nutty bandwagons because a Russian bot got my algorithms all askew. Wake up, you’re being played. Why are you flying a Palestinian flag, but you’re obviously not Palestinian? Give me a break. Why haven’t all the Israeli hostages been released? Terrorists. They started this war, so please be quiet about colonization B.S. and go read a book.
I learn a new thing every day. One is never too old to open one’s mind. I don’t listen to popular opinion and loud nonsense. Or Tok-Toxic. Danger, Will Robinson. Abort!
Anyway, let’s try a united front locally and country-wide, for a change. Trump ain’t anyone’s guy, anymore. He’s a deflated criminal gasbag. Bye-bye. Biden is old, but he’s done a presidential job at least. We need someone who believes in democracy. Not religious extremists; get lost. Candidate, where are you? We couldn’t be more desperate for a good one. So hang your Christmas stockings, light your menorah, pop your crackers, do lights for Kwanzaa, and sing “Feliz Navidad”! There’s room for everyone at the inn. The inn of peace and wisdom, that is.
Merry and happy to you,
December 2, 2023
To the Editor,
President Biden’s deficit-reduction act included a piece for negotiating Medicare drug prices. A deal of staggering proportions.
A rip-off only possible in the U.S., an anticapitalist story of political and business manipulation of the largest purchasing population on the planet: our homegrown system that doesn’t permit Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Allows drug companies to charge whatever they want to the poorest segment of the population.
Operating under the belief in expendability — also known as, “Why don’t they die and give us a break?” — our government has awarded Big Pharma the right to rape and pillage the senior population.
If you haven’t been asleep for the past 20 years you have probably witnessed the millions of people who overdose on prescription drugs. See the same companies refusing to negotiate drug prices. See the criminal element in our government interfacing with the Big Pharma mafia. See Fox News and Republican reprobates screaming, “Kill grandpa and grandma.”
So Grandpa Joe tells the scum to get lost. Wisdom of age. So frightening?
November 29, 2023
My wife, Millicent, died in March of 2022. She was very sensitive to cellphone radiation as well as other wireless technologies. Learning about her sensitivity I removed all sources of wireless radiation in our home. I became an electromagnetic-radiation specialist with the Building Biology Institute, and help people who are sensitive to man-made radiation to reduce their exposures. People who are interested in this subject suggested that I give a talk at the local libraries. There is one problem for me: giving a talk at the East Hampton Library. The library wants it to be a debate about the safety of cellphones and wants me to find someone, preferably an expert, who could come with an opposite view. So if anyone reading this or someone they know holds the view that cellphones are safe, talk to the East Hampton Library about having this debate. I am all in for participating.
If everyone uses a cellphone, does that mean that using a cellphone is safe?
Does that mean that all users of cellphones feel cellphones are safe and pose no health risks?
Everywhere we go, wireless technology is present, in public buildings, libraries, town halls, post offices, doctors’ offices, hospitals, schools, and most all businesses. Does that mean that this wireless technology and the use of cellphones is safe and can cause no harm?
Let’s change the words “people who use cellphones” with the words “people who smoke.”
Not very long ago smoking was the thing to do. Everybody was smoking. Schoolteachers had a teachers’ lounge where they could smoke. Doctors smoked and appeared in cigarette ads. Movie stars smoked, newscasters smoked, candy cigarettes were sold to children so they could act like a grown-up. Smoking was allowed almost everywhere, airplanes, trains, buses, hotels, restaurants, and most businesses. If everyone’s smoking, does that mean that smoking is safe and causes no harm? Today most everyone knows that smoking is harmful to our health. Even doctors advise against smoking.
Maybe it is time to have some debates.
People need to hear how using cellphones and other wireless technology can be harmful.
December 1, 2023
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I was, as I do each week, reading The Star’s “Point of View” column by Mr. Graves. I enjoy his perspective on the world and admire his long service in journalism. But there are times I am vexed by his style. It often requires herculean efforts by readers to follow along.
The second paragraph of his Nov. 30 column reminded me of perhaps the finest writing advice ever rendered. It comes from the extraordinary William Zinsser: “There’s not much to be said about the period except that most writers don’t reach it soon enough.”
Short sentences, Jack. Try them. Let the reader occasionally breathe.
Speaking of vexing writing, I noted that Bea Derrico in a letter this week wrote in the same paragraph that Americans are not stupid. but many are stupid. One thing here is consistent. As readers of The Star know, there is nothing stupider than a Bea Derrico letter.
Very truly yours,
Use the Facilities
December 2, 2023
To the Editor,
Having just read that George Santos “can return to the House floor as a former member, and he can use some House facilities,” my knowledge of the meaning of the polite phrase “Excuse me, I have to use the facilities” tells me that Mr. Santos may now be able to literally do what he has already figuratively done to the whole House of Representatives over the past 11 months!