Long Drive There
March 20, 2023
I would like to thank the excellent and prompt efficiency of the emergency contact, the police, and the emergency medical technicians — I think from Amagansett, but maybe Springs — who came to my home on Accabonac when my wife, Jane Noble, had a major stroke on Feb. 21. Her obituary was in last week’s Star.
I was surprised while at Stony Brook to learn the closest hospice to the East End was either in Westhampton or Port Jefferson, a long drive there and back for friends and visitors from the Hamptons. I know now from experience and urge that this situation needs to be remedied.
March 18, 2023
Just returned from a Saturday morning swim at the East Hampton Y.M.C.A. It’s one thing that the place is deplorably filthy, that there is debris floating in the pool, and that repeated complaints to the town and Y go ignored, but it’s now become a certifiable health hazard to swim in that pool.
The air and water are hot. Very hot. Hot as hell. It’s been like this for weeks. The heat creates a dangerous chemical reaction with chlorine — bad for breathing, bad for skin, bad for our health. Don’t take it from me; I’m one of many who are extremely unhappy with the conditions and getting sick swimming there.
The swimming community and other concerned citizens have worked hard to try to solve this problem, but they cannot do this alone. Even simple, easy requests go unheeded. For instance, the Y refuses to even open the doors, lower the thermostat, or bring in portable fans. Y management has been in absentia for years; they don’t even have a facilities manager.
The taxpayers are paying for this negligence. It’s gotten to the point that town officials need to be held accountable and feel the heat, too. David Lys, under whose jurisdiction the Y.M.C.A. lies and who is up for re-election soon, must step up and immediately address this health hazard.
I’m an old fella and can sorta deal, but what about the kids who swim and train and compete there? Y management — and Mr Lys — have no excuses anymore. I invite management and Mr Lys to join me for a swim next Saturday at 7 a.m. and see how they feel afterward.
SPENCER L. SCHNEIDER
Give Up AT&T
March 20, 2023
St. Luke’s Church should give up AT&T for Lent. St. Luke’s, which owns St. Peter’s Chapel in Springs, has contracted with AT&T to construct a 70-foot-tall cell tower on its modest grounds. Is St. Luke’s congregation so impoverished they must sell out the neighborhood for AT&T corporate $$?
This location near Old Stone Highway and Neck Path is home to many artists. It’s in direct proximity to historic studios of Saul Steinberg, Gerson and Judith Leiber, and Costantino and Ruth Nivola. Other artists have taken their places. The proposed tower is an eyesore and will only benefit AT&T customers within half a mile. Several houses are in its fall zone. Neither planning nor town board would approve it had they not been coerced by AT&T’s deep-pocket litigation.
St. Luke’s, please cancel your contract with AT&T!
Able to Call 911
East Hampton Village
March 20, 2023
As the historian at St. Luke’s Church, I’m responding to an inaccuracy in last week’s front page article, “Can’t Unring the Bell.” It was stated, “Its original tower contains a Civil War-era bell.” Actually, the present tower was built in the 1980s when a leftover bell handed down from old St. Luke’s Chapel was finally made to ring.
So much of what is written about St. Peter’s comes from seeing it through a romanticized lens. The word “chapel” conjures up fuzzy feelings of warmth, much like kittens and puppies. Chapels, by nature, are charming, endearing, in need of being protected.
Unlike another formerly owned St. Luke’s chapel, St. Matthew’s (sited at East Hampton Point, or EHP), St. Peter’s has been radically changed over the years. Originally built as a one-room gathering place by local hands in 1881, it fell into disuse and was turned over to St. Luke’s in 1912. Around 1923, the single room was lengthened 15 feet and widened by 8 feet, altering its original shape. In 1950, a 16-by-30 foot addition was built, plus a kitchen, bathrooms, and, finally, a long handicapped ramp in 2007. The wooden slats were covered with stucco, and the front door painted red.
On your own Instagram posting of this article, commenters (mostly from Springs) were in favor of the cell tower. One said, “Fr. Denis presented . . . enclosing the monopole in a bell tower. The town planning board rejected it all. . . . It was beautiful actually.” Another: “This is the architecture of the 21st century, if you want service, and let’s face it, everyone has a cellphone now.” Another: “Cell towers are a reality of life. They eventually fade into the background of your perception.” Another: Everyone take a deep breath and put up the darn pole. Everyone will be fine. The property values will still be among the highest in the nation and people will be able to call 911.” And another: “We have waited long enough. Paint it a pretty pink. Let’s go!”
This proposal has been bouncing around the town’s three boards long enough — seven long years in all. It wasn’t enough to bring a resident to a meeting in a wheelchair who lives close by the chapel who unfortunately fell and broke her leg on a wintry night and didn’t have enough bars to call for help. It’s not enough to reiterate that St. Peter’s has to be self-sustaining in its charter — and needs help to do ongoing necessary repairs. It’s not enough that the phone company has done its due diligence in looking at other nearby properties, but the rise at St. Peter’s provides the best coverage. And if anyone bothered to ask what the recently-retired rector of St. Luke’s (and its historian) would prefer: It would be a bell tower placed directly behind the chapel, holding all the equipment out of sight from the neighbors and the parishioners.
LYS A. MARIGOLD
Have No Idea
March 19, 2023
To the Editor:
Gosh, some people just have no idea what they sound like to others outside their echo chamber. Lynne Scanlon of the town Republican committee was obviously clueless when she wrote these words in last week’s letters column (gratuitously inserting them in a pitch to vote Republican in local elections this fall): “Quick, let me prostrate myself on the ground and grovel before now-discredited Black Lives Matter.”
Speaking as a (putatively) white resident of the town, I have the following to say: 1. Black lives matter. 2. The movement is not discredited in the minds of millions of people who are not Ms. Scanlon. 3. Official Republicans like her, claiming that Black lives don’t matter, will guarantee her party’s being shut out in local races, probably for years to come — which is well deserved.
The sad part is that I, an independent, agree with her basic premise that control of our town by the Democratic machine is a bad thing — but her strange, little out-group is not the answer.
To complete the joke, a small article ran in the same issue of The Star about Lee Zeldin’s new political action committee targeted to “the Jewish, Asian, Hispanic, African American, and other minority communities.” Can’t make this stuff up.
Lives Are in Danger
March 20, 2023
Your editorial of March 2 singing the praises of the gun club could’ve been written by Charlton Heston for the National Rifle Association. “Gun safety” is an oxymoron. The indisputable research that you should cite is that any American who has a gun is far more likely to be a victim of gun violence.
Maintaining an outdoor shooting range in a residential area is (gun) nuts. I suspect that if your own home was in range you might opine differently. To say that it is necessary for police is another smokescreen. This town is not Tombstone, Ariz., in 1880.
We all know that police need one day a year to recertify their shooting ability and that can be done at a safe facility in Calverton. Real people’s lives are in danger from stray bullets coming from the club. That is established by a report this fall from the town police (supported by state police) described in your own paper. Citing “members” promoting a years-old myth about “shots from the power lines” is hardly an accurate source for disparaging the facts. And some of those members are profiting by selling the leaded ammunition.
A judge ordered the club closed as a real and present danger. He also ordered an environmental investigation for the undoubtedly high levels of lead at the club. Lawyers for the club (including a Sandy Hook denier) and the town are doing everything they can to prevent an investigation. And this from a town board that keeps crowing how “green” it is. The same folks who claim they aren’t woefully negligent in their shooting and “safety” precautions are preventing citizens from determining what other damage is being done.
If we need to certify police, send them to Calverton once a year. If we want to provide outdoor recreational target practice in our very midst, how about archery?
March 17, 2023
To the Editor,
Even if the convicted Angela Pollina is eventually sentenced to 25 years to life, I don’t feel there will be any true justice for Thomas Valva’s murder at the hands of his biological (in-name-only) father, Michael, and his truly evil stepmother. They will never suffer like Thomas did in their non-garage-like prison cells; they will have warmth, mattresses, books, toilet bowls, and three meals a day.
District Attorney Ray Tierney says, “We will try to make sure this never ever again happens in Suffolk County,” but he is not criminally prosecuting any of the (not-fired!) Child Protective Services accessory-before-the-fact case workers or their supervisors.
The same day I read about the jury finding Ms. Pollina guilty, I read an unrelated story about the arrest of a woman who made a 6-year-old child smuggle marijuana to an inmate of the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside. While Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. bragged that, “With this arrest, our officers protected the welfare of an innocent child who was exploited to commit this crime,” the story ended with the chilling statement that Child Protective Services had been notified. I shudder to think of the many ways this child is likely to not be protected any more than Thomas Valva was.
I believe Thomas’s life might have been saved if only someone had notified The East Hampton Star about his plight back in 2016, 2017, 2018, or 2019 and a subsequent front page story had brought it to public attention. That’s why I agree with Thomas Jefferson that, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
March 19, 2023
To the Editor,
On Feb. 12, I applied for the town’s open position for environmental technician. Did I think I would get it? Absolutely not, especially with the odd mathematics degree requirement. Obviously it was tailor-made for someone within the town.
Luckily enough, I’ve been a technician for almost a decade and a half. I can fulfill all the requirements denoted in the advertisement, especially the research aspect, using a chain saw, or the fact I do algebra virtually every day.
I was asked to fill out a Civil Service application. Seeing the resolution for Thursday, March 16, I thought it was odd I never once received a call, a letter, any notification. After enquiring, I received an answer.
My degree isn’t in math and I don’t meet the minimum requirements in my field. A technician cannot be a technician in the field they work in? I got it. Due diligence wasn’t done, as I asked for and was given the email exchange. This is going to raise some issues. Thank you, in my opinion, for the willful discrimination as well as the continued willful denial of our rights into the 245th week here on Bay View Avenue.
Got Out of Hand
March 20, 2023
As I read the letters March 9, it is apparent that Colonel Jessup in “A Few Good Men” uttered that phrase, “You can’t handle the truth.” No one approves of the Jan. 6 debacle where it got out of hand. There were morons who deserved to be arrested and held accountable. The real “Cesspool of Lies” was on full display with the dog-and-pony show of the Jan. 6 committee. The giant, taxpayer-funded movie screen just above the talking partisan heads led by the cherry-picking Liz Cheney and her hidden agenda on full display. She got sent packing and dumped by her district’s voters.
Reports of Officer Brian Sicknick being beaten to death with a fire extinguisher were, and are, a blatant lie even to this day. The brave officer was observed patrolling the hallways of the building 20 minutes after he was “beaten to death.” Unfortunately he died from a stroke. The five others also died from natural health-related issues. Policing is well known to have these health issues. The autopsy results were deliberately withheld — why? Those brave officers did their jobs. Tucker Carlson may not have mentioned it for that reason?
The American public has the right to know what actually happened and, as the late Howard Cosell would say, “Let’s go to the to the videotape!” Tapes do not lie.
The so-called shaman was escorted about with the police trying to unlock doors for him as he wandered and casually followed him. His apologies can be heard on the tape. What about the shooting and killing of Ashli Babbitt, unarmed, but wrongly climbing through a window and shot to death by a plainclothes officer with prior shooting issues?
Then the usual comparison to Nazis and Stalin followed. The same rhetoric mentioned by politicians and the biased media and press. Who is Ray Epps, in that red cap, and the evidence is heard coming from his mouth to enter the building, reported text messages from him confirm his part in instigating the mob?
A better question is who people are still held in solitary confinement and deprived of their rights to a speedy trial. Shooters and felons are released without bail?
The “everlasting shame” falls upon the attack in speech and our civil liberties. The blind eye toward China, Russian, and even the Covid lies still covered up by the media, as they fiddle while Rome burns. The public stays partially in the dark.
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
Get It Out
March 19, 2023
Mr. Ilhe, you need serious professional help. Please get it, or go into the street, get it out by screaming on top of your lungs. This was done by most liberals when Hillary lost the election. You’re not worth my time and trouble.
In God and country,
March 17, 2023
To the Editor,
Marjorie, Marjorie, Marjorie, congratulations on your acceptance into “Sesame Street.” I am sure that you are excited about moving forward with your education. This path will certainly compliment your writing skills, which we all look forward to. Continuing education will hopefully improve your thought process.
I was just so impressed with your knowledge of Chinese spy balloons. I am sure your classmates Big Bird, Elmo, Bert, Ernie, and Cookie Monster will be so jealous of your level of expertise when it comes to balloon data-collection. Be sure that you make them also aware of your high intellect when it comes to China, the pharmaceutical industry, and the Congressional Budget Office; they will be forever grateful having you as a classmate.
I heard this week’s lessons are being sponsored by the letters B and D. Please give Big Bird our best!
Are We Better?
March 20, 2023
A fascinating week in the news is ahead for us all. We may see some earth-shaking developments that affect our safety, economics, and democracy.
The former president of the United States of America may be criminally indicted Tuesday or “arrested,” in his own exaggerated words. That disgraced president continues to squeeze money from his dwindling supporters, thinking he can be re-elected, and now he commands them to protest the New York court’s legitimate process of jurisprudence. It sounds like he wants a rerun of the Jan. 6 insurrection right here in New York City! Will he do this in every jurisdiction where criminal charges against him are being investigated?
Will our federal and local governments, along with all the courts, crumble with fear under his baseless threats, and give this recidivist criminal a pass? No other person in this country would ever get such courtesy and allowance. Will this sociopath bully get off once again?
Now we have major banking failures and instabilities starting to show up here coast to coast, and even in Switzerland. Our American banker wise guys lobbied to limit revised regulations meant to effectively improve oversight after the 2008 financial disaster. They wanted new regulations to apply only to the very largest banks, the ones said to be “too big to fail.” They got their way, and ran their slightly smaller “shadow banks” with a cocky drunken abandon, giving them an easy opportunity to build portfolios without proper liquidity for unexpected investment declines. These shadow banks had boards lacking actual banking expertise and operated with gross mismanagement. They eventually screwed up and, once again, appealed to our government for help, to avoid a complete banking disaster. We may see big losses to government funds in the near future.
Will these irresponsible bankers face any meaningful penalties and legal challenges? Beyond making unsafe investment choices, will they face charges for their obvious illegal insider activity of withdrawing their own money first to save their wealth?
This week we also saw the warmongering criminal Putin proudly gloating and strutting around Mariupol, Ukraine, shortly after a similar sneaky nighttime visit to Sevastopol, Crimea. He wanted to admire the unprovoked and unjust total destruction and killing that he accomplished in that once-peaceful country and city. Will he ever be held accountable for his crimes? Now we see China’s Xi Jinping traveling to Moscow to personally assure Putin of his support, in the face of the ongoing Russian criminal invasion of Ukraine.
At least the International Criminal Court on Friday issued an arrest warrant, “for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes,” accusing him of personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine. But here in the U.S.A., I ask, are we better than that or is all accountability for criminal behavior now determined by who you know, how much you can pay, and how threatening you can be?
This week’s events may tell us. Let’s pray for a return to sanity and lawful behavior. Now that spring has arrived, some real housecleaning is in order!
March 19, 2023
It is a rarity in our political universe that a politician takes a policy position that absolutely disqualifies him or her from running for president. We have had liars, crooks, racists, fascists, white trash, scumbags, et al., who have run for office in our past and even gotten elected. Yet, last week, when Ron DeSantis took the position that the Russia-Ukraine war was not vital to United States interests, the disqualification “Get Lost!” button went off loud and clear. To publicly express this level of idiocy and ignorance does it. Finished, kaput. Go home, turkey brain. With the existing world order teetering on the brink of chaos, this anal-retentive buffoon puts on a MAGA hat and sticks his head in the sand.
To explain: Governments are kind of like having kids. We celebrate the birth and then we have to wait, sometimes 40 or 50 years, to see what the kid produces. So, we look at the president from six years ago and we begin to understand what his time in power actually produced — things like deregulating banking controls and railroad transportation rules are pretty bad but are essentially domestic. (See Ohio chemical disaster and bank failures.) MAGA is also mostly domestic, except for the centerpiece of “America first,” which means everyone else is, at best, second. Bill Clinton ended Glass-Steagall in 1999, and, in 2009, the banking industry collapses — 10 years later.
So, in the face of the Russia-Ukraine war we are scrambling to put together a coalition to end this conflict, but more important, to prevent future conflicts. Half the world has told us to screw off. Half the world no longer sees the U.S. as leading the world in terms of democracy and nonviolent resolution of problems. Saudi Arabia and Iran are lining up with China. Asia and Africa have moved away from us, and even South America is dealing with China.
So, simply put, what happens in the next few years may determine the state of our universe for the next 50 years. Huge stakes. Major risk.
Not everyone qualifies to be president. When Mr. Clinton, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump went stupid, we and the world paid through the nose. We can’t afford Governor DeSantis and Mr. Trump because they are internationally braindead, so we need to emboss a big “D” on their foreheads. Still plenty of time to find good candidates.
Our Right Whales
March 20, 2023
To the Editor,
I understand the hope that offshore wind will provide “green” electricity not generated by diesel, natural gas, or nuclear-based sources. Naturally we think we should look to that source to protect our environment, but I do not believe so. I ask you to question it based upon what is known today, yet not shared with us. We must dig to research it for ourselves. We need to look at all the alternatives available and factor in what will become available in the future. Technology keeps improving with the passage of time. Compare fuel efficiency of newer model cars vs. 30 years ago. Jet engines and generators, diesel, and natural gas, have all seen significant improvements, reducing CO2, and increasing fuel efficiency. Cold fusion has been proven to work, and now they are working on building efficient and safe cold-fusion generation.
I asked, several years ago, for a scientific study to determine what, if any, reduction in carbon dioxide production would result from offshore wind. None has ever been done. The CO2 generated in the manufacturing, installation, and operation of offshore wind turbines must be enormous. Not to mention that each turbine uses a significant amount of oil for lubrication which has been seen leaking down the side of towers into the sea. Offshore wind electricity cost to consumers will be the highest cost power and more than any other sources, even with a 30-percent federal subsidy which is being paid by all of us, including ratepayers. Offshore wind would not happen if it weren’t for the tremendous number of tax incentives and grants from the government. The backers of offshore wind are Wall Street hedge funds.
In 2016 it was estimated we had approximately 400 right whales. At the end of 2022, it is estimated we have less than 336. That decrease of 64 works out to be 10.66 right whale deaths per year. At that rate, the right whale will be extinct within 32 years or less. Ship strikes, natural causes, entanglement, and disease are said to be the reasons. I am sure some have died from those causes, but do we know in what proportion? Since December until now, over 35 whales of various species have died off the East Coast. As more wind farms are constructed offshore, what will that impact be?
The North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium releases a right-whale-population statistic every year at its annual meeting as part of a preliminary Right Whale Report Card and a simple internet search will bring it up. It shows a dramatic decrease in the right whale population from the time Block Island Wind began construction, right up to early 2022, when it was last made available. This information is available in graph form at Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, “Right Whale Population Declines for 10th Straight Year.”
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, marine biologists, Woods Hole, and other sources have been stating sounds in the oceans have severe negative impact on marine mammals. Those impacts are disorientation, interrupted feeding, ear damage, and navigation ability. Marine biologists state we cannot lose more than one right whale per year for them to survive. The Right Whale Consortium shows a loss of 124 right whales in five years, a rate of 24.5 whales per year.
Several New Jersey mayors have asked for a moratorium on offshore wind construction until a comprehensive study is done on the impact of offshore wind to marine mammals. I have asked our town board and trustees to do the same, providing them with information and studies that include references to noise and are readily available for them to review for themselves. I had only one recipient reply, stating that sound disruption was disinformation, and sending me a link to a NOAA study that I was already familiar with. That study merely acknowledges entanglement, ship strikes, diseases, and normal mortality but provides no information regarding sound or noise.
Orsted has agreed to fund a study commissioned by New Jersey officials. No conflict of interest there! A study should be done by marine biologists, paid for by a consortium composed of the federal government, affected state governments, utility companies, and environmental organizations that support offshore wind. If they are so completely confident that offshore wind is best and will not harm the marine environment, let them prove it! Why would any entity risk contributing to the extinction of the right whale or any species when alternatives are currently available.
There is a bipartisan group of East Coast congressmen: Jeff Van Drew and Chris Smith, both from New Jersey, Jared Golden from Maine and Andy Harris from Maryland, seeking answers from the leadership of the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. A NOAA scientist sent out a warning almost a year ago sounding the alarm on the long-term impacts offshore wind could have on the endangered North Atlantic right whale.
Congressman Van Drew hosted a hearing in New Jersey on March 16 with other congressmen and experts on the impact of offshore wind. Everyone should watch it on YouTube, searching for the New Jersey council meeting on offshore wind turbines. You will need to advance to the 30 or 31-minute point to watch from the beginning, and it is well worth it. After watching it live, I hope that a congressional investigation will lead to a stop order till a comprehensive independent study is performed as well as an additional investigation into Orsted, Eversource, and the Bureau of Energy Management for their actions and misrepresentations about the severe harmful impacts offshore wind presents.
In addition, offshore wind turbines will not survive hurricanes of level three and above, they will collapse. Our coast has a long history of hurricanes at level three and higher. Whales, dolphins, sea turtles, oil, natural gas, container ships, cruise ships, fishing vessels, Coast Guard and Navy surface vessels, and nuclear submarines travel through the sea in areas where they are to be built. What would happen if one collapsed on them? Orsted has a simple plan for decommissioning by cutting the towers five feet above the sea floor and leaving everything else behind.
I ask all of you to contact town board members, trustees, politicians, and anyone who has been involved with offshore wind to put a moratorium in place and obtain an independent and honest scientific study by marine biologists and not influenced by politics, politicians, or proponents of offshore wind, then evaluate and devise a plan of action that will ensure the survival of our right whales and other marine life, along with other available ways to obtain non-CO2 generated electricity and would not increase the risks to endangered species. It is time to do what is right and get it right.