Don’t Trash E.H.
April 3, 2023
Dear Mr. Rattray,
Thank you for your recent article “Planning a No Spring Fling,” which references the upcoming efforts of the East Hampton Town Litter Action Committee. The advisory committee would like to introduce our mission to your readers.
The Town of East Hampton recently appointed seven members to the litter action committee in response to the ever-increasing amount of trash on our roads, beaches, and wooded areas. To ensure open communication across the entire town, each hamlet is represented by a member of its citizens advisory committee.
Our goal is to create, develop, and implement strategies designed to prevent and reduce litter, raise public awareness, and encourage involvement of our community. Working toward a litter-free town requires partnerships. We look forward to working with businesses, government, students, environmental groups, fellow residents, as well as visitors in this effort.
Instagram: #dont.trash.east.hampton. Email: [email protected]. Don’t toss it. See litter, pick it up. Cover your load. It’s that easy. Don’t trash East Hampton.
East Hampton Town Litter Action Committee
April 10, 2023
To the Editor:
It is cathartic to take a break from letters written in indignation and give a shout-out to Jaine Mehring, whom you profiled in the March 30 paper.
Jaine is the voice of reason on matters of zoning and land use, against a philosophical backdrop of community and mutual goals. I always look forward to her participation in the public portion of town board meetings and letters to The Star. She is a highly knowledgeable advocate who arrays facts first, then draws powerful, hard-to-counter conclusions. We need scientific minds like hers in the ongoing, critical discussions about the future of our town, which will determine what life will be like here in the decades to come.
Someone in last week’s letter column suggested that Jaine consider running for town board someday. If she ever did, she would have my vote and support.
East Hampton Village
April 9, 2023
To The Star:
I’ve been thinking of writing a passionate screed to the Star Letters column for, well, months, on the general lack of civility in our quite-changed South Fork and East End. Then I thought of Gertrude Stein’s comment, surely to be misquoted by me here: “Nobody likes change, but everything always changes.” Surely there was a time that she and Alice Toklas could have easily found a home here rather than in Paris.
But trying to get back to civility, after parking on Main Street in Amagansett, where the cars barrel into town at speeds that surely warrant ticketing and make getting from Jack’s to the hardware store a very dangerous business indeed, though one does find occasional civility when older vintage cars slow down to let the illegal street crossings happen without fatality.
But I then got distracted from my intention by the always-welcome “Shipwreck Rose” (which always takes me back to a kinder East End) by meeting in your pages a charming cat named Maui. That led me into creating an imaginary family of cats all named for places in Hawaii (no more than four letters!), and I was visited by Kona, Hilo, Hana, Oahu, Paia, and the identical tabbys, Koki One and Koki Two.
That was a welcome distraction from our disappearing civility — not disappearing but it seems long gone. I’m not going to depress myself by making a detailed list. I won’t (didn’t?) manage to get to the meeting, but if turkey hunting gets approved, I will have to see to it that Kona, Hilo, Hana, Oahu, Paia, and Koki One and Koki Two remain housebound during the turkey-hunting season. And if “Shipwreck Rose” would like to board Maui for that time, Maui would be a welcome addition.
Ah, if cats could only carry picket signs!
April 10, 2023
I am newly back from Florida and having lunch today with the current Star. Bess Rattray’s passing mention of Whippoorwill Lane in her column strikes a chord.
During heavy rains, the middle of that Amagansett street (now called Atlantic Avenue), right where Old Montauk Highway intersects, is a notorious challenge for drivers. It floods from both sides of the road, sometimes sloshing over the hubcaps.
I’ve heard that area called Whippoorwill Hollow, and now I know why.
Ms. Silverman is the editor at large at The Star. Ed.
April 6, 2023
To the Editor,
Why does the sale of 1 Main Street for $22 million conjure up ambulance volunteers? They give their time freely and many are hard-working and successful people, not to mention essential in saving people’s lives. Their income is irrelevant and mentioning them in the article is insulting. An apology is in order.
JEFFREY LAUTIN, M.D.
April 6, 2023
The (very) small community church here in Springs on Old Stone Highway is located in a residential zone, as you know. It never had electricity before the contemplation of cell equipment. Nighttime meditation meetings were held there in candlelight.
When they put in electricity, they also added outdoor nighttime lighting. This lighting is left on at night when it’s not needed. And now they are adding an obnoxious and obtrusive cell tower.
No question we need better cell service, since everyone seems to be giving up their house phones. But we don’t need such an obtrusive cell tower in a residential zone.
The town commissioned a cell tower report that recommended more, shorter poles for cell equipment. But, instead, the cell companies want to save some money, so they only want one big one. The town should not have capitulated to that demand. Shorter and more numerous poles would accomplish the same goal to provide better service.
April 7, 2023
To the Editor,
Whenever the topic of school consolidation comes up, it always turns to winners and losers — “Will I pay more in school taxes, or will I pay less?” There is another consideration beyond the bottom line. What effect will school consolidation have on the quality of education?
If done correctly, we all, including students, would be huge beneficiaries of school consolidation.
School consolidation would expand opportunities for our children. A collective approach offers a practical and economic advantage that exceeds the ability of each of our separated school districts. Consolidation would offer more subjects to study, more sports, more performing arts, additional therapies, and a greater opportunity for offering academic remediation.
The individual-district school model falls short when it comes to expanded opportunities for students. If our school districts shared their talents and resources, the quality of education in our community would be greatly enhanced.
School consolidation offers numerous benefits for students and taxpayers. In a period of teacher shortages, it even benefits educators. Consider all the money that can be saved when the duplication of high-salaried administrative positions are eliminated. I love it, more for less.
It would be disingenuous not to recognize the rise in school taxes for some and the lowering for others. At the same time, we should not ignore or discount the educational benefits of consolidation!
April 10, 2023
Thank you, Christopher Gangemi, for drawing attention to the enormous use of pesticides in Suffolk County (April 6). As a concerned resident in this community, I have been trying to educate myself about the research on just a few of the thousands of chemicals being used especially in yardcare. And the research is often frustrating. We do know, of course, that pesticides, especially neuro-systemic pesticides like neonics, can kill all kinds of beneficial insects and pollinators. The period of their usage also synchronizes with the catastrophic collapse of bird and bee populations. However it is very difficult to wade through the research to determine the nature and timing of groundwater leaching of the thousands of these chemicals and the compounds they form with each other and their impact on human health. And where is the research that substantiates the levels that are deemed acceptable in our drinking water? And how is that determined? People sit in a lab drinking different amounts of specific pesticides?
One organization that has distilled much of the research on the human health impact of pesticides is called Beyond Pesticides and there your readers will find some disturbing information for public health. But what seems to be more important is whether we as a community, as a municipality, have the right to regulate or ban specific chemicals — pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides.
Last year, Gov. Kathy Hochul vetoed a bill that would allow municipalities to regulate a specific pesticide use near wetlands, which we are surrounded by on the East End. The tug of war between the pesticide manufacturers and their agricultural industry defenders and municipal governments, who are duty bound to protect the health of our environment and humans, is something we should all care about. Last year, according to Open Secrets, which tracks money in politics, the chemical industry spent almost $66 million lobbying Congress. Of course, not all of those chemicals are used in agricultural and private or government properties.
I also discovered that when the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Environmental Conservation regulates a chemical or pesticide, they usually do not ban its use, but rather restrict its use to professional landscapers and their employees. It is good to be reminded that the thousands of lawsuits brought against the owners of Roundup (glyphosate) for causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers have mostly involved the people who handle that chemical regularly: farmworkers, groundskeepers, landscapers, gardeners.
As a community, if we care about the health of each other and our ecosystem, we need to get some clarity on the research and processes of regulating these dangerous chemicals. In the meantime, we can agree as consumers to stop using them and to ask our neighbors and landscapers to stop using them.
Our Rage for Order
April 7, 2023
To the Editor,
Some weeks ago, we were warned again that we are hurtling toward climate disaster. It’s hard to believe anyone noticed. It’s spring. The lawn treatments have begun; the leaf blowers are blowing. The little yellow pesticide notices have sprouted.
Our rage for order has embraced the season. It must be comforting to tame our landscapes into submission, to order and organize nature into familiar, controlled suburban environments. We are, however, relentlessly killing the ecosystems that maintain our green planet.
Clearing, blowing, poisoning, we dismantle the miraculous machinery that keeps us breathing in our temperate world. We poison the soil organisms that structure our soil. We kill the micro-organisms and fungi that filter toxins and protect our groundwater. We exterminate the insects that pollinate our fruit and flowering plants. We deprive songbirds of their food and ourselves of the climate-regulating powers of the soil, native grasses, and trees.
Perhaps we cannot bear too much reality; we need our daily amnesia to carry on. Benjamin Vogt gets it right, I think, in his splendid book, “A New Garden Ethic”:
“How we treat each other and ourselves is reflected in the landscape, in our gardens. As we erode diversity of species and places, we erode not only nature’s resiliency, but our own. The greatest injustice of our time may be the eradication of native ecosystems, the erasure of entire life forms, and the capacity of one species to ignore those injustices.”
Our native plant communities have evolved to grow here, without herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides. They are at home with our environment, our insects, birds, soils, and soil life. It’s time to garden with the Earth. You may be surprised how beautiful and liberating it can be.
Price Will Be Paid
April 5, 2023
A year ago, I reported in these pages the data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, that climate disasters costing $1 billion or more in the United States were escalating by 85 percent per decade — from $127 billion in the 1980s to $802 billion in the 2010s. This predictable escalation projects to $1.487 trillion worth of destruction in the 2020s, and that’s not counting disasters less than $1 billion, so the real effects are much larger.
Disturbed by the waves of tornadoes sweeping the middle of the country, I checked the NOAA website to see how well that projection was holding up in the first three years of the 2020s: $405 billion in three years, right on track. Putting this in perspective, this is more in annual destruction than the annual allocation of funds to fight climate change in Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Bill. Even this inadequate investment is uncertain, as Marjorie Taylor Greene, said to be the second-most-powerful person in the Legislature, when pressed on “60 Minutes” on April 2 to tell us what she would cut from federal spending, said, “The green stuff.”
The International Panel on Climate Change, in its updated report last week, said that unless nations drastically reduce fossil fuel use, we are likely to pass dangerous temperature thresholds within the next 10 years, pushing the planet beyond catastrophic warming. Basic components of the Earth system will be fundamentally altered beyond human capacity to recover.
A friend asked why I keep writing about climate change. “Doesn’t everybody already know this stuff?”
I answered, “Has every owner who can afford it put solar panels on their roof? Have the owners of large properties who don’t want them on their precious architectural statements put ground-mounted arrays on their lawns?” Has everybody reading this called our Republican Congressman Nicolas LaLota (202-225-3826) to tell him to start finding allies among his caucus to rebel against M.T.G. and press for more climate legislation, not less? Is there a solar array on the front lawn of Town Hall as a public statement of the urgency of the issue? Have the supervisors of the towns threatened by rising seas talked with each other to arrange buses to take several thousand residents, adults and children, to LaLota’s office hour in Rocky Point on an upcoming Thursday? Would you ride that bus?
If the answer to any of those questions is no, then no, not everybody has fully understood what science is telling us. We are talking about millions of displaced persons, here and around the world, creating chaos that will bring down governments and set neighboring countries at wars of scarcity. The worldwide consensus of science is telling us that unless this is addressed now, chain reactions and tipping points will make stopping it impossible. Every year, the solutions become more expensive as another layer of emissions is pumped into the sky. If we can’t afford the transition to renewables now, we will never be able to afford it.
There is no rich uncle in the sky. The cost must come from our pockets or the price will be paid by our children, their children, and every generation to follow.
Has an ‘In’
April 8, 2023
I am responding to an arrogant ad in The Star from a real estate agency, specifically, the ad that reads: “Land Issues Holding You Up?” and also implying that the agency has an “in” with town officials.
I was a member of the East Hampton Town Planning Board for 15 years (eight years as chairwoman). I have also been elected to the East Hampton Town Board. In both positions, I was the point person of our efforts to preserve and protect the character of East Hampton by updating our comprehensive plan, zoning code, and land-use map.
East Hampton has been under constant pressure from developers who tear down the homes of local people who could not afford to live here anymore and replace them with McMansions, checkerboard our farmland with architectural behemoths, string condos on our shorelines, and overcommercialize and choke our roadways with conga lines of traffic. I could go on.
So, yeah, we adopted tougher standards. There are some hurdles when you go for your building permit or want to develop land in East Hampton. You may be frustrated and have an issue with our land-use standards. If you want to develop and build on the best farmland in New York State, you have to go to the architecture review board and must preserve 70 percent of the prime soils. If you want to build a second home over our only freshwater aquifer, you cannot have a grand lawn that needs constant fertilization. If you want to build on a dune for an ocean view, you cannot. I could go on.
It’s the attitude of the real estate ad that is upsetting. Most of our real estate agents understand and support East Hampton’s tough standards and preservation of open space through our successful community preservation program because they are astute enough to realize that because of these tough “land use issues” their agencies will be able to put more dots on the map, increase their bottom lines, and not ruin the reasons people still want to come to East Hampton.
April 4, 2023
The Town of East Hampton owns the RECenter. Instead of leasing it to someone to run it, the town actually pays the Y.M.C.A. to manage it — almost $600,000 annually. Obviously under this ridiculous arrangement, the Y.M.C.A. is under absolutely no incentive to properly manage or care for the facility. Nor are they accountable to anyone. And as I noted, it shows. The place is filthy and a hazard. No amount of complaining to the Y.M.C.A. or the town has resulted in mopping the floors in the bathrooms, let alone addressing the more serious issues such as pool filth and the dangerous weightlifting area.
A perfect example of the Y.M.C.A.’s arrogance is this: In response to my recent letter to The Star concerning the conditions, the executive director of the Y.M.C.A., Molly Tuzil, emailed me last week and asked to set up a call to “discuss my concerns.” Although Ms. Tuzil declined to state in writing why the Y.M.C.A. is unable to lower the dangerously high heat in the pool or to keep the place clean, she did promise to explain it to me in a call that we scheduled for Monday, April 3, at 3 p.m. But she never did call me.
Band of Brothers
April 7, 2023
Hey, hunter dudes, please give our East Hampton wild turkeys a break and do not expand their hunting season. Let’s face it, “hunting” a wild turkey is as oxymoronic as “hunting” an ant. Our wild turkeys are cool. They move in unison, gang up, and take care of each other — like a band of brothers. Sports commentators tell me that our turkeys’ moves were closely studied by the New York Knicks when they won N.B.A. championships in 1970 and 1973. In particular, Walt “Clyde” Frazier was a keen student and acolyte of the turkey group leader, as the crew crossed dangerous roads with cool bobs, weaves, and jump shots.
So instead of a turkey, eat a striped bass or some fava beans with a nice Chianti.
April 7, 2023
To the Editor,
Marjorie, Marjorie, Marjorie, your “Sesame Street” midterm grades are really horrendous. Needless to say, you took a step way too far when you attempted to give us a history lesson of the events of Jan. 6. You made two things loud and clear when you wrote last week’s masterpiece: You are having a major problem with understanding history, and George Santos is now your best friend.
When you start quoting Tucker Carlson as a source on historical events, we all understand why your grade was an “F.” You must keep your course study “simple, not stupid.”
Just a few points of clarification: Jan. 6 was an insurrection by a violent mob (I know there are a lot of letters in that word insurrection). There is a real good chance that many of the trailer park trash who stormed the Capitol that day have been arrested and are going to jail. Also, for your information, Ashli Babbitt is not a martyr.
I understand that reading is not your favorite pastime and something you rarely do, but you have to stop constantly watching mentally challenged cable-news idiots who really have no understanding of history or true facts. Remember, stupidity is no excuse for ignorance.
Maybe with Big Bird’s help you can return from the alternate reality you are living in.
April 10, 2023
CBS political correspondent Ed O’Keefe has criticized the Biden administration’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal in a report released by the National Security Council. The report, 12 pages long, placed blame on former President Donald Trump for the failed withdrawal. Mr. O’Keefe noted the report barely acknowledged any mistake by Biden.
U.S. veterans are blasting the White House as liars for portraying the military withdrawal of Afghanistan as a success, insisting that Biden’s flunkies are abandoning veterans only to protect the corrupt politicians.
The retired soldiers destroyed the National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, after he blamed ex-President Trump for paving the way for the disastrous 2021 evacuation. Admiral Kirby claims he won’t buy the whole argument of chaos. Where was he? It was televised?
Chad Robichaux, an Afghanistan War veteran and co-founder of the Save Our Allies group that helped Americans safely escape, said this country has accused former Navy Rear Admiral Kirby of abandoning his loyalties to veterans in favor of “protecting corrupt politicians in D.C.”
In God and country,
April 9, 2023
What is with the letter-writer’s obsession with Marjorie Taylor Greene? Granted, she does go on a bit, but she is factual. That is certainly not out of “Sesame Street,” as he repeatedly mentions, including the Benghazi failure.
I recall watching the former secretary of state utter the disgusting, insensitive remark at a hearing on Benghazi “. . . at this point what difference does it make?” This in regard to the deaths of American warriors, whose bodies were thrown from the roof of a building after a firefight. Fighter jets were a short distance away at the ready for a possible rescue and support. She never issued a request for them to respond. I am sure it mattered, to the family members of those killed.
The cluster-bleep of the surrender of Afghanistan, where $80 billion of our top weapons, aircraft, and armored vehicles were a gift to the Taliban. What about those left behind? That was like ready! Shoot! Aim! Not good policy.
It’s all Trump’s fault, and he was also responsible for Krakatoa in 1883. Yesterday, John Kirby stated that Afghanistan was a total success. The Taliban allowed China to utilize the base, how successful was that?
The Chinese balloon was mentioned, and has it not been revealed that it secured and transmitted surveillance data, taken over our most sensitive military facilities across the nation, and, after its mission was completed, it was shot down, with a $4 million guided missile.
He doesn’t know of the depletion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to 47 percent, to lower the gas price a few pennies. We were getting pounded by gas prices while oil was sold to Russia and China. Is more depletion on its way?
Maybe the writer should stop watching “Sesame Street,” where he gets his education, and instead watch the premier fruit salad speeches of Kamala, as she embarrassed her office and self on the world stage.
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
The much-repeated “what difference” statement from Hillary Clinton during a 2013 hearing was taken from the following: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this. The fact is that people were trying, in real time, to get to the best information. . . .” Ed.
The God Meme
April 8, 2023
In 1955, the United States government added “In God We Trust” to the currency. It was such a bizarre action that most of the population had no idea about what had actually transpired. Officially connecting our economic well-being to God was a betrayal of the democratic principles of the Constitution. The founders understood that religion and democracy were incompatible; governing based on reality was going to be difficult enough. Adding the irrational uncertainty of religion was a guaranteed disaster. Adding the best religion had to offer, maintaining order, wasn’t nearly enough. So they separated church and state because it had never worked.
Why the government added the God meme to the currency is hard to fathom. Was it the threat of communism, which opposed the church? The fear of nuclear war after we dropped the bombs? The emergence of the U.S. as the only superpower after World War II destroyed much of the world? The Librium haze that enveloped the country in the 1950s or the ascendancy of the Christian nation lunatic fringe we are experiencing today. Irrationality and manipulation.
The combination of religion, capitalism, and fascism seemed perfect. They melded together to maintain order, induce people to work harder, and create huge amounts of wealth for the leadership. (We didn’t have a king with divine rights, but Trump had yet to arrive.)
The God-Jesus conundrum has always been the defining and damning issue for American Christianity: the problem between belief and behavior. With God, we get a free pass for all of our indiscretions. Everything is forgiven, rationalized, sanitized, and forgotten. Jesus says that if you repeatedly kill and abuse, you need to change your behavior. When the distribution of wealth and economic well-being come into play, God becomes even more necessary, a foil for bad behavior, a cover for greed and avarice and accumulating wealth.
When we picture the ideal government in a complicated, sometimes dangerous world, we look for a system that assures our well-being first and isn’t obsessed with self-preservation, getting bogged down in a world where universal truths remain constant but where the methodology for achieving them changes constantly.
Like religious institutions, a government that demands fidelity and loyalty to its banner, rather than to its performance, is inherently a disaster. Whatever your church or your political party believes is irrelevant to how they perform in the real world — both are inherently corrupt. They deny reality and refuse scrutiny.
How many people will need to step up before our churches terminate their history of abusing children? Is there a limit on the number of schoolchildren who need to be killed before our government and our churches decide to step up and say, “No more!” Is it always about the collateral damage associated with our greed?