May 1, 2023
On behalf of all veterans, thank you, East Hampton Town Board, for posting the new “Reserved Veteran Parking — Thank You for Your Service” signs at town beaches.
Montauk Lions Club
May 7, 2023
To the Editor,
The Montauk Point Lions Club is a service organization, dedicated to the visually impaired and others in need of care within the Montauk community. Primarily, we provide for the training of guide dogs for the visually impaired. At a cost of nearly $7,000 and requiring many months of training, qualified dogs are provided at no charge to persons with visual impairment.
In addition, we collect and recycle eyeglasses for the needy, as well as provide for free eye examinations for qualified persons. We also provide four yearly scholarships to local high school graduates based on both financial need and academic excellence. One hundred percent of funds raised will go toward these very worthy causes.
In the coming weeks, we will commence our annual fund-raising drive and are hopeful that our letter of appeal will be positively received. The members of our community who suffer from visual impairment are among the most grateful recipients of your kindness and generosity.
May 8, 2023
Anti-litter activity and collaboration is building momentum in East Hampton. The East Hampton Litter Action Committee would like to thank East Hampton Town Trustees Susan McGraw-Keber and David Cataletto for organizing such a successful litter pickup in the Lazy Point environs. More than 30 hearty volunteers, including Montauk and East Hampton students, members of Surfrider, Lazy Point residents, and many others took to this beautiful area’s beaches and “fling zone” of local roadways. We thank you all for helping us do a cleanup and bring awareness to the litter problem currently plaguing our hometown during our No-Fling Spring month.
Another litter action committee pickup took place in Wainscott on Saturday as well. Thank you to all who volunteered to pick up mostly on Route 27, where the garbage situation remains tragic. A special thanks to our youngest volunteer yet — 4 1/2 years old!
The East Hampton Town Trustees will host another litter pickup event on Saturday, meeting at the Atlantic Avenue Beach Hut at 9 a.m.
The litter action committee hosts a litter pickup in Amagansett tomorrow at 9 a.m., meeting at Napeague Lane.
Put on your dancing shoes for the No-Fling Spring dance party in Fellowship Hall at the Springs Presbyterian Church, 5 Old Stone Highway, on Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. This community event will include taco and ice cream food trucks, line dance instruction, dancing and singing to music from the 1970s and ‘80s, restaurant raffles, and more. All proceeds go toward much-needed restoration projects for the historic Springs building, which houses the Springs Food Pantry, as well as many community meetings and events. For more information, go to Instagram: @dont.trash.east.hampton
East Hampton Town Litter Action Committee
Students Would Suffer
May 8, 2023
Dear Mr. Rattray,
We are writing to share facts about the Springs School budget. While Springs taxpayers do pay a higher rate per assessed value, it is important to know that the school district has nothing to do with this inequity. Springs decided a long time ago to reject commercial expansion. This decision has protected the character of the hamlet, but it comes at a price. Without many businesses to pay their share, the burden falls on the homeowners.
Something the districts do have some control over is the spending per pupil. The Springs cost per student from 2022-23 was only $29,899, far below neighboring districts, which averaged $55,401 per student.
Even though we are asking to pierce the cap this year, this year’s tax increase is less than last year’s tax increase. Springs has been under the tax cap for several years in an effort to respect the difficulties of Covid and the economy. Current projections suggest the district can stay under the tax cap in the coming years. Springs School is still the school that does more with less.
If taxpayers were to vote down the budget, only the students would suffer. There would be larger class sizes and no extracurricular activities, such as after-school sports, plays and musicals, robotics, etc. Contractual expenses like tuition, salaries, and health insurance would still need to be paid. Voting down the budget doesn’t send the message that you disapprove of the inequity within our town; it only impacts the children of our community.
Please vote “yes” on Tuesday to pass the Springs School budget for 2023-24.
Springs Teachers’ Association
Under My Leadership
May 5, 2023
To the Editor:
I am writing to explain why I am seeking re-election as a trustee of the Wainscott Common School District and to ask for your vote in the district election.
I have been on the board of trustees since 2004 and have served as its president since 2013. During my tenure, I successfully oversaw the construction of the new schoolhouse and led the effort to expand opportunities for our students to attend Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton schools after graduating from our highly acclaimed K-3 program in our new schoolhouse. I have also supplied our students with the services and resources necessary to provide them with an exemplary start to their social, emotional, and educational growth, while ensuring they are applied in the most efficient manner possible consistent with our taxpayers’ interests.
I have no hidden agenda in seeking re-election. My service and commitment to the Wainscott School are motivated by my deep belief in the value of public education and my commitment to service to our community. I also formerly served as a co-chairman of the board of directors of the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center.
I strongly believe the Wainscott School is an impactful and community-defining institution that has served our community well for generations. I am proud that under my leadership the Wainscott School continues to fulfill one of our community’s highest responsibilities, namely the education and nurturing of our youngest students.
It is clear the changes that we all see and experience in Wainscott each day are again threatening the continued existence of the Wainscott School in its current format. The town’s recently proposed 50-unit (with 100 bedrooms) Route 114 housing project within our district has the real potential to overwhelm our district’s existing facilities, educational programing, and finances.
Under my leadership, the trustees are engaged in substantive discussions with the town board aimed at mitigating the proposed project’s significant adverse impacts on the district. I am confident that we can secure a sound future for the Wainscott School in its current format, while the town can build a Route 114 project that will be a significant step in addressing the townwide housing shortage. I believe this is the outcome preferred by the majority of Wainscott residents. My skill set and decades of experience of dealing with town government on myriad issues are uniquely valuable to the district in achieving this goal. My re-election with your support will ensure that our efforts will continue.
I am compelled to address the candidacy of Melanie Hayward, who is running an active campaign to unseat me. Nowhere in her campaign statements does she acknowledge her involvement with local housing advocacy groups who view the Wainscott School as an obstacle to their singular goal of building affordable housing in Wainscott. There is no doubt, based upon Ms. Hayward’s written and oral comments to the board of trustees during this past school year, that she looks to eliminate the Wainscott School in its current format, thereby eliminating that perceived obstacle.
The choice is clear. If re-elected, I will continue to use my best efforts and skills to lead the trustees’ efforts to urge the town to size and design the proposed Route 114 project to ensure that it does not eliminate the Wainscott School. My opponent advocates and will work to achieve the opposite result.
I respectfully ask for your vote for my re-election as a trustee at this pivotal point in our school’s long and impactful history.
DAVID E. EAGAN
Freshness and Creativity
May 8, 2023
There is a fresh breeze in Wainscott bringing scarce forward-thinking approaches to our school governance in our town. I am talking about Melanie Hayward, a candidate for the Wainscott Common School Board of Trustees.
Ms. Hayward has lived in Wainscott for a decade, raising her family with a daughter in kindergarten and a younger son on the way. She has worked for nonprofits that are focused on children and education, and served as the chief operating officer of Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit that builds schools and other educational initiatives overseas. She also worked with Teach for America, where she trained executives and held fund-raisers in regional offices. She’s currently completing her master’s in business administration.
The freshness and creativity in her positions are what caught my attention. She recognizes Wainscott will and should share the impact of affordable housing with the other hamlets and the need to work collaboratively with them to find solutions that ensure we all provide quality K-12 education across our town.
Her opponent, David Eagan, has served for almost 20 years as a trustee and is running on his negotiating skill with the town to lower the number of bedrooms (and children) in the currently planned housing off Route 114. He has no children in the Wainscott district, and he has had his residence, a horse farm, on the market for years. Even workers on horse farms deserve decent local housing. All he cares about is cutting taxes, not getting our kids the best education.
We need better solutions to preserve our town’s educational institutions and strengthen them in the coming decades. I know Melanie Hayward can meet that challenge in Wainscott and inspire other school boards throughout East Hampton.
JOHN R. POTTER
May 8, 2023
The proposed Wainscott School District tax level has risen to a crisis level of 95 percent. The 44 percent originally proposed was shocking enough, if the reporting was accurate.
Considering that the average citizen in this country has lost $7,000 in buying power with the increase of government spending and the inflation. There has been a hidden tax on all of us, where the dollar is losing its reserve currency status.
The crisis hits those of us on fixed incomes and seniors the hardest. The subsidized housing costs on the shoulders of the taxpayer diminish the ability to maintain some sort of living standard as we age. Are we that expendable that we must pay the bills for living costs of others in addition to our own while the sale of tax credits benefits only the investors?
The estimates of the number that will attend school seems to be underestimated. What is the actual cost of tuition per student, to attend another school, if possible, versus the ever-growing funding of one small school? The 47 units proposed off Route 114 do not consider the family growth, which no doubt will increase.
The effect on all the residents seems to be of little concern. What are they supposed to eliminate, how are homes to be maintained so they can live out the remaining years? There is a need to step back and carefully take into consideration the impact on the entire community.
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
Eyes on the Shingles
May 8, 2023
The town board appears to be cheering the near-completed design of a $28 million senior center. A recent town board discussion focused on the building’s exterior shingles, with the supervisor preferring non-reflective metal somewhat uncharacteristic of East Hampton buildings. The designer seriously stated that the exterior design was inspired by potato barns.
The three-wing, “windmill” design (visible only by aerial view) is supposedly a reference to our historic four-bladed windmills. It more closely resembles a modern airport terminal. Neither its shape nor its shingles convey a sense of place. Indeed, the design is markedly similar to J.F.K.’s Terminal 5, a typical spoke-and-wheel configuration. The real problem is that the town board has its eyes on the shingles instead of on the mandatory state environmental review process.
At this point, the State Environmental Quality Review Act is an afterthought; there has been no transparent SEQRA review of parking, access, summer traffic, septic size and location, policies within a special groundwater protection area location, clearing, or the threatened Northern long-eared bat.
The real issue is the board’s decision that it alone is best positioned to make all the planning decisions. Actually, it has less power over the property than the planning board and the architectural review board, which are delegated the responsibility to review site plans and conduct architectural review. As a property owner, the town board has no official powers of review. Point of fact: The property consists of two lots that have not even been subdivided; could a private property owner proceed with development under these circumstances?
As a practical matter, the town board is a legislative body, with limited time in the course of its official pursuits to conduct a deliberative planning process. Witness how well it did with the airport SEQRA process. Recall the hasty proposal for an aquaculture building on Gann Road. Perhaps Kathee Burke-Gonzalez remembers her prior oversight of the last senior center plans, which turned out to be too large for the site and were scrapped at a substantial cost in grant funds, and which triggered the town purchase of the new senior center site.
State environmental review is required to start as early in the process as possible. If the current plan is complete enough to discuss the shingles, it is complete enough for SEQRA review. The process should immediately be put into the hands of the planning board and the architectural review board. If the town board delays further, and the design is finished, SEQRA will be a cursory lookback and rubber-stamp of a decision already made.
This is a landmark project for East Hampton Town — we owe it to ourselves to get it right.
May 6, 2023
Three ugly problems we are confronting in East Hampton — and nationally — are similar. All are dangerous to users and to the public, generate needless harmful pollution (air, soil, water, noise), and are an assault on quality of life. These comparable plagues are gas-powered leaf blowers, our out-of-control airport, and the Maidstone Gun Club.
As we experience the ongoing deterioration of our community, it is wonderful to have an occasional respite. The town-enacted gas-powered leaf blower ban for May 20 to Sept. 20 is a fine start; it should be extended year round.
The town’s attempt at airport restrictions is also laudable. As soon as it can be done (some say right now), the airport should be closed once and for all.
The court-ordered closure of the gun club has provided peace and safety in measures not known for decades to the thousands of residents living within earshot and bullet range. In this case, however, the town is siding with the perpetrators and planning on renewing a long-term lease for a tenant that has sorely violated terms of the expiring one.
It is a spurious notion that the club is necessary for our police force when many officers live closer to the safe facility in Calverton than they do to Wainscott. They can easily go there once a year for license renewal. An outdoor rifle and pistol range in the vicinity of residential homes and public trails is anachronistic, dangerous, and unwelcome to the great majority of this community. We prefer birdsong.
Never Held Responsible
May 5, 2023
To the Editor:
In my part of Napeague, confusingly known as Montauk-on-Sea, the owner of a vacant lot at 22 Shore Road just had a hearing before the zoning board of appeals on its application for a natural resources special permit to strip thousands of square feet of dune vegetation. The overall plan is to construct a minimansion with swimming pool on the ocean side of Shore Road.
The applicant is a Delaware limited liability company, which turns out not to have registered to do business in New York State, though the human owner appears to be in the business of buying, renovating, and flipping houses here.
The New York L.L.C. form is specifically designed to make sure that the individual members will never be held responsible for any promise the corporation itself makes. Delaware adds additional levels of nonresponsibility and anonymity to those which New York provides. This L.L.C. appears to have been formed to hold a single asset, the property, and then the constructed home, at 22 Shore Road. This use of single-asset L.L.C.s to hold property — and to file applications to the zoning board — is extremely common these days.
There is a dire disconnect between this corporate form and the Z.B.A.’s duty to protect the people of East Hampton. The revegetation of a sand dune is a painstaking, complex, years-long process. If the Z.B.A. grants this permit to a faceless, almost nonexistent applicant, there may be no one on the hook to keep promises about revegetation (or anything else) under several common contingencies. The L.L.C. may sell the home to someone who is not legally bound to keep the promises it made. It may go out of business in several different ways, including insolvency, filing bankruptcy, or dissolving itself. Or if it simply stopped returning phone calls or emails from the town, there would be no one the zoning board could hold responsible.
Many Z.B.A. applicants these days are single-asset L.L.C.s (the L.L.C.’s name being the property address is a tell). There are methods the Z.B.A. could add to its tool kit to deal with this. A personal guarantee from the owner, who is not otherwise liable, could be required. The applicant could be directed, as a condition of the permit issuance, to post a bond to secure completion of revegetation. Barring these remedies, the Z.B.A. could deny these permits to single-asset L.L.C.s. The fact that someone has a legal right to form a corporation, which avoids any responsibility, does not translate into a legal duty on the Z.B.A.’s part to let that entity tear up a dune.
For democracy in East Hampton,
May 7, 2023
To the Editor,
Friday, I sent the Town of East Hampton several freedom of information requests. They’ll need to go in the archives to find some of the information, otherwise, it doesn’t exist. The importance: law followed or not, town code followed or not? They’ve already proved it wasn’t in several agendas recently. Pandora’s box is open.
May 7, 2023
Yes, we have to look harder for sources we trust than lefties do. The left totally dominates the information landscape. ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, U.S.A. Today, the colleges, the foundations, the list could go on and on, are all left-leaning or fully-woke whacko.
But this enormous gaggle of government goose-steppers has a problem. Whether out of laziness, blind fanaticism, or fear of the consequences of veering from the party line, not only do they all have the same point of view, the same analyses, the same methods, they also use exactly the same phrases. Even the same exact words.
They also share their greatest sin: They all ignore the same facts and stories. Here’s a brief list of things this heedless herd avoids: seven million illegals in Biden’s two years, not counting the got-aways; over 200,000 Americans, mostly young, dying from fentanyl overdoses — fentanyl supplied by China and brought over the open border by Mexican drug cartels; hundreds of acts of vandalism and arson against pro-life churches and facilities, with almost no arrests of the perps; dozens of F.B.I.-K.G.B.-style raids on the homes of parents who speak out at school board meetings; why the Hunter laptop was kept secret by the F.B.I., D.O.J., Barr, and Wray; no coverage of the contents of the laptop, especially the disgusting behavior of Hunter and the evidence of Joe’s corruption; the utter disaster of the Afghan fiasco and its aftermath, leaving hundreds of Americans stranded. This list could fill an entire edition of The Star. Perhaps it should.
David, we deplorables may have a narrow stack of sources to choose from, but you have a far worse problem: Your vast array of sources produces only a very slim silo of facts and truth.
Safe in Their Armor
May 2, 2023
As I write this letter on May 2, 2023, I am not astounded nor shocked to hear that the 190th mass shooting this year had occurred in a doctor’s office in Atlanta. The Democratic and Republican politicians speedily lined up to give on Fox News and CNN their “thoughts and prayers” for the victims and their families. With very few exceptions, and we all know the exceptions of those politicians and families who have suffered, most politicians and their families are immune to this violence. They live in crimeless condos and penthouses and most of their children attend private schools where they rarely have to worry about gun violence.
The “woke” liberal attitude toward gun violence seems to be that we should ban assault rifles like the AR-15 and tighten restrictions on gun ownership. I think the American public would be much safer and happier if we did just the opposite. I grew up in the 1950s loving Hopalong Cassidy and the Cisco Kid who wore gun belts for all villains to see. Bad people were afraid of them! I am suggesting that to eliminate mass shootings and gun violence, we should allow all American citizens from the age of 18 and older to openly carry the handgun of their choice in holsters on their belts, and an AR-15 or AK-47 on a sling over their backs. I would also encourage all people to wear body armor before going to school, grocery stores, shopping malls, hotels, and houses of worship. A variety of body armor is currently available online at prices to suit all budgets.
I believe that this would bring about a much-needed renaissance of civility in American contemporary culture in that any individual who attempts a mass shooting would be quickly terminated with extreme prejudice by armed civilians who are safe in their body armor. I am not sure if this novel approach would actually lower the homicide rate, but the State of Texas now has a law that allows people to carry a handgun in a holster, either concealed or openly, without a permit.
There is no need for the states or federal government to get involved in this Second Amendment issue. The amendment clearly states, “everyone gets a gun,” and I am sure that our nonpartisan Supreme Court that holds itself to the highest moral and ethical standards would support this constitutional interpretation.
May 7, 2023
As a proud member of the L.G.B.T. community, I was dismayed to read Bea Derrico’s letter about “transgenders” and their rights. Ms. Derrico asks how “gender nouns and transgender and abortion became the topic of everyday conversation?” Because of you, Ms. Derrico, and those of your ilk.
Transgender people and L.G.B.T.+ people simply want to exist. Yet, we live in a country which has put forth over 300 anti-trans and anti-L.G.B.T. laws in the year 2023 alone. We live in a country where people like you take time out of your day to write scathing and factually incorrect letters to local papers about issues that do not affect you.
Does someone wanting to be their preferred gender really impact your day? Your life? I get the feeling you don’t spend too much time with the L.G.B.T.+ community and so I am guessing it probably won’t.
Maybe gender nouns and transgender and abortion can stop being the topic of conversation when people like yourself stop talking about it. Might I suggest talking about the weather? The impending summer traffic? You sign your letters “In God and country,” so might I remind you this country you so love includes all of us.
In pride and country,
May 8, 2023
It’s always a good idea to C.Y.A., proceeding to let all know I’m entitled to my political opinion. And what do I reflect?
Mr. Pope, George Soros is a lowlife; he claims his dream is to destroy this country, question then: Why does he live here? He has spent millions, perhaps billions, to have elected officials that will carry out his demeanor, e.g.: empty the prisons and let all criminals roam free. You didn’t like my opinion of Jerry Nadler looking like a moron claiming, “There’s no crime in New York. . . . It’s proof Republicans were using crime as a pretext to bully Alvin Bragg.”
I also noticed, answering my question about voting for Jerry Nadler, you only mentioned you wouldn’t care if he was Jewish, Catholic, etc., only mentioning religion, failing to say any political party.
Your letter constantly mentions Hitler and antisemites many times. I don’t need to watch the Hitler tapes, as I saw plenty of news clips of the lunatic while in grammar school.
My opinion of Fox News is I don’t watch it, I used to watch CNN, but no longer watch it either. Your opinion of me, that I’m a person that loves Nazi scum, you couldn’t be any more wrong. I suggest you shouldn’t make remarks of any one person’s likes or dislikes.
I only care about the United States being restored to a patriotic country. I criticized Nadler, Soros, and Biden for their un-American attitudes. Alvin Bragg is a product of Soros, as are other district attorneys, and you believe this makes me antisemitic. You’re sadly mistaken.
I’m not a fan of Donald Trump, however he did accomplish many things that were good for the country. Can you say the same about Biden (as in good for the country)?
In God and country,
Needed an Issue
May 8, 2023
The problem of the debt limit fits neatly and nastily into the same package as Black Lives Matter and “transgender.” We know that not understanding the race issue is either meanspirited deviance or cretin-level ignorance. “Transgender” is a little more of the same. Both issues fall under the umbrella of attacking the least-defensible, most-vulnerable groups that will generate the most anger. Low-level political villainy.
Dennis Lehane’s recent novel, “Small Mercies,” explains how racism in Boston was so engrained that it appeared to be genetic. When a Black mother whose son has been killed by a group of white kids confronts one of the kids’ mother and says that she blames her for her son’s death, the white woman doesn’t get it for a long time. She’s never not detested Black people.
Transgender stuff just arrived when certain political groups needed an issue to generate hate and anger. People who are sexually nonexistent (less than two hours a month) are suddenly obsessed with transgender kids — except that the kid issue is a misdirection. Texas just passed a law making it virtually impossible to obtain trans-affirming care for anyone of any age. The obsession is a sickness. The politicians who push this issue are deviants.
So, the debt limit. True that we are building up huge debts. Yet, the debt limit-control politicians only have this problem during certain political cycles. When they are in power, their debt solution is to lower taxes for the wealthiest Americans, which doesn’t lower the debt. It’s less about the debt than where the money goes. Simply put, good debt makes rich people richer. Bad debt enriches everyone else.
President Biden, to my amazement and delight, has given several trillion to people in need. Blessing or sacrilege, choose your political group.
The obvious solution to the debt problem is to have wealthy people and corporate America pay up. Not only can they afford to pay up, but they actually owe the country for all their years of not paying up. There is a perverse political pleasure derived from beating people up that stimulates politicians that you would never allow to babysit for your children. They aren’t well!
But, behind every debt crisis, hidden deeply in the inner fabric of conservative politics, is the New Deal. President Roosevelt’s trip into a semi-welfare state — the belief that American workers and families should have a better life with better wages, vacations, health insurance, retirement benefits, housing, decent health care, better schooling, Social Security, Medicare, to name a few. (Ninety percent of Americans support the principles of the New Deal.)
The New Deal enraged a certain segment of the American people who vowed to destroy it. President Reagan began the process, but much of it still stands. Kevin McCarthy’s faux crisis is just more of the same.
We do have a debt issue that stretches beyond fair taxation. The level of incompetence and pure ignorance of our political class prevents any real solution. The fact they are meanspirited and often evil just adds to the problem. We need to keep in mind that Jan. 6 wasn’t really a picnic. Pathological liars. What they do best is lie.