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Letters to the Editor for June 15, 2023

Wed, 06/14/2023 - 17:32

Without a Hitch
June 12, 2023

To the Editor,

A parade of thanks to Mayor Jerry Larsen, Chief Mike Tracey, Sgt. Eben Ball, and the many magnificent members of the East Hampton Village police, who so expertly directed the street and park logistics of the second-annual Hamptons Pride Parade last Saturday. They made sure this new and increasingly important community event went off without a hitch, absorbing even more marchers and event attendees with ease. Again we were successful beyond our hopes — and it truly took a village, East Hampton Village, to lead the way, warmly embracing their L.G.B.T.Q.+ people and their allies. One day, we hope that will mean everyone, and we’re well on our way — that circle of support clearly grew this year.

We’re so happy to know the parade will stay in East Hampton Village, annually on the first Saturday of June, and it will remain free, a service from our local, all-volunteer nonprofit Hamptons Pride. No required registration fee for anyone. We want as many people to join in as possible, with no financial restraints. All that is required to march is a simple registration at, and we’ll open that up at the beginning of the year.

So, gather your friends and families and rainbows and mark your calendars for June 1, 2024. We’ll start Pride Month off with the third-annual and look forward to even more people, groups, and businesses joining the many schools, faith groups, community groups, and arts organizations already participating.

The Hamptons Pride Parade is serious fun, in every sense of that phrase. Pride not only enriches lives; it saves lives. Please find one struggling person this year and give them the support they need to march proudly with us next June. And let’s keep doubling the joy.



Hamptons Pride


Wrong Way
June 15, 2023

To the Editor,

I warned you, Town of East Hampton, Village of East Hampton. On Sunday, I turned from Main Street onto Newtown Lane, cars in front of me, cars behind me. All of a sudden an e-bike was in my lane, going the wrong way (toward Main Street). It was zooming past me and all the other drivers, it was in between the moving cars and the parked cars, it was going the wrong way. Please, reader, picture this! So dangerous.

How are the police going to control this? No signs, no rules, no license, no registration, no insurance, no ID needed.



Slightly Over the Lines
East Hampton
June 11, 2023

To the Editor,

After seeing a film in the Sag Harbor Cinema last night, I found a ticket for $75 on my car. Apparently I was slightly over the parallel lines and the reason was that the cars on either side of me had parked slightly off the lines. Of course, this situation would cause no one danger, so I was baffled by the ticket.

The more I thought about it, the sadder I got. I have lived in the Hamptons for 30 years, and this was a first. I believe in supporting our towns and am a member of Bay Street Theater, the Sag Harbor Cinema, and The Church, and I eat in many of the restaurants all year round. I am also an active participant in events and classes in East Hampton, Sag Harbor, and Amagansett.

As you are well aware, Sag Harbor is a nightmare to park in during the summer months. Last year, I could not park at all and missed one of the shows at Bay Street that I was looking forward to seeing.

In short, I believe that the $75 ticket is punitive and egregious. I totally get that the towns rely on this type of income, but in Sag Harbor it is pure luck if you can park. I do not believe that it is fair for the village to fine someone in a situation that is a nightmare to begin with. I pay my taxes. I follow the rules. And I support my community. This meanspirited stuff makes me want to cry.

Please stop punishing the people who live here and support the towns. It is one thing if the person has caused a dangerous situation. It is another thing to fine someone just to collect and penalize.




Learn to Be a Jerk!
June 12, 2023

Dear David,

Announcing the opening of a new venture, SODS: Springs Offensive Driving School! Finally, a comprehensive course in driving like a summer visitor, seasonal renter, or East Hampton homeowners’ or temporary rental service guests who regularly live elsewhere, and though duly licensed, rarely drive in our town except in the summer! Isn’t it about time?

SODS is also designed for local residents who need to get up to “speed” on being truly aggressive and annoying behind the wheel and need training in insulting, assaulting, or confronting other drivers who have or have not made season-long reservations at popular, trendy, or local restaurants, and are consequently frustrated they can’t eat anywhere but home until well past Labor Day. (Only true for those who choose not to have dinner by 10 a.m. on Wednesday at anyplace else but the gas station on North Main, and thank heavens for them!)

You, too, can learn to be and act like a self-absorbed, entitled jerk! Fun and easy lessons available in being callous, impatient, and rude behind the wheel. Learn to be inappropriate! Skills developed in intimidation, berating, and confrontations with others on our roads, beaches, highways, and byways.

SODS curricula have been developed with an eye on the Ultimate Fighting Championship world, including bilingual instruction with a nod to Lucha Libre to ensure you are equipped to be rude in at least two languages.

Course modules include, but are not limited to:

• Inappropriately slow driving while looking for your destination, checking email, etc., and techniques to avoid a hands-free law violation. Passing drivers appropriately slowing for an amber or red light on either the right or left while furiously honking. (Extra credit available for skill demonstrations with a dog on your lap while screaming and cursing at the slower driver ahead of you obeying the signal.)

• Attempting to back into the “Compact Car Only” lanes in the Reutershan lot in a battleship-size sport-utility vehicle while discussing the angst of running out of moisturizer while being late for a mani-pedi and dealing with too many color choices. (Open to males, females, metrosexuals of any and all persuasions driving rented, leased, owned, or stored Italian, German, or British show cars, vintage or otherwise.)

You, too, can learn about not yielding to pedestrians ever — or other drivers, particularly those evidently in the working classes. Skills will also come in handy to learn to casually offend servers you made cry gratuitously by advising them to “toughen up,” while being berated after your embarrassingly loud and adamant behavior. Road skills (road kills?) are life skills in the Hamptons!

• Proper use of turn and hazard signals to keep other drivers on their toes by signaling left and turning right — really, can’t a person change one’s mind out here? (Anyone can forget the rosé and suddenly have to go the other way!)

• Become adept at various hand gestures and facial expressions to express your self-entitled rage grotesquely without having to open your window and stress out the dog(s), the kid(s), the nanny, the friends, or even the domestic help, who will suffer actual unpurified humidity until you close the window and the air-conditioner catches up.

• Learn the essential secrets of watching TikTok videos hands-free while driving, best mounts, etc.

Available electives include politely but authoritatively asking traffic control officers, “Why can’t I park here? What yellow lines are you talking about? What about my permit? Why do you sell them if there’s no spots? etc.” and the quintessential, “Do you know who I am?”

Sign up now! Black cards only accepted if you haven’t filled your gas tank recently, and gone over the limit.

Future courses in development include “Caring for Injured E-bikers and Cyclists,” and “Helmets? Phooey!” also known as “What was that noise?” And, of course, “Mufflers! Nonsense! No need until state inspection is required.”

We pride ourselves at SODS in being open to suggestions from all.

Enthusiastically (and too cheap to take out a full-page ad like some others who whine constantly),



Distinct Jurisdictions
Sag Harbor
June 11, 2023

To the Editor:

There are a number of things I didn’t understand after reading the article written by Christopher Gangemi about the race for Sag Harbor justice in The Star of June 8.

First, although there seems to be no statutory prohibition against holding two elected town and/or village justice positions (one currently held by Justice Steve Tekulsky in East Hampton and the other in Sag Harbor Village to be decided in a contested election between Justice Tekulsky and Carl Irace, a Sag Harbor attorney, on Tuesday), it strikes me that it is not a particularly good idea to have the same individual presiding in two distinct jurisdictions, which is what would happen if Justice Tekulsky wins the race in Sag Harbor. Two other reasons why it might not be such a good idea are the possibility of conflicts and the necessity for recusal and the effects of incapacity or illness of such a singular judge on the operations of two courts.

How is a voter to know which candidate deserves their vote? In Mr. Gangemi’s piece Justice Tekulsky is quoted as saying: “This race is easier because I’m a candidate with 10 years of judicial experience, against a candidate with zero years of judicial experience. This is an election about judicial experience.” If that is all this is about, case closed. But it’s not. Questions need to be asked about how Justice Tekulsky has conducted his court over these past years, his temperament, demeanor, the way he deals with pro se litigants and other factors. Has any independent screening committee looked into these factors? Has Mr. Irace’s background as a lawyer been subject to such an independent screening process?

If Justice Tekulsky prevails in the Sag Harbor race, will he fold his law practice? The position of town or village justice is envisioned as a part-time position, one where the occupant, if a lawyer, may still maintain a law practice. If Justice Tekulsky wins the Sag Harbor seat he will no longer be part time. Will he give up his law practice even as he alludes to the fact that his practice is largely “transactional” and wouldn’t presumably produce conflicts in his role as a judge? Full-time judges can’t practice law no matter how they describe their law practice.

The role of town or village justice is vital to our community. The judge is the people’s judge. It is vitally important that the person selected be chosen to run after some due diligence has been practiced by community groups and the newspapers that cover the operation of the courts in both villages. It is not enough that a candidate has been plucked to run by the next mayor of Sag Harbor. So, who should prevail: Mr. Tekulsky or Mr. Irace?

While Mr. Tekulsky certainly has years of prior judicial experience over Mr. Irace, we know nothing about how he has conducted his court during that time period. I am aware of some disquieting anecdotal information indicating some problems, but not much more. And I am aware that once a judge decides a case, there is a winner and a loser, and quite often the loser has nothing good to say about the judge. That is just a fact of life and it may explain the anecdotal information I alluded to. Also, I don’t think it’s a good idea for the same judge to occupy two distinct pulpits. It produces a kind of judicial homogenization, especially unnecessary when there are so many capable and motivated attorneys in the community.

Finally, I think the position of town or village justice should be occupied by a local, because so many of the issues involve the community where such a person resides.

All that being said, I think Carl Irace deserves the nod.



Empathy, Fairness
Sag Harbor
June 12, 2023

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I write today to ask your readers who vote in Sag Harbor Village to vote for me for Sag Harbor Village justice. You don’t have to be a lawyer to know what makes a good judge; it’s things like empathy, balanced temperament, fairness, and inclusivity. I promise I will bring those values with me to the bench, if elected.

Village voters, can you please give me your vote on village Election Day, Tuesday?

Yours very truly,



For Village Justice
East Hampton
June 11, 2023

Dear David,

Those who live in Sag Harbor Village will have the opportunity on Tuesday to vote for Carl Irace for village justice. I know Carl personally and am familiar with the heart that he puts into his clients’ cases. Carl is a principled man with the tenacity to dig for the truth. When you have his attention, you have 100 percent of him. When you need a lawyer, you have, in him, a trusted winner. You will have a man with empathy, curiosity, and the energy to investigate. He has proven himself to be a compassionate, proper leader.

Carl Irace, on the justice bench in Sag Harbor, will enable a Sag Harbor Village resident to serve his people, while his opponent will continue to serve his people in East Hampton Justice Court.




A Different Approach
East Hampton
June 15, 2023

Dear David,

I am writing to you and the audience so that you can all become familiar with my thoughts and what makes me want to run for town supervisor. This campaign to me is not about politics. It is not about two political factions. It is about a place we call home, a place that many of us genuinely love, and would love to have our future generations be able to live here year round to watch them grow up in such a marvelous, unique place.

Our community desperately needs leadership that adds mindfulness to the decisions that are being made. Questions such as these need to be asked when determining government actions: Is this needed? Is it necessary? Should we take a step back? What is this for? Where is this going? What will this bring? What will this do?

The current leaders don’t seem to be asking these questions and they certainly don’t seem to be listening to the people’s voices to meet their needs. The solution could be doing something that hasn’t been done before and taking a different approach, like putting aside greed and asking what this truly brings to set forth the needs of our community.

Time for you to stop turning your back on the people who need you. Many, if not all, of these people, are brilliant, talented, skillful individuals that this community has shaped over the years and continues to do so, but what support are you giving back?

The system needs to be improved. You have failed in your efforts to help people stay here because living in East Hampton is unaffordable and forcing many to leave.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The opportunity exists to create positive change for those raised here to stay and those seeking to live here to do so if they desire. It is not bene?cial to any community for members of it to leave because the cost of living pushes them out. It is time to bring change and create something lasting for the generations that have worked so hard to keep future generations going. It is time to make their efforts worthwhile.

I am here to serve and to right the ship so that East Hampton can have a vibrant future.


Ms. Leon is the Republican Party candidate for East Hampton Town supervisor. Ed.


1,800 Days
June 11, 2023

To the Editor,

Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, for a second time in under a year, spit into the wind. Nothing new for the K.B.G., in a resolution on June 6 that retained Brian Lester as special prosecutor, the same Brian Lester of Tarbet and Lester, who, I guess, needed the campaign contribution? Jon Tarbet already stated at a zoning board meeting on June 4, 2019: “We’re going to sue and we’re going to win” — cool statement.

They should look at the litigation the next block over from Bay View Avenue. Wednesday marked 1,800 days of an obstruction remaining, unwanted, and falling apart. You’d think Town Code 141-14 would also apply: “Removal of Dangerous Buildings and Structures.” Also, it seems hard that you’d sue the town while your firm is named and your partner getting paid by the town for consecutive years.

Nonetheless, the strawberry season is here. It’s been said strawberries dried in the oven taste just like candy. Potentially even better than Twizzlers. Three hours at 210 degrees, a delicious snack idea as our local theater unfolds.

Still here,



Important Revote
June 9, 2023

To the Editor:

I am writing to explain the importance of the revote of the Wainscott 2023-24 school budget on Tuesday from 2 to p.m. in the new schoolhouse located at 47 Main Street. The revised proposed budget and related information are posted on the district’s website and are contained in a mailing sent to all taxpayers earlier this week.

The board of trustees has prepared a revised proposed budget for 2023-24 of $6,144,331, which represents a $17,000 decrease in the proposed 2023-24 budget that failed to receive the required 60 percent voter approval by a mere three votes last month. The reduction reflects our elimination of the new equipment line from the originally proposed budget. The revised proposed spending plan represents a $2,016,763 increase over our current budget and is equal to the amount of the contingency budget for the 2023-24 school year.

The tax levy needed to fund the revised proposed budget will pierce the district’s allowable tax levy cap. Therefore, a 60 percent voter majority approval is needed to support our revised proposed 2023-24 budget.

We assure you these unprecedented increases are not discretionary expenditures. They are, primarily, ordinary contingent expenses that we are mandated and legally required to spend to educate the number of students currently residing in our district, which has neared an all-time high. While the student population has remained stable over the last five years (at present 28 students, or 116 percent of capacity), the number of tuition students (pre-K and grades 4-12) is at an all-time high of 92 students, including this year’s unprecedented 20 new tuition students.

We are grateful that our voters approved the proposal in last month’s budget vote to fund the approximately $1 million shortfall in the current budget to pay for the new tuition students in grades 4-12 who moved into our district beginning in September. Please note that $699,071 of the proposed increase in the revised proposed 2023-24 budget will fund increased tuition costs for existing (including the 20 students who arrived this year) and contingent pre-K and grade 4 through 12 students. The remainder of the proposed increase represents an $863,655 increase in special education costs (including three mandated out-of-district placements totaling $540,000 for tuition, transportation, and additional services); $180,000 in fees and costs for the district’s first issuance of tax anticipation notes which will provide the necessary cash flow to fund our larger budget; and $304,037, principally for contractual increases such as salaries, employee benefits, and busing contracts.

The trustees respectfully request that our taxpayers consider the following two additional points when casting your vote for the revised proposed 2023-24 budget. If the revised proposed budget fails to receive the requisite 60 percent supermajority vote, there is no guarantee that the district will be able to fund its operations in the 2023-24 budget year.

Typically, under controlling law, a district is required to implement its legally mandated contingency budget if its proposed budget is voted down twice and to operate under the same tax levy as the prior year. Since Wainscott does not receive any substantial amount of state aid, a rejection of the revised proposed budget would mean that the district would be forced to fund its 2023-24 budget with the same amount as our 2022-23 tax levy of $3,394,568. That amount equates to 52 percent of the amount needed to fund the 2023-24 operating budget and would result in the district not being able to meet its financial and moral obligations to educate our current students.

If the revised proposed budget fails, the only avenue open to the district would be to seek special legislative relief from New York State that would permit it to raise the funds through an increased tax levy needed to prevent the district from engaging in unlawful deficit spending. Although the district has discussed this possibility with our state legislators, there is no guarantee that such legislation will be passed in time.

In short, the revised proposed 2023-24 budget needs to be passed by at least a 60 percent majority or the district will face an unprecedented and highly disruptive financial crisis with an uncertain resolution. Second, based upon feedback we received from many voters in last month’s budget vote and election, many voters are concerned about the impact of the town’s proposed Route 114 community housing project on the district’s existing facilities, educational programming, and finances. Importantly, as we stated previously, none of the numbers or dollar amounts in the proposed revised budget reflect the impact of the proposed Route 114 community housing project. The town expects the housing project to be completed during its 2025-26 budget year. Therefore, please know that your vote on the revised proposed 2023-24 budget will not have a direct impact on those issues that the trustees are still discussing with the town board.

Voting by absentee ballot is permitted. Absentee ballot applications must be received by the district clerk at the new schoolhouse no later Monday by personal delivery. Please consult our school’s website for further details.

As always, I thank our taxpayers for their continued support and understanding. It has never been so much more needed than at this critical juncture in the Wainscott School’s long and impactful history.




Wainscott Common School District Board of Trustees 


The Operating Unit
East Hampton
June 15, 2023


The article in The New York Times this Sunday on affirmative action by Ronald Kennedy almost makes the case for affirmative action. “The truth is, many Americans don’t want Black people to get ahead,” he writes in a smartly crafted piece on our nation’s racial history. What’s missing, of course, is the essence of what America is and has always been about.

If we take slavery, racism, and the Constitution as separate pieces, it simplifies the problem. The Constitution puts all Americans in the same bag. We either are or aren’t created equal. If we aren’t, so be it. Tough noogies if you aren’t white.

The three pieces of the system in the United States — government, church, and economy — have always been tied together, allied in their vision and efforts to maintain a coherent, controllable machine that provides wealth and protection for those who merit them. Democracy, capitalism, and Christianity are the operating unit that directs and assures the nation’s stability. While all three are deeply flawed, structurally they represent a huge majority of the wealth and power. They exist because they are, not because of how they perform.

Our Democratic experience has certainly been special. However, parts of the experiment have included violence, racism, imperialism, etc. Institutionally and on a deep personal level, we have always been racist, not because we have issues with people of color, but because the system requires a needier class of people to sustain and uplift the self-esteem of the rest of us — someone to beat on and feel superior to. Capitalism is based on free markets, yet every participant does what it can to control and manipulate the markets.

Slavery was pretty sweet; like a typical cokehead, we prolonged the process until we had to give in, then we searched the world for cheap labor in South and Central America and Asia. We were so addicted to cheap, controllable labor that we sacrificed our working class for an extra point on the profitability spread sheet.

Christianity is the last step before putting people in prison. If the church can’t maintain control of its flock, we have the largest prison system in the world as an expensive backup. The connection of Christianity (minus Jesus) to capitalism is the perfect match: Keep the masses working and keep their wages as low as possible, support the wars, the genocides, and all the laws that prevent equality. Chris Christie crows, “I’m a Catholic, I believe in redemption.” Translation: Never give a sucker an even break.

So, we have always treated people of color badly; it’s part of what we do, who we are. There is no idiotic fantasy of how great and nearly perfect we are. Before we can deal with the race issue, we need to recognize who we are. Otherwise, we will “prayers and thoughts” for another 250 years. White working class people are always discriminated against — misrepresented, misinformed, discarded. The system does to them what it does to people of color (See Ronald Reagan, 1980 to 1988). Obviously, a coalition of poor and working class of all colors and races is the solution (see OxyContin as the palliative). Yet, white workers never experienced the Tulsa Massacre of 1921 and don’t fully grasp the weight of color. So, capitalism manipulates the markets.

Our government manipulates the rules to advantage the wealthy. Our churches manipulate their flocks to subservience and support of the system that beats them up. Affirmative action is total crap, a tiny gesture at redemption, a drop in the bucket in the overall racist scheme, an incredibly lame try to not be subhuman. But even affirmative action is opposed and shredded. Reverse racism, now that’s an idea. Affirmative action is like breaking someone’s legs and giving them one crutch. It is disingenuous, barely effective, and way too little, too late. It serves as a palliative for working class white people to hate people of color a little bit more.


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