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Letters to the Editor for July 6, 2023

Thu, 07/06/2023 - 09:44

All of Us
July 3, 2023

To the Editor:

 This morning, doing an errand in East Hampton, my husband and I saw a dead raccoon in the middle of the street. It had been hit by a car, and we stopped, picked it up, took it home, and buried it. It was a heartbreak.

Over the years, we have found and taken home many dead animals — birds, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, possums, and, yes, raccoons — and given them a final resting place, and it is always a heartbreak.

The East Hampton Group for Wildlife has put up bright-yellow signs around town, asking drivers to “Slow Down — Protect Wildlife.” I am writing to urge your readers to heed the signs, be prepared to stop if an animal suddenly darts out, and consider that what is callously dismissed as “road kill” were sentient creatures who were alive, like us, and who, I believe, had the right to live safely in their natural habitat.

May all of us have a good summer.




Unforgettable Event
East Hampton
June 29, 2023

Dear David,

We are writing to express our appreciation to several organizations that made our annual Eighth Grade Beach Bash at Main Beach an unforgettable event. Their support and dedication truly made a difference in creating a joyful and safe experience for our students.

Thank you to East Hampton Village Board and the staff at Main Beach, including the lifeguards and their supportive team. It was the perfect venue to celebrate our student body. The Beach Hut on Main’s staff were courteous and quick with their service. Every student enjoyed a great lunch and left with a smile.

We would also like to thank the East Hampton PTA for its unwavering support in organizing the Eighth Grade Beach Bash. Its dedication and hard work behind the scenes played a crucial role, making this a memorable event for our students. The Buddha Berry truck at the end of the day was the perfect end to a delightful celebration.

The Eighth Grade Beach Bash is not possible without the collective efforts and collaboration of all these organizations and the amazing staff we have here at the East Hampton Middle School. Special thanks also to M&R Deli, Hampton Chutney, Whalebone Apparel, the Montauket, Northbar Properties, and the Ditch Witch for their generosity toward this year’s graduating class. Thank you to all and have a healthy, happy and prosperous season.




East Hampton Middle School

Eighth grade advisers


It’s Inspirational
East Hampton
June 20, 2023

Dear David,

I love this week’s front-page photo showing the high school graduates looking hopefully toward their future lives. It’s striking and inspirational.

Please pass on my compliments to the photographer.

Best regards,



Best Solution
Sag Harbor
July 2, 2023

To the Editor:

The smoke from Canadian wildfires is just the latest warning that climate change is with us here and now. The question is what can we do about it.

Most economists agree that the best solution is carbon pricing. In carbon pricing, the government collects a fee from producers and importers of coal, oil, and natural gas in proportion to the carbon dioxide emitted when these fuels are burned. The money collected is then returned to the American people in equal shares.

The complaint I hear most often is that the government will just spend the fee money and not return it to the people. The answer: All parts of the plan need to be enacted together. The proceeds of the fee need to be in a separate lockbox, as is now done with Social Security. Once people come to expect the rebates, it will be difficult for any future Congress to remove them.

With carbon pricing, market forces will move our economy toward greater energy efficiency and carbon-free sources of energy while creating millions of jobs at all skill levels. The rebates will compensate us for the rise in energy prices that result from the fee.

Carbon pricing is the most efficient and effective solution to the global climate problem. You can learn more about it on the Citizens Climate Lobby’s website, If it makes as much sense to you as it does to me, please call our congressman Nick LaLota, 202-225-3826, and let him know.

For a better tomorrow,



Landlines, Lifelines
East Hampton
June 28, 2023

To the Editor,

There is a negative impact of Federal Communication Commission deregulation on East Hampton seniors. My mother relies on her landline to communicate in East Hampton. She has a cellphone but she has trouble using it and often misplaces it. She needs a phone that always works and that she’s comfortable using; it’s why she’s kept her landline, even as prices have gone up over the past 10 years.

That’s why I was skeptical when her landline provider “upgraded” her service to “digital home phone service” — a landline alternative that tied her phone to her internet, rather than old-fashioned copper wire. It brought her bill down significantly, but it came with a cost. The call quality is terrible, and since her internet is spotty, her phone often doesn’t work at all.

When we couldn’t get her old service back, I discovered that last August the F.C.C. deregulated the telecom industry and authorized phone companies to shut down traditional landlines nationwide and switch users to internet-based services.

Landlines are lifelines for 2.6 million senior citizens in New York. Having to rely on expensive landline alternatives that have poor call quality and stop working during power outages puts seniors like her at risk.

I understand that landlines may not be profitable for the phone company to provide anymore, but this is why our government exists — we regulate essential industries like telecommunications because not doing so leaves our most vulnerable people in the dust.

If the F.C.C. won’t look out for our seniors, the government should step up. I implore our local leaders in East Hampton to advocate for the most-vulnerable members of our community and fight to keep true landline phone service alive.




Getting So Bad
East Hampton
July 3, 2023

To the Editor,

I have been writing the Town of East Hampton and the East Hampton Highway Department in regards to Oakview Highway. That road is getting so bad with people speeding all day and night.

They need to put a stop sign between Oakview Highway and Middle Highway. Someone is going to get killed. Trying to get out of the drive is like taking your life in your hands.



16 and Counting
East Hampton
July 3, 2023

To the Editor,

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church’s July 1 fair sign on the western border of the village — taken down following the fair.

Ladies Village Improvement Society, 16 days later (and counting), their sign is still up.



Remains to Be Seen
June 30, 2023

To the Editor:

Gretta Leon, the Republican candidate for town supervisor, had another “big tent” letter in The Star’s June 15 issue. As I have mentioned before, this is an election year tradition for that party, which then “breaks bad” later in the campaign, using more traditional Trumpist rhetoric as the general election nears. The difference is that in recent years, the party chairman, Manny Vilar, played both “good cop” and “bad cop” roles himself, while it remains to be seen whether Gretta Leon will be accusing political opponents of being “radical extremists” in a few months’ time.

Ms. Leon’s letter is very deftly written: Some of the evocative and indeed rather loaded words she uses are “community,” “home,” “marvelous, unique,” “future generations,” “putting aside greed,” addressing community “needs,” “brilliant, talented, skillful” community members, “support,” “positive change,” and “create something lasting.” I have to say that as an ex-Democrat, Ms. Leon’s rhetoric was so appealing that I could feel a mild gravitational pull, for a moment, to cross over. Which is what the “big tent” letter is intended to accomplish: Get those independents to vote Republican!

But, Ms. Leon, you and I both know perfectly well: The day is over when there is room in the G.O.P. for Jacob Javits or Rockefeller-style “liberal” Republicans. I remember hearing a Republican say as long ago as the Newt Gingrich years that “a big tent is for clowns,” and that is definitely the tone of the Trump era. The local Republican Party exists neither in an alternate universe or reality bubble separate from the national party. If you want independents to vote for you, you need to let us know context: Does the “community” you envision include L.G.B. and trans people? What about workers from Latin countries employed in all our service industries? Do the women in your ideal “community” have access to the abortion pill or even to birth control to guard their ability to bring their “brilliant, talented, skillfulness” to other arenas than child care? Will I myself be regarded as a “marvelous, unique” community member or as a dangerous interloper to be excluded, if possible, from the conversation?

There is very little daylight to be seen between Mr. Vilar and Mr. Trump (I am hedging my bets here; I am really not sure there is any). What daylight is there between her and Mr. Vilar? I am guessing there can’t be much, because I seriously doubt she would have her party’s endorsement, were she truly a liberal Republican. If I am right about this, then her letter is really one more bait-and-switch tactic from her party, to pick up a few votes from people who don’t know the truth about her. Please, Ms. Leon, enlighten us.

For democracy in East Hampton,



Circle of Life
East Hampton
July 3, 2023

To the Editor:

I am Scott W. Smith, and I am running for the East Hampton Town Board this November.

I am a local business owner; my wife is a local architect, and my two children attend East Hampton High School. My son is an ocean lifeguard, and my daughter works at a local restaurant. I am also a member of the Maidstone Gun Club.

My father passed away many years ago, but two of the most memorable things we did together were fish and shoot. Together, we spent many happy hours on the beach looking for bass on their fall migration, watching the haul-seiners pull in their nets, and many weekends target and skeet shooting at the gun club.

These traditions — fishing, shooting, walking through the woods and on the beach — are the fabric of our lives in the country. The relationship we have with one another and our children are the building blocks for future generations. It is very much like the circle of life. When you take one thing away it is no longer a circle.

As a candidate for the East Hampton Town Board I don’t believe in taking anything; I firmly believe that a compromise can always be achieved. I respectfully ask the current town board not to interfere with the circle of life that so many of us in East Hampton enjoy. Please don’t close the Maidstone Gun Club — come up with a solution to save it for future generations. Solutions, not litigation. Thank you.




Tons of Lead
July 1, 2023

Dear David,

The avalanche of letters from gun range advocates filled the paper. Not one person could say that responsible gun owner-shooters could act or do anything recklessly. 

I would ask them: In the many years of existence how many tons of lead projectiles were buried in the soil at the range?

Decades of research reveal that the shooters themselves are exposed to lead dust contained even in the primers. Lead takes decades to degrade, and acid rain adds to the hazard as it leaches into the ground. Shotgun pellets in general are quite small and degrade much faster.

Yet not one single word is mentioned in all the letters that the range is in close proximity to the Suffolk County Water Authority well where our drinking water comes from, add in the lead from aviation gasoline at the airport. So much for their misplaced concern.

No, I am not anti-gun, and I am a licensed-carry permit holder.

More important, the Clean Water Act, enacted in 1972, is the law of the land.




Member of the Team
East Hampton
July 3, 2023

Dear Editor,

My son and I have been members of the Maidstone Gun Club since 2009. At age 12, my son began hunting and started his shotgun sporting clays career, which enabled him to obtain a scholarship to and graduate from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo.

Without joining the Maidstone Gun Club, he would have never known about college shotgun sporting clays teams and the possibility of receiving a scholarship for the sport. After graduating from East Hampton High School, he enrolled in Lindenwood and received a scholarship for sporting clays for each of his four years at college. He was a member of the team which was ranked as the number-one collegiate team in the United States and it held the championship for 15 consecutive years. Trap and skeet shooting are Olympic events. One of his teammates did go to the Olympics and took third place in her event. With the team, my son traveled throughout the Midwest and developed friendships from all parts of the U.S. that will last him a lifetime. Without joining the gun club, I can honestly state that this life-changing experience would have never happened, yet alone that he graduated college.

The members and club were a tremendous help to my son along the way. They encouraged him and taught him gun safety and the rules and regulations of the various disciplines of the sport. And now at times he teaches them. They loaned him equipment for his competitions, gave him shells for practice and competitions. They would and still do take him to different competitions in the Northeast. It is true that it takes a community to raise a child. We are proud to be a part of that community.

The National Sporting Clays Association, which my son and many members of the club belong to, holds numerous competitions throughout the United States. There were 800 shooters at the collegiate national championship held in San Antonio and approximately 300,000 targets shot. At the N.S.C.A. national championship there are 2,000 shooters, and the average competitor shot 500 targets. If this is such a dangerous sport with 2,000 shooters in one place at one time, don’t you think we would have heard about mishaps or fatalities during these competitions? We haven’t and that is because, to my knowledge, there haven’t been any.

There is a New York State high school shotgun trap league open to all students and schools. This is something the club has supported and wanted if the schools would only consider the idea. Everyone shoots; no one sits on the bench. All shooting takes place at the school’s local gun club, which then records the scores with the league. There is no traveling or late nights, all sexes, colors, creeds are welcome. This is strictly a shotgun sport team, no handguns, rifles, or assault weapons. I myself do not own any assault weapons.

As far as the house that potentially got struck by a stray bullet shot from the rifle range is concerned, the board of directors did the right thing by closing the rifle range immediately when it was brought to their attention. That is what any good neighbor would do. But why close the entire range? Shotguns don’t shoot bullets, only shot, which has a limited range and generally does not travel outside the perimeter of the fields.

Why is the club not allowed to have a ballistic expert study the rifle range and see if it is even possible that a bullet can leave the club property from the rifle range potentially through the woods and hit a house approximately one mile away? In my opinion, I think, maybe someone knows that the shot didn’t come from the club and is worried it will be discovered that it’s not possible for an errant bullet to hit the house. And, maybe this is just being used as an excuse to close the club.

As far as lead in the groundwater is concerned, from what I have heard there is no problem, according to the testing. Does one honestly think that the Suffolk County Water Authority would put a well field right next to the gun club if it were going to be a problem?

Remember, it’s Bonac against the world.

Thank you,



Safest Local Venue
June 26, 2023

Dear Editor,

When allowed, the Maidstone Gun Club provides the safest local venue for sport shooting. When allowed, the Maidstone Gun Club affords protected space for training, competition, and all-around enjoyment.

Currently, the club is saddled with an open-ended restraining order. The club and counsel would like to present rebuttal arguments. However, it is my understanding that the judge will not allow for any commentary except that of the activist attorney.

As was mentioned in previous letters to the editor, science and the facts will show the projectile in question did not originate at Maidstone Gun Club.

It is time to set aside the emotion of a restraining order and allow for an environment for safe, legal sporting activities.




‘Be Left Open’
July 1 2023

To the Editor:

July 8, 2021, the town consulting engineer, in a written determination, stated that Bay View Avenue, in the middle of the road width, like a tax map, would read: Bay View Avenue “right-of-way is 30 feet.” The last line is even better: “be left open for public access to the beach.” That is correct, though he should have been informed it was blocked in 2018 by a noncompliant, non-American With Disabilities Act-compliant, illegal structure, not on someone’s property, denying us all access to a beach that has been destroyed because of what’s been done.

Now, come Monday morning, we residents expect the town to be here and finally enforce town code Section 232 penalties and violations and town code 141-14, especially 255-4-29 letter F, which is the removal of this illegal structure.

Still here,



Just Wondering
July 1, 2023

Dear David,

I was just wondering that the recent Supreme Court ruling concerning a cake-maker’s refusal to bake a cake for a married couple in Colorado would allow me to open a bake shop in Montauk with the following disclaimer that I will refuse to bake a cake for the following groups:

Blacks, all people of color, Jews, lapsed Catholics, all Protestants except Presbyterians, Shinnecock tribal members, Republicans, gays, transgenders, Maidstone Gun Club closer liars, snotty East Hampton Village residents, illegal immigrants, legal immigrants, surfer dudes, stoner dudes, Rastafarians, people who drive luxury cars, people who do not like Monty Python, people with fake British accents who did not win honors at Oxford or Cambridge, narcissistic twits who suck on lemons, and white heterosexuals.

All of the above have offended my religious sensibilities and consciousness in one way or another, and I have a First Amendment right to refuse service. On the other hand, proof of Irish ancestry and regular mass attendance will entitle all to a 15 percent discount on all baked goods.




June 29, 2023

To the Editor:

Bravo, Carol Dray (June 29 letter)!



SCOTUS on the Take
North Haven
July 3, 2023

Dear David:

Clarence Thomas had a very difficult childhood, facing many challenges throughout his education and early career. The man is of African descent; his family was split up, and he was a dirt-poor child speaking only Gullah as his principal language. It’s no wonder why he shows some anger to this day.

On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote letters to his wife, Abigail, reporting that one day earlier, the Continental Congress had voted to declare American independence from the British Empire. On June 21, 1788, the Constitution was ratified.

One hundred eighty-eight years later, in 1964, the Civil Rights Act was signed by Lyndon Johnson, extending the blessings and benefits of citizenship to all. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

How can we not understand the many challenges he faced — and eventually surmounted? Justice Thomas proved to himself, and others, that he was brilliant and hard-working. He still had difficulty achieving academic and career success during the time of widespread racism. Although he showed excellent accomplishment, it is quite likely a few recent equal opportunity advantages that helped him offset some of the racist barriers faced in his adult life.

What I can’t understand is how Clarence seems to have restyled his early poverty and racist challenges as just being motivational opportunities that he, as a brilliant and qualified guy, could surmount with a dedicated work ethic.

His success in academics and politics seems to have clouded his thinking, allowing him to forget the benefits that reasonable equal opportunity policies helped him to cross those barriers. He doesn’t seem to believe now that other people deserve equal opportunities, even if equally or slightly less talented, lucky, or motivated than he was.

Clarence allowed himself to be charmed by certain people in power. Ronald Reagan, who had transitioned from a B-level movie actor, and a former General Electric refrigerator spokesperson, to California governor, and then to POTUS, appointed Thomas as assistant secretary of education for the Office for Civil Rights. Serious political advancement was underway, and so was his association with the opponents of equal opportunity policies. Strange bedfellows!

It seems that once gaining access to a club of elites, it became his time to limit the membership to others. Over subsequent years, Clarence polished his right-wing ideas in cozy relationships with many super-rich super-conservatives. It’s no accident he took advantage of the valuable perks available from such manipulative people. Is it possible that this often-angry man figured he was due a form of “payback” for all his troubles?

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was revered by right-wing zealots for his strong “originalist” philosophy. Now Clarence Thomas considers himself to be its strongest proponent. Have SCOTUS originalists learned nothing since 1776?

I’m just wondering why Thomas is now so sleazy and such an enemy of almost every progressive idea that comes before him. I’m also noticing other SCOTUS members on the take with apparent impunity — not to mention the other guy who allegedly seems to have worked out his beer and sex issues on coed students, etc.

What has happened to the ethics of the highest court in the country? Is there never to be reasonable regulation, oversight, or meaningful enforcement? Or is it now just a political tool for anyone well-connected to win for life — if they have enough chutzpah? Here is the most dangerous weakness in our democracy.



Law of the Land
East Hampton
July 2, 2023


When the six conservative justices voted to terminate affirmative action they put out the theory that getting rid of it would be beneficial to everyone because it would end other forms of discrimination, i.e., legacy policies. Now colleges could be more creative in their desires to be more inclusive and diverse — a piece of fallacious tripe aimed at the most simple-minded and brain-dead parts of the population. A simple racist apology analogous to the argument to permit asbestos because we’ve developed drugs that can cure the diseases caused by its use. Or starving people to death to eradicate obesity.

The justices recognize that that racism is a major problem in our society but that government intervention doesn’t provide a solution. Their solution is innovation by the private sector to expand diversity and inclusiveness despite the near-total lack of supportive evidence — delusional racism.

The counterarguments are less phantasmagorical. First, inclusiveness and equality, as written in the Constitution, are in conflict with our brand of Christian capitalism where most of the nation’s wealth is in the hands of white, male Christians. Sharing that wealth with women and minority males would put at risk about 70 percent of their wealth. Not ever going to happen on their watch.

Second, none of the six justices has ever advocated for civil rights, voting rights, or women’s rights. In truth, the Constitution is a burden on their vision of Christian capitalism, a conundrum when the Constitution’s protectors genuinely detest what it represents.

Third, affirmative action came about as a minuscule palliative for 350 years of racism and discrimination toward Black and brown people. Beating the crap out of people as normal and institutional and then throwing them a bone, obviously too big a bone for the justices.

Fourth, legacy enrollment is family endowment. Money, money, and keeping the money flowing. This golden goose will never get cooked.

Fifth, the government has always supported racism and discrimination as part of our system until it passed legislation to the contrary. See the civil rights and voting rights legislations. When the voting rights bill, requiring numerous states to adhere to the Constitution, was eviscerated by SCOTUS, those states immediately reverted to their discriminatory policies. (Renewing the Voting Rights Act was passed unanimously by the Senate, which had no influence on the court.) The courts’ reasoning was clearly drug-induced delusion.

Our system has never been fair or equitable. That’s who we are. Is white, male Christian piggery the law of the land? A ridiculously stupid question; it’s what we have always and continue to be. There are no arguments no disclaimers no excuses. We’ve made progress. How could we not?

So, how do six highly educated (at our most elite schools) justices not understand the state of our nation, not be aware that there is a Constitution that guarantees a broad range of rights to all of our citizens (whether it is right or wrong) that they have sworn to uphold and defend? Clearly their fidelity is elsewhere. In truth, it’s all about wealth. Always about wealth. Who has it. Who can get it. How do we maintain the status quo.

One might call it hypocrisy if it still were part of our vocabulary. Make up any shit and throw it against the wall; if it sticks it’s true.

Is democracy without equality not fascism? Is Christianity without Jesus any different? Follow the money.


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