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Letters to the Editor for August 17, 2023

Wed, 08/16/2023 - 17:29

Their True Greatness
East Hampton
August 14, 2023

Dear Editor,

I write in support of our magnificent United States Women’s Soccer Team. To me, their recent heartbreaking loss underlines their true greatness. We expect this team, which has won the last two World Cups, as well as an Olympic gold, to not lose. But the greats have always taken devastating losses.

It wasn’t long ago that Roger Federer had match point at Wimbledon — and lost. Yankee fans well remember 2001 when Mariano Rivera, our hero, took the mound in the ninth inning of game seven with the lead and lost, Y.A. Tittle, on his knees with blood streaming down his face in a loss in the 1963 title game against the Bears. But there was no vitriol poured on them after the losses. True fans felt empathy. They became more lovable.

And yet many, after proudly admitting that they rooted against the U.S. team, have condemned them for their many sins. And it is true: They have fought for equal pay — and won. They have protested against racial injustice. One has said she was gay. And yet, to my knowledge, they have not attempted to overthrow elections.

I do hope the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team wins an Olympic medal or a World Cup for the first time. And when they do, it will be on the shoulders of giants.



Authors Night
East Hampton Village
August 14, 2023

Dear David,

Hurrah for East Hampton Library’s 19th annual Authors Night! The event provided our community an opportunity to meet and greet a vast array of authors under the event’s tent in Herrick Park. Library staff and volunteers were accessible.

Under the tent, there was a sense of energy generated from the rows of tables filled with books and attentive authors. Most wonderful were the crowds of eager customers, avid readers, and their full shopping bags benefiting the library.

A vital East Hampton community resource, you and your family can visit the library year round.



Festival of Music
August 13, 2023

Dear Mr. Rattray,

I am writing to acknowledge your coverage last week and your readers’ wonderful response to the second season of the Hamptons Festival of Music. We started our summer with a free concert in Herrick Park last Monday and look ahead to a concert at LongHouse on Saturday. Our full, 40-piece orchestra will be giving three concerts in September at LTV Studios on Sept. 3, 8, and 10.

The musicians of the New American Sinfonietta are some of the nation’s premier orchestral players, and the orchestra is on par with the great orchestras of America. Many have performed with our maestro, Michael Palmer, for over 30 years. Your readers can find out about our events and our musicians on our website:

The unique solution we have found to put on orchestral-size musical events in East Hampton has been arranging homestays for our musicians in the local community and with music lovers. This provides not only an economic solution to housing our artists in the season here, but it also helps integrate our musical goals within our community. Homestay donors receive tickets to the events and can claim a tax-deductible in-kind contribution.

If your readers would like to participate by offering homestays for our artists, they can find the link on our website or contact me at: [email protected].




A Crucial Part
East Hampton Village
August 8, 2023

To the Editor,

For many years, Jeanne Frankl paid a call on me at home to get my signatures to place certain Democrats onto the ballots. (I may have that somewhat wrong, but the yearly house calls were very welcome, and we would talk at more length than she actually had time for.) When that duty passed to another, I missed those visits and remember visiting her at home on Old Montauk Highway but eventually fell out of touch. Seeing the fine photo of her in The Star brought it all back. She was a crucial part of the East Hampton in which I chose to settle down. To me she represented the very best aspects of the East Hampton community, and memory of her underlines the many changes the town has undergone since then, so many of which cannot be celebrated.



So Much Light
East Hampton Village
August 14, 2023

To the Editor,

The Perseid meteor shower graced the East End this past weekend. My husband and I were among the many observers on our beaches to observe their magic. Too bad there is so much light pollution from our village and town beach parking lots, waterside restaurants, clubhouses, and homes.

Beyond impairing our vision of the Perseids, excessive and misdirected light disrupts the ability of many birds, bats, and beneficial insects to procreate, migrate, and survive. Many of our native bumblebees live in the soil and are harmed by light pollution. It impacts human health, as the human circadian rhythm is disrupted, contributing to stress, which brings its own host of problems. Factoring in energy waste, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions and you can see the costs of nighttime light pollution.

Here in the Hamptons, compare the lighting at the Springs School, which is directed downward onto roadways and paths where it is needed, with the blinding glare of the uplighting at many of our beaches and ball fields, houses, and roadways.

Taking back our nighttime is an easy change to make and it brings so many positive benefits.




Herrick Park
East Hampton
August 12, 2023

Dear David,

I am perplexed by your editorial piece on Aug. 10. You state that you want Herrick Park to be left alone. Hard to believe you would be against the renovations that have happened thus far. For years, residents have been asking for improvements to be done to their beloved park, and the previous village administration began the process in 2019 by having plans drawn up and hosting public meetings to discuss.

The main concerns residents and park users voiced included poorly lighted walkways to the long-term parking lot and the ill-conceived entrance from the Reutershahn parking lot and Newtown Lane. People did not feel safe walking to the back lot at night. There were also many complaints about the rundown condition of the tennis and basketball courts. I remember the really ugly chain-link fence with weeds growing through it that was the entryway from the Reutershahn parking lot into the park. Now I see a beautiful, inviting entry with trees and a sidewalk. The tennis courts are fabulous and well used, and I look forward to the basketball court being rebuilt.

The walk to the long-term parking lot is well lit now. We all have aspirational plans for the park and everyone has an opinion as to what they would like to see happen. Throwing shade on the financial aspects of the renovation smacks of paranoia and conspiracy theories. I think funding with donations instead of raising village taxes to pay for it is a good thing. Everyone enjoys the park, so why should the village residents be held financially hostage? Anyone can donate to the foundation to improve the park. What a nice way to feel connected and be a part of the process.



Climate Caucus
Sag Harbor
August 14, 2023

To the Editor:

More than half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Among the minority whose finances are more secure, many have personal problems or relationship issues that command the forefront of their attention. Even in the small space left in our minds for political awareness, climate change tends to get crowded out by other concerns that seem more urgent. It may come as no surprise, then, that although poll after poll shows most Americans would like to see the climate problem solved, relatively few give it top priority, either in their own lives or in their voting behavior. Our politicians know this. It is why action has been so difficult to achieve.

We need to alter public policy to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. If we don’t, it’s game over. But even if we do, the results won’t be felt right away.

If they’re to get widespread public support, government policies to reduce emissions must be paired with adaptive measures that will help local communities deal right now with rising sea levels, rampant wildfires, unprecedented heat waves, superstorms, water scarcity, and other impacts of global warming.

Republicans and Democrats have fought each other for 169 years and no doubt will continue. Some issues seem intractable, but climate need not be one of them. Recently a bipartisan group in Congress called the Climate Solutions Caucus has been revived. It has equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. Our congressman, Nick LaLota, has joined it. Whether you voted for him or not, please call his D.C. office (202-225-3826) to thank him and express hope that bipartisan action on climate will emerge soon.



Cleanup Day
East Hampton
August 9, 2023

Dear David,

Sept. 16 is Litter Cleanup Day. It may seem early to start planning for September, but Labor Day is fast approaching. While we don’t want to rush the end of summer, we also want to make sure everyone knows about our September litter cleanup activity. On Sept. 16 we will be following up our very successful No-Fling Spring Cleanup with our participation in National Cleanup Day. Across the nation on this day, people will be joining forces to help keep our roads, streets, trails, mountains, and beaches free of litter and beautiful.

We are asking community groups, Adopt-A-Road sponsors, and any residents wanting to participate in this cleanup day to send us the name of your group and your contact information — all that’s necessary is to form a group, set the time, location, and start point of your pickup. Once we receive your information, your group will be listed in our public service press releases and announcements.

Shining a light on this day with as many engaged groups and individuals as possible will move the ball forward in creating awareness of the littering issue. The more people picking up litter on this day, the better the visual, the broader the impact!

Please join us as we strive to preserve and protect our beautiful town. Let’s make it cleaner. Saturday, Sept. 16, is the day — the place and time is up to you! Please email us to tell us you’ll participate — [email protected]. Additional information can be found on the National Cleanup Day website:

With appreciation,



East Hampton Town Litter Action Committee


Traffic Mess
August 14, 2023

Dear David,

For decades there was a water-runoff problem on Stephen Hand’s Path just east of the 114 intersection. This was finally fixed using nearly one year and God knows how much money. One person with a bulldozer could’ve bermed the field south of the road in perhaps a day or two. That would have alleviated the water pool and also stopped the loss of valuable topsoil. Now there are new massive guardrails that barely allow for a bicycle or pedestrian to pass.

With that amount of time, money, and engineering we could’ve solved the wasteful, polluting congestion now omnipresent at the 114 traffic light.

Yes, there is a solution. It’s called a roundabout. If we put one in to replace the disastrous Wainscott light on 27, we likely wouldn’t need another one, as much of the 114 traffic is diverting from 27 due to the wasteful, polluting congestion caused by the light there. (A roundabout doesn’t preclude a mechanized crosswalk for an occasional pedestrian, by the way.)

Perhaps if one of the town board members lived in Wainscott, God bless them, we might not have such an unnecessary traffic mess, but a relatively simple solution instead.



Stephen Hand’s Path
East Hampton
August 14, 2023

To the Editor:

What will it take to get a four-way stop, a blinking light, or some other traffic-control mechanism on Stephen Hand’s Path where it intersects with Long Lane and Two Holes of Water Road?

The traffic was backed up on Long Lane for nearly 20 minutes on Saturday, and every time you attempt to cross over, let alone venture a left turn, you take your life in your hands. There have been numerous crashes at this intersection and it’s just a matter of time until something more catastrophic occurs.

Though obviously worse in the summer, this is a year-round problem that needs to be addressed. The town board needs to get their act together and add a couple of stop signs — before they have blood on their hands.



Addressing This Now?
East Hampton
August 11, 2023

To the Editor,

Now that the state and federal governments are pushing charging stations for electric vehicles, are they being installed for the potentially hundreds of tenants that will need them at 290 Three Mile Harbor Road? Is the Planning Department addressing this now or will all the parking lots at 290 Three Mile Harbor Road have to get torn up later to install this vital amenity?



Needs a Permit
New York City
August 10, 2023

To the Editor:

I think Pollock and Krasner would turn in their graves because, as a professional artist who lives in Manhattan and doesn’t own a car and who has vacationed extensively in the Amagansett area on and off for 30 years, I recently was turned away at the town clerk office when requesting a beach car permit for my rental car.

Even though I have a month’s rental with proof, when I arrived I was told I couldn’t get buy the pass (I was willing to pluck down the $500 because that’s how important this was to me). I actually called in advance to check and was not told of any restrictions. I had rental cars in the past with no problem. This was a complete change from all of the other years and as recently as three years ago.

The pandemic and back surgery kept me away for three years and I was so looking forward to returning and painting plein air all over East Hampton, Amagansett, Springs, etc.

I was looking for a return to this area with great anticipation.

I had called the town clerk before the rental to make sure I could still get a beach pass and they said, “yes.” No restriction mentioned. I think it quite sad that an artist like myself (member of a co-op gallery in New York City), who is digging deep to pay for this vacation to paint, cannot.

This area was put on the map by Pollock and Krasner and all their friends and now an artist who wants to paint here can’t go anywhere. Every spot, every beach, every boat landing needs a town parking permit. This was not a frivolous expenditure for me.



Incorrect Statement
August 13, 2023

To the Editor,

I would just like to make a clarification to the obituary of Connie Fox (June 28). She is referred to as a “leading Abstract Expressionist.” This is an incorrect statement.

Yours sincerely,



Stable Dune
August 14, 2023

Dear David,

Would anyone who has driven along the beautiful Old Montauk Highway look at the well-established dune vegetation and the most-expansive, healthiest beaches in all of Montauk and suggest there is a problem or that some damage control is required at the Benson Beach Bathing Reserve, an approximately one-mile stretch located on the ocean side of Old Montauk Highway essentially between Washington Street and South Eton?

I spoke at the last town board work session on Aug. 8, opposing the Concerned Citizens of Montauk initiative to apply for a $659,000 New York State grant as a marine district habitat restoration project under the Department of Environmental Conservation Water Quality Improvement Project Program. This C.C.O.M.-sponsored project seeks to use the limited public fund to bring goats and machines to the Benson Bathing Beach Reserve in Montauk to rid this beautiful, well-functioning reserve of mixed vegetation. Some invasive vegetation, which has been present for nearly half a century and exists throughout the Town of East Hampton, supports a stable dune structure while promoting the most-expansive beach in Montauk.

Notably, this is one of the few areas that sustained no damage during Hurricane Sandy, due to the natural protection that this robust and healthy dune provides. Most important, this public grant money could be better used on many more pressing water quality issues in Montauk, but instead is being diverted to seek a problem that does not exist.

The Benson Bathing Reserve is a well-established stable dune system with some invasive plants: multifora rose (the pink flowers you see in the dunes), poison ivy, which is a given, and Japanese knotweed, that create a mixture of very short and long, stable root systems. These are invasives, but they can be seen all over Montauk, especially near bodies of water, and have arrived here by natural pollinators such as birds, other animals, and wind. These invasives will forever be in Montauk and can only be eradicated or managed with significant funding and/or damage to the dune.

In fact, to try to get rid of just the Japanese knotweed that has a horizontal root system of up to 65 feet, the proposal calls for the goats to nibble the plant and then install black tarps secured to the dune (due to winds and storms) to smother the root system. Humans would then need to stomp on any regrowth that would try to punch through it. This process sounds like a great way to destabilize and destroy the dune.

The public at large would have been better served by having C.C.O.M. and the town use this state funding program to address stormwater pouring into Fort Pond from 12 different storm drains without any filtration whatsoever — let’s fund the installation of bioswales there.

If you want to look at a dune that needs restoration, look at Ditch Plain, which is eroding at a rapid pace. Perhaps C.C.O.M. and the town could better use that grant money to piggyback on the long-awaited Army Corps of Engineers project that conspicuously leaves out Ditch Plain for any sand replenishment or dune restoration at what is arguably the busiest Montauk beach and a key economic driver for Montauk. Perhaps C.C.O.M. and the town could have applied for grant money to help pay for the dredge that the Army Corps will already deploy to include Ditch Plain?

This effort and funding could also be better used to promote septic upgrades of antiquated septic systems further and outlaw high-capacity cesspools of commercial establishments along Lake Montauk, some of which have undergone significant renovations and ownership turnover, yet are allowed to operate faulty and inadequate cesspools, while, in some cases, hosting events with up to 2,000 persons. This is the same body of water that is used for recreation and the harvesting of prized oysters.

Another project addresses the Surfside Place outflow pipe that consistently dumps contaminated water into the Atlantic Ocean bathing beach.

The town was gifted the Benson Bathing Beach Reserve on Old Montauk Highway just west of Washington Drive to South Eton Street by Nicole Biase in 1998 after a lengthy lawsuit initiated by the deeded landowners across the street. Under a judicial order by Judge Underwood, the property is burdened with the covenant and restrictions (because they convey with land) described and is without the right to erect fences, berms, or other structures on the reserve and is forever barred from erecting such structures. The determination was armed at the appellate level. It was a significant land use case in the State of New York. Therefore, the town is not permitted to erect any fences or structures to contain or house the goats. So why are we spending time and effort to promote this project?

Most important, why did C.C.O.M. waste an opportunity to apply for this critical grant to be used for the more pressing issues facing Montauk?

Another disturbing aspect of this project is that the community and the 84-plus other deeded property owners of the reserve were not informed about it. If this project were to go forward, there may be an ongoing maintenance obligation to the town and its taxpayers. As taxpayers, we all have a right to know if that is the case. There was no public notice and no C.C.O.M. presentation to the Montauk citizens advisory committee, which is the appropriate forum to discuss such a matter affecting all Montauk residents. Instead, it appears to be greenlighted on every level.

Public grant money for environmental restoration is a precious and very finite asset that must be used for only the highest priority projects. As best as I can discern, the primary benefit of this proposed project is to improve vistas for a select few. Interestingly, at the town board work session on July 28, presenters used words like “improved vistas and property values.” That is not the purpose for the utilization of public environmental grant money.

At this same town board work session on Aug. 8, the town board felt compelled to put forth a resolution that supported this project for the purpose of C.C.O.M. meeting the Aug. 11 deadline to apply for the state grant. While this may seem understandable, it is also unfortunate, given that some of the issues pointed out in this letter could only be vetted after putting forth such a resolution. Also, because the deadline has now passed, did we miss an opportunity to apply for a more worthy project for the same D.E.C. funding?

In deference to the unexpected opposition to this project, the town board resolution also acknowledged that a public hearing must be scheduled on Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. This begs the question of what happens if C.C.O.M. is awarded the grant money, irrespective of the public hearing? Will the town board be able to compel C.C.O.M. to reject this grant money? Can this grant money be used for some of the urgent water quality issues in Montauk?

My hope is this letter (and my speech at the public portion of the town board work session dated Aug. 8 on has been informative and that East Hampton residents take the time to learn more about this issue and make their feelings known either in person at the Sept. 21 public hearing or by submitting public comment letters to the town board before. You can also provide your input at — because our water quality rights matter.

Thank you,



Benson Reserve
August 14, 2023

Dear Editor,

As both a property owner directly facing the Benson Reserve on the Old Montauk Highway and one of the original litigants in the lawsuit that prevented private development of this property, I am writing in support of the proposed habitat restoration project for the Benson Reserve. My family has owned our 1.5-acre property for 67 years, and the commemorative plaque that exists today on the eastern end of the Benson Reserve includes honorable mention of my mother, Madge Schneiderman, who fought diligently with others to preserve the Benson Reserve.

Over the course of my life, I have watched this property go from a beautiful coastal plain of maritime grasses and native plants into an overgrown, tick-infested, thicket of brambles and poison ivy. Through a lack of management, we have lost critical habitat for shorebirds, and we have degraded an important historic vista.

Although my mother did not live to see the victory at the end of our 12-year legal battle, I trust she would be pleased in our efforts to implement an environmentally responsible restoration plan for the Benson Reserve. By working together, we can remove invasive species and restore the natural coastal maritime ecosystem I fondly remember from my childhood in Montauk. I would encourage my neighbors to help us once again protect this incredible property with their support and involvement and I look forward to helping make this project happen for the benefit of the entire Montauk community.


Mr. Schneiderman is the Southampton Town supervisor. Ed.


Speak the Truth
August 13, 2023

To the Editor,

Over the years, facts and pointing out of gross malfeasance and continued malfeasance have been spoken, yet The Star chooses to always state myself or other owners on our road are “complaining.” As for the last several years, these have been proven continuously. Even the articles written in this paper have proven those same facts whether intending to do so or not. In fact, exactly two years ago as of the date of the most recent article on geotextiles, the town began addressing this issue. Couldn’t have been because I was running for office, could it? Yet I suppose you could categorize it as a complaint.

Who wouldn’t want to have their rights stolen, the beach destroyed, access blocked, an illegal structure erected without their knowledge, and even their homes devalued (taxes still go up though)? All because someone wants their cake and to eat it, too, rights of the masses be damned.

The former principal building Inspector told myself and other owners the road would be opened in March 2019. The town was sending letters — merely suggestions just like the follow-up letters. I will continue to speak the truth, as I am shielded by it.

Still here,



Letting It Run Amok
August 3, 2023

To the Editor,

I read Republican Manny Vilar’s letters and just shake my head. Mr. Vilar bemoans development patterns? The Republican Wilkinson administration of the East Hampton Town Board was in the forefront of letting it run amok in the beginning. The very thought of “regulation” seems to send chills up what is left of spines in that party post-2016.

Water problems? The Republican-dominated Suffolk Legislature decided that issue didn’t need to be put on voter ballots in November.

The lies come easy.



Word of the Century
East Hampton
August 13, 2023


In 2010, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway wrote a book called “Merchants of Doubt”; in 2023 they wrote “The Big Myth.” Both are landmark treatises on the fraudulence of hating government and the raping of America. In “The Big Myth,” the authors estimate that if the distribution of wealth in 1975 remained the same in 2018, $49 trillion would be added to the current wealth of the bottom 90 percent of the American people — the biggest rip-off in the history of the world. Possibly more than every other rip-off combined since 1900.

Gullibility seems to be the word of the century. More bridges have been sold in New York City alone than in all of Europe and many of them didn’t exist until the middle part of the 20th century. Gullibility is the tendency to be easily persuaded that something is real or true.

Government is the primary mechanism that protects and provides for the well-being of the populace. It establishes rules and regulations, as it can around prosperity, health, and safety. For example, it forbids lead in paint, chemicals in water, requires airplanes to follow flight programs, protects animal life, and requires a license to drive a car. It forbids monopolies and monetary abuses.

Without government we are screwed. Sometimes it makes decisions that are painful and ludicrous, even corrupt. Bill Clinton abolished Glass-Steagall, which controlled certain banking processes, and George W. Bush permitted an economic meltdown fueled by the liberated banks, hurting millions of people. We drop atomic bombs, and the world goes batshit feeling it has to protect itself from us.

Yet President Reagan told the American people that government is the problem, not corporate greed. The problem, however, was not corrupt or incompetent government, but overprotective government surrounding economic issues. The anti-government campaign was well-funded and elaborate and half the people bought into it. Reagan was a Readers Digest guy: abridged and simplistic, but in this case destructive and violent.

So, the parts in both books that are most salient to our current lives are climate change and economic inequality. On climate, 50 years ago, when acid rain was a problem, conservative think tanks connected to the fossil fuel industry in conjunction with government officials created a nationwide campaign denying the problem and then postulated that the free market would solve it.

Similarly, with the distribution of wealth, academics like Hayak and Friedman fabricated market solutions and outcomes that had little basis in reality. Even the wildly idiotic theory of “trickle down,” derided by its creator, David Stockman, as garbage, holds sway in certain political circles.

Today, when we think about the $49 trillion and the water temperature in Florida reaching 100, we can’t help but understand that we have been screwed upside down and inside out. Yet, despite the obvious, including the pain and the misery, a good chunk of the country buys into the fantasies.

About 95 percent of our government are lifelong bureaucrats. They are apolitical and follow the rules. When Vindman heard Trump threatening Zelensky, he reported the conversation. He was on the call to do just that.

When we destabilize government, we screw ourselves, we strip away our protections. It’s rare that our government is out to screw us. We have politicians for that. How poor do we have to get? How hot does it have to get before we understand that Reagan was wrong? Government isn’t the problem.


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