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Letters to the Editor for August 24, 2023

Thu, 08/24/2023 - 08:44

At The Church
East Hampton Village
August 21, 2023

Dear David,

Before another day slips by, I wanted to pay tribute to last Friday’s show and symposium held at The Church in Sag Harbor, “Writing from Art, Poetry, Prose, and the Lyric Essay.” The art exhibition “Strike Fast, Dance Light: Artists on Boxing,” was exceptional in quality and inclusiveness.

Fifty-six nationally and internationally known artists; private collectors loaned pieces; local community artists were represented, a few talented high school students included, notable artists like Jules Feiffer, at 94, completed drawings and insisted they be in the show, and a timeless new painting by Eric Fischl. Sara Cochran, co-curator, started the evening with a short tour with insightful commentary by her and Eric Fischl.

At the end of the tour, we gathered on the lower level of the Church. We were treated to an exceptional integrated cultural experience from Philip Schultz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, and Sara and Eric. It was one of the most elevating performances by three multitalented artists.

The lively discussion started with Phil Schultz, who had written a new poem on his interpretation of Eric Fischl’s painting, the plight of human struggle, and the battle with self that the artist confronts. It allowed us all to go inside this painting and see it, feel it, feel the artist’s thoughts as he creates images, symbols, and metaphors that even he may not know. Sara skillfully guided the audience and two artists with her, often psychologically probing questions that enraptured all of us.

What a wonderful evening that you wish could have gone on forever! Bravo! It was truly one of the most enjoyable experiences.



August 21, 2023

Dear David,

“Experience great music in intimate and unexpected places” — on Saturday we did just that! Longhouse Reserve provided the perfect natural setting for the stunning performance of Astor Piazzolla’s “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” on Saturday afternoon. Annie Chalex-Boyle, the violin soloist, provided musical fireworks accompanied by the Hamptons Festival of Music’s Salon Orchestra under the masterful guidance of Maestro Michael Palmer, artistic director of the Hamptons Festival of Music.

The Hamptons Festival of Music’s 2023 orchestral concert series begins on Sept. 3 at LTV studios, where Pepe Romero, the world-renowned classical guitarist, will join Maestro Palmer as he conducts the 40-piece festival orchestra in the world premiere of David Leisner’s guitar concerto “Wayfaring,” composed specifically for Mr. Romero.

 The festival orchestra comprises premier musicians from many of the country’s most noted symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, and Atlanta Symphony.

Where can one feel the power of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 “Eroica,” Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony, Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” as one of only 125 audience members? Here in East Hampton at LTV studios on Sept. 3, 8, and 10! Experiencing the orchestral masterworks of Beethoven, Mozart, and Mendelssohn in such an intimate setting is a unique opportunity not to be missed.




Climate Caucus
Sag Harbor
August 20, 2023

To the Editor:

In an editorial last week you expressed skepticism concerning the Climate Solutions Caucus in Congress. You stated correctly that its previous version produced nothing of value. Will things be any different this time? There’s reason to think they might be, but we’ll see.

Here are three areas where climate-related action in this Congress should be possible. If the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus is able to shepherd these into law in final forms that are technically and environmentally sound, that will establish its credibility. Otherwise, no.

The Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies and Ecosystems (RISEE) Act would establish several dedicated streams of funding for coastal infrastructure and resiliency in order to protect vulnerable communities most impacted by sea level rise and coastal erosion. It would share revenues from offshore wind farms with adjacent states to assist in their efforts to adapt to the coastal impacts of climate change.

Another promising proposal is the Increased TSP Access Act of 2023. There are huge opportunities to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in agriculture and forestry management. This act would increase the availability of certified technical service providers to help farmers, ranchers, and forest owners implement resilient and climate-smart practices.

A third area for action would address a critical bottleneck in the deployment of solar and wind energy, namely delays in providing sufficient electrical transmission lines from places where these sources of energy are plentiful to places where lots of people live. Permitting reform is needed to remove bureaucratic roadblocks impeding new projects while giving local communities an effective voice early in the approval process, when beneficial changes can still be made. If nothing is done we’ll only get about 20 percent of the new clean energy potentially achievable under existing law.

These have real substance as well as support in this Congress on both sides of the aisle. Moreover, they could pave the way for even more comprehensive climate action in the next Congress. We must let our politicians know that it is their actions, not just their words or party labels, that will influence how we vote next year.



Black Asphalt
East Hampton
August 15, 2023

To the Editor,

Why in the world is the East Hampton Highway Department paving our roads with black asphalt, making driving at night quite dangerous, especially for our older citizens who may not have the visual acuity they once had. Most of our older roads, which are still in very good shape, have a lighter grayish tint interspersed with tiny pebbles that provide better traction, especially on rain or snow-covered surfaces, as well as excellent visibility. An excellent example of this contrast is at the corner of Hand’s Creek Road and Oakview Highway.

These black roads also absorb heat on hot days and add to the ambient temperature of areas where blacktop has been used. I would also add that many of these roads are in perfectly good condition as they now stand and don’t need any repaving at all. Oakview Highway was certainly not in need of repaving, especially in blacktop.

Drivers’ and pedestrian safety should be upmost on the mind of our Highway Department, and the use of this material should be curtailed immediately and replaced by the older surfacing material. Blacktopped roads are hazardous roads.



Hard Line on D.W.I.
August 17, 2023

Dear Editor,

Taking a hard line on driving while intoxicated arrests is overdue.

A blood-alcohol level of .02 correlates with impaired judgment. A blood-alcohol level of .06 correlates with further impaired judgment, perception, and information processing. Driving abilities are categorically impaired. The individual is usually unable to appreciate this impairment. A blood-alcohol level of .08 correlates with slurred speech and impaired visual and auditory functions.

Responsible behavior correlates with a blood-alcohol level of .00.



Repeating the Joke
August 21, 2023

Dear David,

Perhaps I’m becoming a killjoy in my old age but repeating the Audi and porcupine joke in a family newspaper seems a bit on the vulgar side. It’s out of character for you from my past readings.



Significant Differences
August 20, 2023

Dear David,

After living in Montauk for close to 20 years and working in East Hampton Village for several years, I have noticed significant cultural and socioeconomic differences between the village and the hamlet.

For example, the village people appear to be enamored of the following automobile brands: Lexus (particularly the S.U.V.s), BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Range Rovers. The hamlet dwellers seem to prefer Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan, Toyota, and Subaru. There is also a huge difference in choice of pickup truck. The Montaukers appear to prefer the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, Ram, and Toyota Tundra and Tacoma. I have not seen any village residents actually drive a pickup so I cannot make a judgment here. Perhaps there is a village ordinance that prohibits residents from owning pickups.

Another cultural difference I have noticed involves restaurants. In East Hampton Village the restaurants that residents patronize “to be seen” and “see celebrities” are the East Hampton Grill, Nick and Toni’s, and the Palm. Dancing is prohibited in all. In Montauk, an occasional celeb is spotted at the Harvest, Inlet Seafood, and Shagwong Tavern (where dancing is actually encouraged by owners and staff). No on goes there “to be seen” because no one really cares who you are.

Perhaps the most obvious difference between East Hampton Village and Montauk is in governance. The village has a democratically elected mayor and village board which can legislate codes and ordinances. Montauk has no elected mayor, but it does have a board of “unofficial mayors” who play an important service role in the community. Their initials are R.F.W., E.E., H.H., A.H., and M.V. Let’s see how many readers can correctly identify these folks.

Finally, I loved your Aug. 17 commentary on the difference between an Audi and a porcupine. You might consider some commentary on the evolution of the Range Rover. This iconic vehicle was the favorite of British imperialists as they drove around their Kenyan coffee plantations during the good old days of Rule Britannia. Today, the Range Rover is a favorite of wealthy Manhattan dwellers who rely on the vehicle to transport them to their 12-bedroom, 14-bathroom, and four fireplace cookie-cutter “cottages” throughout the East End. Sadly, most of these owners really suck at driving, so I always refer to their vehicles as “Rage Rovers.”




Why a Rush?
August 18, 2023

To the Editor:

In last week’s letters, Jay Schneiderman wrote, “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.”

With all due respect, Jay, perhaps you’re older than I am, but I can certainly remember when Old Montauk Highway had horses grazing by the sea and the remnants of Parson’s Garage. The reserve I remember from the 1970s was filled with brambles and most definitely tick-infested and filled with poison ivy. Every summer of my life I spent picking ticks off myself and usually with a roaring case of poison ivy from picking blackberries in those dunes.

The ecosystem is just fine, thanks. Unlike much of Montauk, the well-established dunes protect our beautiful beach and our land. Why on earth would anyone spend time and money attempting to fix a nonexistent problem?

The goats are a nonstarter, as their fencing, etc., is illegal, but I’d like to know, too, how the goats only magically eat the “bad” plants? Hither Hills has some unique orchid species, not to mention beach plums, what few blackberries are left, and so on. Birds, snakes, foxes, rabbits, and deer are abundant. Why are we in a rush to disturb this biosphere when so many other parts of Montauk need help more?

As for “make this project happen for the benefit of the entire Montauk community,” um, how’s that gonna work? No one can get to the beach unless they walk or bike there. There is no parking. Did you mean to write, “Make this project happen so some hedge funders can have a nicer view as they drive into town”? Let us know.



Another Range
August 18, 2023

Dear Editor,

As a resident of Wainscott since 2005, the issues regarding the Maidstone Gun Club are very important to me. While I very much respect the needs of our local law enforcement officers to access training facilities, those needs cannot outweigh local public safety concerns. There are too many homes in the nearby vicinity that can be tragically impacted by a stray bullet. The club has proven itself to be deficient in the necessary safety standards that would prevent any potential serious accidents. The best solution for all those involved is simply not to renew their lease and have our first responders practice at another range.




Legal Action
August 20, 2023

To the Editor,

It’s not always the public portion of a public hearing at a town board meeting that catches the eye. It’s the resolutions, like recent legal action that is being taken by the town against owners who are in violation of town code.

It reminds me of that caveat for others who have violated town code: 30 days or face legal action. Those places need enforcement too, one would think.

Still Here,



Will Never Hear
August 21, 2023

To the Editor,

In the early days of computer science, there was a phrase “garbage in, garbage out.” Urban planning is the same way, with one exception being that planning failures cost millions of dollars later.

To be a good planner, one must be void of political ideology and biases. Planners must be able to understand historical trends and demographics. They must be on top of the most current discoveries in the sciences and be able to anticipate how these changes will impact future generations. Planners must be independent and have the fortitude to push back when special interests and politically motivated individuals attempt to influence planning analysis and findings.

We only have to look back 100 years to see how Robert Moses’s failures in planning have dramatically impacted and influenced the New York metropolitan area and, in many facets, Long Islands development. Failures in planning on the South Fork include waste management, economic growth, mass transit, and roadway development. Each of these planning areas is critical to a community’s long-term viability and sustainability, especially in a community surrounded on three sides by water.

As your legislator, I will spearhead a task force to devise a solution to these problems. You will never hear me say, “There is nothing that can be done.” From waste management to economic development, which impacts affordability, the root cause of our housing crisis, we will engage with village, town, state, and federal agencies to partner and bring solutions. This is why I would like your vote on Election Day, because doing the same thing and expecting different results is not in our best interest.

I would love to hear from you by email at [email protected] or by phone or text at 631-324-0528


Mr. Vilar is a candidate for Suffolk County legislator. Ed.


Biden Economics
August 21, 2023

Dear David,

Biden economics, really working for us? Every time I enter the supermarket, prices are higher and higher. On the way to the store, gas stations are calling me in to pay higher prices, each week an extra 10 cents a gallon. Please don’t dictate to me about an electric car. The cost for providing a charging station is ridiculous, then there’s time lost for charging the auto, or having to walk a distance and pay through the nose to charge the vehicle. Think about getting stuck on the road for hours and your battery dies. There is so much to think about pro and con in the purchase of an electric car. One way or another you need fossil fuel.

As far as Biden economics, he and his administration throw out lie on top of lie. Gas prices have fallen under Biden? He is praising the drop from $5 a gallon from last year, but when Trump left office gas prices were $2.49 a gallon, while today they are at $3.84. No matter how you try to slice or dice it, the coat of filling up is $20 higher. The public relations for the Biden administration machine is a master at twisting and torturing data until they say what they want them to say.

Most polls show two-thirds of Americans think the economy is worse than it was under Trump — and it is.

In God and country,



Breaking the Law
North Haven
August 21, 2023

Dear David:

One-hundred-twenty-one Republican members of the House and Senate voted to overturn the election on the night of Jan. 6. Many political hacks also supported the insurrection of Jan. 6; most remain in office, with many seeking re-election.

We must ask ourselves if breaking the law is now the law. We already have laws that clearly state that behavior in support of insurrection disqualifies anyone from remaining in office, or seeking office in the future. The 14th Amendment clearly states that anyone who provides aid or comfort to those who participated in an insurrection shall be permanently barred from ever holding office again.

We seem stuck in a culture war, arguing whether to enforce the law or ignore the law. It seems to depend on whether you’re in a red state or a blue state, whatever the hell that means!

What happened to the united part of the United States of America? Do we now have 50 states acting like 50 independent nations, enforcing only the laws they seem to like, and which make sense to them for the moment?

I thought our democracy was formed that found its power in the combination of its diverse states, now numbering 50, so that we could create some federal laws that would be understandable and applicable to the entire nation. I believe the Federalist Papers argued for that, and also argued for states to establish local laws that could be better applicable to their local conditions and situations.

By 1860-61, our country experienced the secession of 11 slave-owning states after the election of Abraham Lincoln. They wished to preserve legal human slavery, thinking it was a states’ rights issue to own another human being for their own exploitation. The Civil War tore the country apart, and Reconstruction was expected to put it together again. Unfortunately the powers of evil figured out a way to continue the ugly slavery concept through the Jim Crow laws.

Now, 160-plus years later, we seem to be heading into a similar confrontation. Our nation is splitting into red or blue, progressive or conservative, religious or secular, wealthy or struggling, law-abiding or not. The rumblings of revolution are already seen and heard in our streets.Nowadays, it seems there is no widespread agreement as to what the law allows. Look at the list of indictments against the former president and his cronies, and then listen to the absurd defense arguments being made by the indicted, the politicians, and certain members of Congress — including the rabble-rousing insurrectionists throughout the media, and even some folks here.

Federal investigation reports showed a few police and military were seen running rogue, while most honest and ethical police and military were doing their job trying to enforce the law. Who is in the right here? Who gets to determine what the law is? People in the streets, or through established democratic process? Revolution is when the Constitution and the legal system is tipped over into chaos. We seem to be at that point right now.”Breaking the law is the law” must not be allowed to prevail today as a legitimate political argument. The people who have actually violated laws must be purged from the system promptly — and according to law.



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