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Letters to the Editor for August 31, 2023

Wed, 08/30/2023 - 18:04

Good Softball
August 26, 2023

To the Editor,

As I was scanning the online version of The East Hampton Star, I saw the article about the recent Artists-Writers softball game. I find it disappointing that The Star gives more space about this softball game than they do about the Travis Field Memorial Softball Tournament. The Travis Field tournament is held annually to raise money for a scholarship, where locals and transplants (like me) go to watch good softball and catch up with people we may not see very often.

The artists vs. writers is a game that the majority of the audience is summer people who go to see people who want to be seen by people they probably don’t know. I don’t consider myself a world traveler but I’ve been fortunate enough to live in 13 different states and on all three coasts; so maybe that’s why when I read the article and all the names mentioned, I thought to myself, “Who are these people? And who cares if someone hits a turnip at a softball game?”



Many Times
East Hampton
August 26, 2023

Dear Editor:

I take my trash to the dump. I was struggling to pull out an old ladder from the back of my car, and a Latino man saw me and came over and said, “I’ll get that for you.” He carried it to the nonrecyclable bin and dumped it in. That has happened to me many times at the dump — always Latino men voluntarily coming over to assist me when I’m unloading something heavy. Thank you, gentlemen!



Service in Springs?
August 21, 2023

To the Editor:

How much longer will it be until there is adequate cell service in Springs? Residents like me have been attending town meetings and writing letters to The Star for many, many years. Recently, we have been told that a tower with AT&T has been put up. But so what, since it’s not yet fully activated?

It is no secret that politics are involved. Are town officials now waiting for the next election so that the newly elected can claim success in (finally) resolving this problem? Today, calls to Southampton Hospital, Capital One, The Wall Street Journal, and Mount Sinai Hospital were all interrupted by static and then dropped. Many residents have spoken at meetings, and some have written to The Star to explain how they have faced near-catastrophic outcomes (i.e., falling outside) and been unable to connect with help. It is common for visitors, UPS, FedEx, and other deliveries to be canceled because vendors and transport companies cannot successfully communicate with customers in Springs.

Will it take someone’s death to get results instead of comments about “the complexity of the issue”?

Since the major carriers have mostly eliminated land lines and now offer only cell service, why hasn’t the leadership of East Hampton still not found a real solution to this problem, instead of continuously getting more surveys, calling meetings, and making ambiguous promises?

Cell coverage is almost complete throughout the United States; how is it that this rich, prominent, long-established town has not yet gotten reliable cell coverage for taxpayers, workers, and tourists?

Friends have expressed concern that kids traveling to and from Springs School will not be able to connect in an emergency. An acquaintance just told us that they decided not to buy a new home in Clearwater because the cell service is so poor.

Maybe if real estate people complain enough, officials will wake up and get the job done. And please don’t reply to this with words celebrating “complexity” or the problems of “trying to please everyone.” Or the smug reassurance that nonexistent or very poor cell service is being “worked on.” Enough is enough. Carpe diem!

Just think, the Manhattan Project lasted only four years (1942-46). Los Alamos was chosen in 1943, and the first nuclear explosion occurred in July 1945. John Glenn trained and the Mercury spacecraft he rode to circle the Earth (Feb. 20, 1962) took three years. It took only three years for Stanley Kubrick to make the movie “Spartacus” with hundreds of cast members. It took DeMille only six months with his special effects coordinator, John Fulton, to film parting the Red Sea with more than 360,000 gallons of water. It took only two years to build Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 (construction started on July 5, 1965, and the ocean liner was launched Sept. 20, 1967).

When the Statue of Liberty was shipped across the ocean from France to New York in 1885 (in 214 crates and more than 350 puzzle-like pieces), it took only four months to be assembled to its height of 151 feet on Liberty Island. So why has it taken a decade to put up working cell towers in one of the most established and richest towns on the planet in the 21st century? And when will reliable service be activated?




Don’t Read the Signs
East Hampton
August 25, 2023

To the Editor:

I applaud the Town of East Hampton for the new signs at Beach Lane, Wainscott, beach. Finally, signs clearly stating rules and regulations about parking, fires on the beach, crabbing, and dogs, to name a few subjects, have arrived. However, no one can read them!

The bottom of the two signs begins about eight feet off the ground and goes up several feet. One has to lean back one’s head to try to read the signs. The print (the size of the lettering) is so very small, one needs to strain to try to read the words. The list of rules is much too long. With all these difficulties, people give up, don’t read the signs, and walk away.

I asked several people coming onto the beach:

Question: “Did you read the sign?”

Answer: “No.”

Question: “Are you able to read the sign?”

Answer: “No.”

I don’t know if other beaches have the same sign problem, but I do know these signs should be replaced pronto! Make the print bigger, use fewer words, and lower the placement of the sign.

Dog rules, fire rules, crabbing rules, car rules, etc., have long been ignored on this beach. Now is the chance to correct that with good signage.



Undermined by Tides
August 27, 2023


Recovering the Past: A Star Contest — location: the most northwest house on Mulford Lane, Amagansett (Lazy Point) owned by Jerry Preiser for many years before its 2005 demolition.

The cinder block foundation was undermined by high tides and northeast storms. Discussions between the owner and the Town of East Hampton to condemn the property seemed fruitless. The owner wanted a piece of vacant East Hampton Town Trustees land; the answer was “no.” So the town gave the owner $25,000 and demolished the structure.

Jerry Preiser moved to a parcel of land at the mouth of the creek leading into Napeague Pond that overlooked the southerly portion of Napeague Harbor.

The house to the right — Star, Aug. 24, page B4 — is still standing. It had telephone poles replaced and is presently owned (and taxed) by Gary Ryan. He has been unable to secure permission from the town to repair the blown-out windows and deck.



Not Approved
August 27, 2023

Dear David;

Since the invasion of the Rover, Benz, Beemer, and Audi denizens, danger has increased. It seems that they have their own rules. Maybe the red octagon signs posted at many intersections need to be expanded to read, “Step Toe On Pedal.” That may eliminate roll-throughs, or worse.

Tailgating is meant to hide the front plate that reads, “Get Out of My Way!” Considering that 20 miles per hour takes approximately 33 feet, plus reaction time, to stop and drastically increases at higher speeds, the sound of crunching and broken glass follows.

The middle finger is not approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles as a basic hand signal. Those double lines are there to clearly mark the pavement for contrast, not for safety reasons. Driving in the bicycle lanes make it easier to pass on the right, to gain one or two spaces in traffic. U-turn signs and painted barriers (to get a parking space on the other side) are meant for locals only.

Double parking plus a few feet allows the occupants to get out all at once. Taking one and a half spaces is to allow the cart to be next to the trunk to unload while on the phone. Gently pushing the cart away in lots is to keep the senior cart guys in shape as they run to corral them before they hit a parked car.

Blinding halogen headlights enhance the driver and have no effect on oncoming traffic; not turning them on at dusk is to improve eyesight. Rushing the yellow light while on the phone is so the friend on the other end can immediately alert 911 so they don’t have to dial. The phone extender glued to the windshield is to block the sunlight, and the cup holder allows one eye to be trained to look down to read the text.

Saving grace is coming, and we have to wait for “Deja vu all over again,” as Yogi Berra said.

Hiding in my driveway,



Water Quality Plan
East Hampton
August 27, 2023

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my disappointment with the town’s lack of water quality testing. Last week, the paper reported evidence of flesh-eating bacteria in our waters, and yet there was zero communication from our town on the issue.

I swim regularly at Gerard Drive (where the bacteria were reported) and have seen no signs or warnings posted in the area. I frequently rely on hard-working local not-for-profit groups like Peconic Baykeeper to provide water quality updates — something I believe our town should be managing.

With climate change no longer looming and, instead, here, it is essential that our town begin to develop a water-quality plan that involves regular testing and a reporting system which is consistent, clear, and easily accessible to residents.

Thank you,



A Little Hush-Hush
August 26, 2023


As much as I cherish The Star and love the editorials, I think you guys should have played the “flesh-eating disease” down a little or, at least, not played it up? As there was only one case on Gerard Drive, perhaps, like the mayor in the movie “Jaws,” we could used a little hush-hush. I mean, geez, we’re trying to run a business out here.



Three Mile Harbor
East Hampton
August 25, 2023

Dear Mr. Editor,

Hope all is well at The Star. Sorry you haven’t heard from me, but summer and all that keeps me busy. I want to weigh in on the Section 8 housing project on Three Mile Harbor Road. As stated previously, I was against it, not the project, but the location.

Three Mile Harbor Road and that area is already overburdened. I saw a few weeks ago you had an article about a stop-work order on the project. The stop-work order was due to the flooding and mud runoff covering Three Mile Harbor Road. It doesn’t take an engineer or a rocket scientist to figure out that 14 acres of cleared land on a hill in a heavy rain is going to push mud into the roadway. We had mud on the shoulders of both sides of the road past Damark’s store to Abraham’s Path. Nice planning on behalf of the builder and the town! Well, we got that cleaned up; it took a couple of weeks.

So another issue: With the 14 acres of cleared land why do we need construction vehicles jamming up the shoulder of both sides of Three Mile Harbor Road? Is this a sign of street-parking problems to come? Looks like it.

For the environment people, I am a Three Mile Harbor person. That project is less than half a mile from the Soak Hides Dreen.

This is the first year that I have noticed a sludge line along the waterline of my boat kept at the Head of the Harbor. Grimy substance, clean it off, and next week it’s back. I wonder if the 14 acres of cleared land and its runoff have anything to do with the sludge line?

Best regards and as always, yours to command,



Geothermal Systems
August 25, 2023

To the Editor:

Thank you for your cover story on the efforts by the Suffolk County Water Authority to educate our population about the importance of understanding the environmental value of our island’s aquifer, and thanks to the water authority for its work in maintaining this resource.

In your story on this issue, however, the water authority head, Jeffrey Szabo, made a misleading comment about geothermal systems that warrants clarification.

There are two types of residential geothermal systems, closed-loop and open-loop. A closed-loop system sends a liquid medium through continuous closed pipes into the earth and then back into the heat exchanger. Since the system is closed, no water escapes, and, thus by definition, a closed-loop system does not “waste” any water. These systems are well-suited to our environment with its high water table.

An open-loop system draws water from a well, and after exchanging the heat from the water, returns the water back into the ground. Such systems definitely draw on water supplies, but they do not “waste” the water as the liquid is returned into the ground on the same property. Nonetheless, open-loop systems are discouraged more and more for many reasons, including their effect on local groundwater, the requirements for filtration, the limited life span, and their draw on central systems. While open-loop systems draw water from the well system, they send it back into the local water ecosystem without “waste.”

Mr. Szabo may have been referring to industrial-scale geothermal energy systems, which draw on geothermal heat sources such as lava to boil water to turn steam turbines. Since the water is expressed as steam, it enters the atmosphere and may travel before returning to the ground as rain, thus “wasting” water from the local system. However, while such plants work in locations such as Hawaii or Iceland, they are geologically impossible on Long Island.

In general, the current state of the art in residential heating and cooling is the electric heat pump, which relies on electricity and heat exchange through the air via condenser fans. Nonetheless, closed-loop geothermal systems retain a valuable position in environmentally responsible home air-conditioning — without wasting water.

Best regards,



They Are Accountable
August 27, 2023

Dear David,

Recently I watched a town board discussion with energy and sustainability committee members. The group stated that they were not aware of, but were impressed, with the number of programs that the town board had initiated. That is good news.

I have not read very much about the culmination of the actions that are being implemented. I read and trust The Star. Perhaps you could summarize the current status and future goals of the town’s ambitious energy sustainability efforts.

The action taken by a judge in Montana who supported a children’s group court case against the state because they were suffering from health issues from the continuous permits granted for coal mining by state regulators and elected officials is more good news. Specialists read into the court record the many statistics showing the medical harm from breathing coal dust (the state’s major mined resource).

This case is the first time a court has found a regulatory agency or elected officials responsible for causing harm to their constituents by granting permits that prevent their right to a clean and healthy environment.

This decision has set a strong, clear precedent to all elected and appointed government officials that they are accountable for permitting, adopting, and enforcing permits and laws that would result in causing unhealthy and unsafe conditions for their constituents.

As a former elected town board member, I took an oath to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of our residents and visitors. Now, instead of just suing a developer for potential harm, residents may also take the elected officials and appointed regulators to court to sue for significant monetary damages.

East Hampton is dealing with drought conditions with only one source of fresh water beneath us, that is limited and in danger of becoming polluted, that could negatively affect our health. Traffic that dangerously exceeds our road capacity and nowhere to evacuate safely if there is a large forest fire except to drive into the conflagration could reduce our sense of safety. Increasing stress as more and more people pile into our historical, constrained community impacts our quality of life.

So our town board, zoning board, and planning board should keep their pledge clearly in mind.

Enough is enough.




Part of the Fabric
August 28, 2023

Dear David,

When we saw your editorial titled “Business on the Beach,” we expected to perhaps read about the high cost for nonguests to rent beachfront day beds at a local Montauk resort, or about the many other resorts with rows of beach umbrellas and chaises longues for the exclusive use of their guests. It may have also related to the pricey cocktails and dinner served on the beach at some beachfront establishments. Personally, we do not object to these businesses that operate in a relatively short season to offer such amenities, as that is part of what makes us a resort community.

Regardless, if you had taken aim at one of these establishments, any effect would likely be a rounding error for them since, in many cases, they are owned by large corporate, out-of-town entities with multiple interests and income streams. Regrettably, you singled out a group of young adults, all of whom are born and raised right at Ditch Plain, who dole out nearly $7,000 per year to obtain a town permit and to purchase insurance in order to make barely enough money to continue to live in the community they all grew up in. This position is surprising given how many articles you have written about finding ways to allow the younger generations to continue to live in a community that has become prohibitively expensive. That said, we do not expect, nor do we receive, any preferential treatment.

We have been operating with arguably the smallest footprint of any surf operation on the beach for years — and we are not even at Ditch Plain proper — we are by Poles. We have been operating this business in exactly the same manner and at the same location for the last 15 years, 12 of those years as the lead instructors for another local surf program and, since 2021, as the successors of that same program, picking up the reins where they had placed them down. (Twenty years ago we were students ourselves of the said same program.)

We are proud of the East End Surf Club, a local business that employs local residents. Our strong focus has always been working with children. The reality is that we are part of the fabric of this community and give back to it. We offer discounted surf lessons to local kids who cannot afford full-price lessons and coaching. We volunteer, substitute teach, we coach, and do our best to be active and positive influences on our community. We donate our time and expertise to A Walk on Water, an organization that utilizes surf therapy for children (and adults) with special needs. We organize and participate in beach cleanups, teaching our students the importance of respecting and maintaining our sacred beaches. We adore the kids and they adore us, as do the parents — just ask! We hire and mentor local kids.

We teach water safety to all of our students, making them confident waterpersons. We deliberately set up about 100 yards to the west of the Ditch Plain Beach entrance (150 yards from the nearest lifeguard stand) and right up against the dune, all in order to make no imposition. We purposely separate ourselves from all the other surf school operations, who are at Ditch Plain proper and at Trailer Park, to limit congestion. We do not stage anything in the crowded parking lots for the same reason and, most important, for the safety of our students. We operate and conduct ourselves conscientiously and respectfully. We do our best to be perfect in an imperfect system.

Our canopy that you call a “tent” is no larger than many of the canopies used up and down the beach by beachgoers. It affords us and our students sun protection and a central gathering point away from the parking lot. It certainly does not rise to the level of requiring fire marshal approval or a Health Department inspection, as is specified for actual tents. In our remote location adjacent to Shadmore, where a drowning occurred last year, we have made as many saves as the lifeguards down the beach.

What we do has been part of the fabric of the Montauk community and Ditch Plain for decades. We were both born and raised in this town, on these beaches, and have made surfing such a positive and healthy impact on our own lives and so many others’. It is with that passion that we aim to share surfing with the next generation.

As former students of these same programs, we are living proof of the benefits. Through surfing we teach ocean safety, confidence in the ocean and peer respect, and we promote a healthy lifestyle. Only a surfer knows the feeling.

We’ve been lucky enough to teach people how to surf in this town (with permission) for 15 years and nothing has changed in what we do or how we do it. We leave the beach cleaner than when we arrive and make it safer when we are present. Most important, we have the support of the community because we are very much an integral part of it. This is our home, through and through. We would like to continue to make it our home. We want to continue to serve our community and remain a positive influence on the kids growing up in our town, It has truly been an honor and a dream.




East End Surf Club

Mr. Fallon and Mr. Poli and nine other letter writers published here this week referred to an Aug. 24 editorial that criticized East Hampton Town officials for not enforcing certain aspects of a permit given to their Montauk surf-instruction business.

The Star prefers the old-fashioned Ditch Plain, without an S, as it was written in early town records. Other South Fork locations similarly identified during the Colonial period included Hither Plain, Indian Wells Plain, and the “Brushy Plaine,” today Bridgehampton. Ed.


Stop the Attacks
August 28, 2023

Dear David,

I am writing this letter in response to your editorial regarding the surf club(s) down at Ditch Plain. I have lived in Montauk for over 50 years. My family has been involved in every organization Montauk is proud to call their own. I, like so many others, have struggled as we watch our town go from an awesome fishing town to the most-popular party town on the East Coast. I have watched as large corporations have taken over property after property. I have watched my children struggle to stay in the town they were born and raised in. And I have read the Star editorials since your mother took over the paper.

I was appalled to read your editorial! Since when do you write such a story without talking to anyone involved? We are at that beach all summer long and enjoy the children laughing, learning water safety, and how to be great kids and take care of our most precious commodities, our beaches and ocean!

I, along with my family, neighbors, friends, and concerned citizens of Montauk support the programs our young adults born and raised in Montauk are running. They couldn’t be safer, run more responsibly, or be more respectful of our town.

Let’s stop the attacks and work together to ensure our children of all ages are able to enjoy the beautiful place we have all called home for many years!




Montauk’s Best
August 28, 2023

Dear David

I was disappointed to read your editorial concerning the surfing instructors, specifically targeting one local business run by two of Montauk’s best. In a time when the cost of living is out of control and it is hard enough for our true local young businessmen and women to keep their heads above water, we should be trying everything possible to support not attack them.

They have not “monopolized” any section of Ditch, quite the opposite if anyone actually walks the beach daily as I do. They keep themselves away from the crowds, tucked at the back of the beach providing a safe and secure area for their students. They give their lessons in the water where nobody goes to swim and a substantial distance away from the lifeguarded, designated swimming area where the masses gather. They block no one.

They taught both my kids how to surf and we will forever be in gratitude. On their days off I have seen them pull distressed swimmers out of the water when the lifeguards were not there; that’s the type of people they are. We should not be punishing the true hard-working locals who give so much back to the community; we should be protecting and promoting them. Please. Thank you.




Better Place
August 27, 2023

Good evening,

Passing along a note in response to this recent editorial about “Business on the Beach” published last Thursday on

There are a few inaccuracies in this editorial and that might be okay if your well-respected publication did not carry a readership that might take an editorial published like that as factual and pressure a town board to make a detrimental decision to eliminate or reduce surf lessons based on something they read in the paper. The ramifications from something like that would be unfortunate, because the effects happening from surf lessons in Montauk go beyond having a positive economic impact for the entire area but, more important, helping provide critical skills for individuals who sign up for a lesson, such as confidence building, water safety, and lifelong memories of their time in the sea.

About those inaccuracies, and the galvanizing of the town board, to my knowledge, there has never been an attempt at “taking over and blocking the beach for other users.” If anything, the beach is friendlier, more welcoming, open, and full of ocean and beach enthusiasts who value having the local instructors around and assisting a lifeguard or two on an ocean rescue.

More concerning is the bit about “Now, the public is not so sure of the town’s commitment to seeing that the regulations are followed.” I’m confident in the town’s commitment. The town does an extensive and thankless job with its enforcement efforts. This author doesn’t speak for me or many of the folks I know who visit this beach daily about how regulated the area is given its popularity on any given day. The town and Marine Patrol has enough to worry about without something so positive for the community, like surf lessons, having to be dragged to their to-do lists again. I am confident the business you are spotlighting wouldn’t mind listening and seeing how they can help with any specific concerns from the author.

As a father of two young girls who live in Montauk who swim, surf, and play at this popular beach almost daily, I am thankful for the watchful eye and community feel of having these surf lessons and instructors available at the beach.

To the author of this editorial “Business on the Beach,” there is something to be said about picking up the phone and calling someone in your community if you have an issue with them or suggestion on their business practice instead of writing a public editorial that could potentially unfairly affect them, the other small businesses who rely on surf lessons, the thousands of beach visitors, and many of the local young kids who work their summer jobs at these places. The beach is safer, more fun, and an overall better place because of this quality business and the others at this popular beach.



August 27, 2023

Dear David,

We are usually in agreement on most matters and, in fact, I frequently appreciate the point of view which you express in your editorials on many of the crucial issues facing our community.

However, I must disagree with you a bit with the position you voiced in last week’s editorial regarding surf lessons at Ditch Plain Beach. I appreciate you laying out the details of the town’s permitting regulations for surfing instructors, but what your critique missed is background and color, which in my view, once provided, defangs your criticism.

I live across the street from the beach at Ditch Plain. As such, I take advantage of its proximity by frequenting it and enjoying many of its offerings. My wife is an avid surfer and, as you can imagine, we are deep in the mix of the surfing community at this iconic surf spot and have been for many years. Actually, my wife has never spent a summer, since she was born, anywhere but Ditch Plain Beach. We are commensurately awed by the magnificent qualities of this area and very opinionated about some lamentable goings-on that are currently afflicting our beach.

The young men and women who offer surf lessons are not one of the afflictions that concern us. They are kids who grew up learning how to surf on this very beach and are now using their surfing aptitudes to provide a service much in demand and as a way to make a living so they can afford to reside here in an ever-more financially challenging housing environment.

Notwithstanding any of that, the main point I want to make is that their presence on the beach is unobtrusive. In fact, they are part of the wonderful fabric that makes up the ineffable magic that defines Ditch. They blend in with the panoply of beach inhabitants. I jog the length of the beach during the summer months. If I didn’t know who the surf instructors are, I would never know that’s what they’re doing. They are inconspicuous. They don’t get in the way of anyone. Their footprint is not any more occupying than the typical family laying out their blankets under the now popular canopy-type umbrellas.

They are not a corporate-type commercial enterprise. They are entrepreneurial but not overtly commercial. They are young people sharing a passion with kids of all ages who want to experience that same zeal. The activity puts a few dollars in the instructors’ pockets but the real dividend is the play that’s added to the atmosphere.

David, your opinion matters and is valued by many in this town, but I think on this topic, you’re looking at it from 30,000 feet high and it’s giving you a misconception that there is a problem where in fact it’s just an unprovocative homespun activity, if not a welcomed one by many.



Sad to See
August 28, 2023

Dear Editor,

I was sad to see the editorial singling out a wonderful surf camp at Ditch Plain that our son and many of his local classmates have been fortunate to attend.

Thanks to the inspiring, committed, and attentive instructors, our son has developed confidence in the ocean, and a love for surfing. That confidence is something we value hugely, being that we are year-round residents here in Montauk. We fully support their operation and would be extremely upset if they were prohibited in operating in the future.

Our son and his friends would be worse off without them, and I would feel less comfortable having him at the beach without these instructors. I hope the town will keep this in mind when taking any of this into future consideration.




Bring Back Surf Camp
August 28, 2023

To the Editor,

I hope the town can find it in their hearts to bring back East End Surf Camp next summer. Mike Poli and Pat Fallon run a fantastic operation. They and their many instructors are wonderful with the kids. Not only do they teach the kids to surf, they educate them on surfer etiquette and respecting the ocean, while providing a fun environment.

Our 10-year-old son took private surf lessons last summer but struggled in learning how to catch a wave. He had no peer group to bond and practice with and, since I do not surf, became frustrated when I tried to feebly help. He was reluctant to continue surfing. After attending surf camp this summer, our son has become an exceptional and courteous surfer. He looks forward to mornings at Ditch Plain with his East End surfing group.

East End Surf Camp is helping to create future generations of surfers that will embody the spirit of what has made Ditch Plain Beach desirable for all.

I also have to take umbrage with an inaccuracy in your editorial. The camp has not “monopolized a portion of a popular ocean beach. . . .” I have witnessed its footprint in July and as late as last week, the peak of summer beach crowds. They are far from where the mass crowds gather and do not interfere with anyone’s enjoyment of the beach. Their morning time frame for camp during the week is well before the beach gets packed. The camp is mindful.

Again, please find a mutually agreeable way for East End Surf Camp to operate next summer. It will be fruitful for all.




Very Impressed
August 28, 2023

Dear Editor,

Regarding your recent editorial “Business on the Beach,” I concur that the Town of East Hampton could be more thorough in enforcing regulations it sets forth. I diligently bring up my children to follow rules, respect authority, and be aware of safety precautions. The surf club business you referred to in your editorial exhibits the same values in this respect.

As I understand the point of your editorial may not be to undermine the skill, dedication, and confidence that they impart to kids, such as my own, I do believe you unfairly criticize a business that runs a valuable program for children!

Your opinion seems to be based on photos from a website, but as an active parent watching this surf program, I am very impressed by the positive instruction they in fact do give to kids one on one, the morale provided, and surfing etiquette and safety they teach. I support this business’s contribution to our community wholeheartedly and dare say you should find a more malevolent fish to fry.



Ruining Our Town
East Hampton
August 28, 2023

Dear David,

My husband and I have read your egregious editorial about the surf lessons at Ditch Plain. I have grown up in East Hampton my whole life, and these careless editorials are what are ruining our town. Local kids getting together with a love for the water is never a bad thing and you would tear it all apart over bright-colored rash guards?

Had you actually done research into any of the things you had accused them of in your editorial, you would have realized you didn’t have a story at all. They always have a check-in list when we arrive at the beach and so one would be available if asked for. They also divide the kids in the water, so while some are surfing with one-on-one instruction others are playing on the beach. I have sent my 10 and 6-year-old children for the last two years and I can tell you firsthand, safety is their primary focus. Again, had you done any research instead of just complaining, you would know this.

There are much more concerning issues going on in our towns I’m sure you could actually do some research into and write about instead of tearing apart the few fun things our children have left in this community.

Please try to do better as a journalist for our community.



Needs to Be Discussed
August 28, 2023

Dear David,

In response to your editorial on Aug. 24 “Business on the Beach,” I would like to offer my personal perspective on the group surf lessons taking place on Ditch Plain Beach only a few steps from my year-round home. I believe your editorial brings up an important point that needs to be discussed, albeit it probably isn’t the one you were hoping for.

As a parent of a young child who has attended surf lessons with East End Surf Club, I feel that the town should reconsider its position on surf camps in general. Personally, I feel that the location of East End Surf on the far west end of the beach does not impinge on the vast majority of beachgoers at Ditch. Nor do they step on the toes of their competitors.

To your point, the fact that the number of children participating has raised your eyebrow further supports the need for such programs in our area. Camp options in general are limited locally and being able to have our children enjoy surfing while in a safe environment has proven to be wonderful for our family in addition to many other local families this summer.

Coming from a family of surfers, I understand that the more crowded the beach and the lineup, the more inconvenienced everyone is. However, people are learning to surf either way. At least when done with proper instruction on safety and etiquette the chaos can be as organized as possible. This is particularly important when talking about children.

I would implore the town to revisit its code and work with the community and the surf schools to designate specific areas and safety restrictions around camps, but nonetheless consider allowing a restricted number of them a season as they are truly a positive and life-changing experience for our young.

When done correctly, what the instructors at these surf schools instill in the children is a love for our community’s greatest resource, the ocean. Pat and Mike of East End Surf Club specifically have been respectful and forthcoming in wanting to pass their love for the ocean on to the next generation, and, as a parent, I feel grateful to have the opportunity for my daughter and her peers to learn from them.

I hope your editorial brings this to the forefront of the town’s attention and they revisit their current restrictions to meet the needs of its residents’ families.




August 28, 2023

To the Editor,

A neighbor told me this weekend they decided we should rename the geocubes here the Rocks of Bay View, then added, “Just like the Rocks of Bay View, the town, they don’t move.”

Still here,



Every Critical Service
August 27, 2023

Dear David,

In 1956, the state established the New York State Health Insurance Plan for active and retired state employees. Since the inception of the plan, the state has contributed to both active employees’ and retirees’ NYSHIP premium costs. Before 1983, the state, pursuant to a state statute, paid 100 percent of both employees’ and retirees’ costs for individual coverage and 75 percent of their costs for dependent coverage. In 1982, the state and the unions representing state employees negotiated a reduction of the state’s contribution rate for individual coverage from 100 percent to 90 percent and 75 percent of the cost of premium charges for the coverage of dependents. The collective bargaining agreements did not expressly address the state’s contribution rates for retirees or the terms of the coverage. The State Legislature, after that, amended New York Civil Service Law to codify the negotiated contribution rates. From that point forward, for 30 years, there was no change.

Over the past two decades, I have represented the members of the state’s fifth-biggest police union in Albany. As a state-level union president, I had to protect active and retired members’ health insurance against the state’s attempts to diminish those negotiated benefits. In 2012, under Governor Cuomo’s direction, the Division of Budget departed from 30 years of past practice by decreasing all state and municipal public employee retiree benefits by sneaking a provision in another state labor union pay bill legislation without them knowing it. Myself and all the state level unions sued Governor Cuomo and the state in what was to be known as Donohue v. Cuomo. Unfortunately, after years of litigation and appeals, we lost in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Last year, Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul pursued a dramatic diminishment of public retired employee benefits. Since my retirement, I founded Accabonac Strategies, a governmental relations firm. I was retained to draft legislation and develop strategies to execute adoption to oppose Governor Hochul’s recent NYSHIP changes. Running on a similar track, another lobbyist was retained to fight Mayor Adams’s proposal to move New York City public employee retirees off their health insurance to an inferior Medicare Advantage plan. As both issues ran parallel paths, we have collaborated to prevent these assaults on state, city, and municipal retired public employees.

As a Suffolk County legislator, I will never abandon public employees and advocate to protect the integrity of their collective bargaining agreements and the New York State “Taylor Law.”

In government, the only assets are the employees, who perform every critical service the government provides for our communities. I will also bring decades of legislative and governmental experience analyzing government budgets, researching and developing legislation, and implementing adopted policies. These and many other skills will be critical to serving the residents of the South Fork, and this is why I ask for a vote on Election Day.

If you have any questions about the above, please feel free to contact me by text to 631-324-0528 or email

[email protected]



Beyond Useless
East Hampton
August 28, 2023


Watching the Republican debate last week made me think that a debate primer is absolutely essential. Keys to watching a debate and making sense out of the nonsense. Politics is always about sex and money. “When talking to a politician always protect your wallet and your privates.” (Possibly Andy Warhol.)

When a candidate mentions two or more of the following subjects he or she is automatically erased from the stage. One: America is the greatest country in the world. So? Two: I am a Christian, Jew, etc. Refusing to accept the bad with the good. Three: I am 100 percent pro life. A moronic fantasy that means anti-abortion but not against war, killing, etc., etc. Four: I served my country in a war. Why is no one else bragging about it? Five: I’ll lower your taxes — if you are rich or a corporation. Six: crime and the rule of law. Seven: Blaming George Soros for the state of the country, Soros is 120 years old, a self-made Jewish capitalist who is virulently anti-fascist, never benefits financially from his political donations. (See Koch brothers.)

So, seven men and one woman onstage. The question asked: During the Trump administration the deficit grew by $7.8 trillion apart from Covid? Only Nikki Haley said the idea of Republicans lowering the deficit is a myth. Christie nodded; the others got down on a knee. Haley was clearly the best except for a couple of had-to-say party line rantings.

Would you elect a convicted felon for president? Six of the eight candidates disqualified themselves by answering yes. A simple no-brainer: No rule of law no democracy. Unless a new form of government is being proposed.

Pence mentioned Jesus four times and our greatness six times. Robotic and brain-dead, he has emotional and sexual issues that are obvious to the naked eye. Examining his issues would take up the entire Letters section.

DeSantis mentioned his time in Iraq 15 times but didn’t say that he was a supply officer, God two times, his brilliance during Covid six times, and our greatness three times, George Soros two times. He seemed small onstage; he made himself even smaller during the debate. He has the spontaneity of a dead possum. He believes that every state should do what it wants during a pandemic.

Ramaswamy disrespected everyone onstage and seemed to have ideas about everything but knowledge of nothing. He appeared to be a village idiot who wandered onto the wrong stage. The three small-state governors didn’t have much to say and weren’t terribly interesting. The feeling is that they would be even less interesting in real life than they were onstage. Christie never got untracked. I would give him a pass because he is smarter than he showed and might be a valid candidate.

So, for the next debate Haley and Christie should battle it out. The other six should go away. Trump, who threatened the government and doesn’t believe in the Constitution, forfeited his right to participate in the process.

While a two-party system is better for the country, the Republicans can no longer exist without an extended treatment of high colonics. The flow of excrement is clogging their nostrils and their brains. Beyond useless means dangerous.


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