Last Days of August
September 4, 2023
It seemed fitting. The sunsets of the last days of August had been brilliantly beautiful, casting a golden glow from horizon to shore. And the quotidian moon in its rare and magical phase shone on the final days of Jimmy Buffett. Nature herself was putting on a show, honoring the man who all his life put joy and laughter and poetry and love into this world. Through his words and music, his epic performances, his incredible grace and generosity, he made the world better, made us all happier, and gave us wanderlust.
Sail on, Jimmy, our love and gratitude the wind in your sails.
September 8, 2023
As the summer draws to a close, it is time to reflect on the joy of living in East Hampton. Every summer here is wonderful, but this summer was hands down the best.
I am a senior citizen who enjoys everything East Hampton has to offer. Unfortunately I am not able to walk on the beach due to health issues. However I was able to enjoy the beach every day by sitting on the Main Beach deck. It is there that I met a group of a variety of people that have become dear friends. Our group keeps getting bigger as more people join us. I look forward to spending time with them late into each day.
In addition, the beach staff (the folks running the operation without a hitch), the youngsters who kept it clean and Susan and her staff at the Beach Hut kept me happy and well fed. Kudos to all of them!
As the autumn chill becomes more prevalent and the snowbirds leave for warmer climes, last summer’s memories will keep me warm until the umbrellas and chairs appear next May.
September 8, 2023
To the Editor,
I just read in The East Hampton Star that lanternflies have made it to eastern Long Island. One possible cause is that the pickup spot for the Hampton Jitney on East 40th street and Third Avenue in Manhattan was completely infested with them when I was waiting for the bus on Tuesday. The sidewalk had literally dozens of them jumping on to people’s luggage, etc.
The Hampton Jitney moves thousands of people a day from Manhattan to many locations on eastern Long Island. I would suggest the Jitney pick-up location should get high priority for eradication.
‘They’ Came Anyway
September 11, 2023
While my father was a member of the New York State Assembly (1960-1978), both the monies were appropriated and the right of way secured for an extension of the Sunrise Highway. The proposed roadbed would have gone north of the towns from Water Mill to Amagansett, and tie into Montauk Highway just before the Napeague stretch.
All systems were go, but in the 11th hour there was a hue and cry that a) if you extend the Sunrise Highway “they will come,” and b) merchants from Southampton to East Hampton will lose potential revenue if travelers do not pass by their businesses on the way east. The proposed extension never happened.
As to the “they will come” theory, “they” came anyway, and now we are left with an overburdened and antiquated road system. And regarding the loss of business along the existing Route 27, Southampton Village today is a lovely place to shop and browse with multiple access points off of County Road 39, a.k.a. the Southampton bypass.
Long-range infrastructure planning has never been a strong suit on the East End, witness the proposal by Montauk Improvement in the 1950s to build a sewage treatment plant on the west side of Lake Montauk and sell the same to East Hampton Town for 25 cents on the dollar — an offer that was never accepted by town fathers.
Water Mill, Bridgehampton, Wainscott, and East Hampton must now live with the visual pollution of excess motor traffic and agonizing drive times, with no fix in sight.
PERRY DURYEA III
We Call Speed Limits
East Hampton Village
September 7, 2023
To the Editor:
Your editorial on the curse of too much traffic on the East End, particularly in its towns and villages, is most welcome and truly important. I must however point out that there was no discussion of a simpler form of traffic control we call speed limits. Certainly now the majority of cars on our roadways drive at speeds far over our posted limits. Surely some points demand the kind of radar, along with the posted limits, that automatically sends speeding fines to the guilty. I don’t think this would change a great deal but it might help.
Another issue is the danger of street crossings, particularly of the main thoroughfare in Amagansett. Surely there should be at least one more pedestrian crossing there, I think at the west end of the village, where a steady stream of speeding cars comes barreling over the rise in the highway just before the town. I also think that the speed limits should be lowered all the way from Brent’s, though I know that this is almost impossible to do on state highways.
One wonders whether some of our most expensive residential streets near the ocean can actually keep up their real estate values when one experiences the traffic on them.
I haven’t begun to list the trouble spots. And the one thing I can say about the smarmily named trade parade is that at least they are not generally speeding. Many however make up for that when they get into the town and villages.
September 10, 2023
My in-laws, who live in Montauk, attended the citizens advisory committee meeting in Montauk Monday night, where the committee recommended to support the Concerned Citizens of Montauk’s project to remove invasive floral species from Old Montauk Highway to effect better views, predominantly for automobiles, and to procure environmental grant funding along with other public agency dollars to finance it.
I’m dumbfounded that precious environmental funds could be used in a not-so-well-veiled vanity project, when the docks, the upper Lake Montauk, and Fort Pond have irreducible water pollution problems in need of mitigation spending sourced from agencies.
History will lump this folly with Lady Bird Johnson’s 1965 Highway Beautification Act, rather than with the Clean Water Act of 1972, the genesis of the American environmental movement.
Stop playing house and get real.
Left as Tinder
September 7, 2023
The dead trees on Napeague on the stretch need to be managed and not just left as tinder waiting for an accident to happen like it did in Maui. The initial attempt to address the infestation issue was not successful (if not misguided), allowing it to continue to spread, now covering hundreds of acres and soon thousands of acres with many homes within the area impacted.
There has been plenty of time to address this issue. What will it take — another conflagration with millions in property damage and vulnerability to coastal erosion? It is frustrating when people are worried about everybody else’s business (Ditch surfing instructors is a recent example) but ignore an obviously dangerous situation that is looming. Act before it is too late!
Stealing Our Health
September 5, 2023
After decades dodging it, I finally came down with Lyme disease. I never even saw the tick. But strange neurological symptoms — pins and needles in my feet and then creeping up my legs — baffled me. Other causes were ruled out. I started doxy. My son called from upstate. He’d been sick for 10 days — headaches, fatigue, muscle, and joint pains. His test came back positive for Lyme.
This is our local version of what The Washington Post called “a new global wave of disease and death linked to climate change.” Malaria is on the northward march. Dengue and Zika are coming to join West Nile virus — it’s only a matter of time. Wildfire smoke causes heart disease, dementia, permanent lung damage. This is the coolest summer of the rest of our lives, and people are dropping like flies from heat stroke.
We don’t have to let the fossil fuel barons trade our health for their short-term profits. You can use the Inflation Reduction Act to help pay for your switch to heat pumps for heating and cooling your home. You can tell Governor Hochul to sign the New York HEAT Act so that no new fracked gas pipelines are put in — and you’ll save ratepayers the millions of dollars they spend on subsidizing their (and our) own destruction. (The act also caps home energy bills at 6 percent of income for low and moderate income ratepayers.) And you can go to the March to End Fossil Fuels in New York City on Sunday. There’s a big contingent from Long Island.
We need to act now to end the fossil fuel scam that’s stealing our health and our future.
National Pick-Up Day
September 7, 2023
Does the growing litter problem in East Hampton bug you? Here’s your chance to really make a dent in it. East Hampton is participating in National CleanUp Day by proclaiming Saturday an official “pick-up” day townwide.
While many groups are joining the East Hampton Litter Action Committee in what we hope will be a spectacular cleanup day, we urge all of our neighbors and residents to get out there and pick something up. If you’re an Adopt-A-Road member this is a perfect day to do it.
Everyone, it’s a day to get out on your street, favorite walk, or beach and clean it up. Don’t pass up that bottle and chip bag you see, pick it up. If we each picked up just one piece of litter, what an incredible impact this would make. Also seeing others pick up trash sends a message and inspires others to do so — it says so in scientific journals!
We are so looking forward to seeing how clean and beautiful East Hampton will look on Saturday, so get out there and pick something up.
East Hampton Town Litter Action Committee
At the Cut
September 5, 2023
To the Editor,
It is my understanding that Mecox Cut is owned by the public and managed by the Town of Southampton. Like formally designated parklands, such as Cedar Point and Montauk State Park, the cut provides public access to the water and opportunities are open to everyone to swim, fish, take walks, have a picnic, and, like these two parks, serves as habitat for birds and wildlife. Chris Gangemi of The Star states that migratory shorebirds and waterfowl breed, feed, and rest at the cut and that some are rare and or endangered.
The cut differs from these two parks in that irresponsible dog owners let their dogs loose to run free. The dogs occasionally harass the birds and often approach other beachgoers. At the same time, the town does little to deter tailgate parties. Sport utility vehicles and trucks bunched on the beach at the cut on summer evenings are out of scale and wreck the viewscape of beach and ocean. Three days ago, a truck was parked in a restricted area that has been designated as important bird habitat since the spring by the town and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Mecox Cut has always been a joy to visit and, as Mr. Gangemi has described, of importance to multiple populations of migratory birds. It’s time to acknowledge the cut’s importance by upping efforts to keep these values intact into the future.
It’s About the Decibels
September 9, 2023
To the Editor:
I am writing regarding the article in The East Hampton Star on Aug. 24 titled “Rabbi Alleges Antisemitism in Pavilion Opposition.” It describes a dispute between the Jewish Center of the Hamptons and a group of neighbors over a proposed outdoor pavilion with an amplification system.
I am Jewish and was an enthusiastic member of the Jewish Center of the Hamptons for many years. I am appalled that an issue so clearly about noise levels in a residential neighborhood could be twisted into anything remotely resembling antisemitism. I have not seen the letter from a non-Jewish neighbor that offended Rabbi Franklin, but the rabbi’s statements quoted in your article about the letter, specifically about the excerpts from the letter in your article, are disturbing. I have reread your article several times and cannot find “veiled Jew hatred” that the rabbi ascribes to the letter’s author.
I also note that the neighbors, at least one of whom (who spoke at the hearing) is Jewish, are not objecting to Jewish religious services in the proposed structure, only to special events with live music at high decibel levels. It seems to me that events with loud live music of any religious or ethnic group, even if the affair is simple and sedate, would be problematic in a residential neighborhood. It’s about the decibels, not the religion.
Based on the facts in your article, I find the rabbi’s claim of antisemitism unfounded. Allegations like these, especially by esteemed Jewish leaders, are, ironically, hurtful to Jews.
CLAUDIA ZEITZ POSTER
The 1978 Debacle
September 11, 2023
The story last week about 100 years of Bonac football contained flagrant omissions, if not errors. East Hampton’s first football season was in 1923. So why didn’t you report that 2023 is the 101st season and that this year’s squad is the 101st team in East Hampton High School history?
Without mentioning it directly, The Star’s fuzzy math seemed to passively allude to 1978, the year a thrice-defeated school budget caused austerity that canceled all sports. The football team, which had practiced for a month and was expected to contend for a county championship, disbanded without playing a game following the 907-to-827 defeat of the 1978-79 budget on Sept. 14, 1978.
The “mad as hell” anti-tax rhetoric of the grotesque California windbag Howard Jarvis –- proponent of Proposition 13 — had blown east. It ignited the demagoguery of a Southampton pastor, Don Havrilla, a vile, MAGA-like preacher. A few East Hampton congregants embraced his anti-government crusade, targeting the only public-agency spending requiring voter approval: school budgets.
Vitriolic opposition to educational expenditures spread feverishly through town, especially in letters to The Star. The budget went down in the spring. So did a trimmed-down version presented in August. An unprecedented third vote was set for September after school started. Self-described “Lone Defender” Alex Dzieman wrote on Aug. 31 that “sports and other nonessentials” were unaffordable luxuries.
Chester Baylis railed that “fluorescent lights” were left on in the high school’s empty cafeteria. Fluorescent bulbs “are costly to operate and replace. . . . It’s very disturbing for us taxpayers to scrimp and save and maintain our homes and see our tax money wasted.”
But two senior classmates, Meg Cummings and Hilary Osborn, wrote that same day that austerity would reduce taxes by less than $30 per household. Their research stood undisputed.
When people who lived outside the East Hampton School District boundaries signed petitions supporting the budget, an anti-taxer, Wilbur Hung, assailed it as a worthless stunt that desperate school administrators, trying to retain power, orchestrated. It didn’t help when the board presented exactly the same budget to voters in September that they rejected in August. Defeat seemed inevitable.
At practice just hours before the polls closed, Coach Dick Cooney said it might be the last time we were together. He divided the seniors into teams and let us play as close to real football as we’d get.
Blowing off school the next morning, seniors drank Budweisers at Georgica Beach, cursing the supposedly idyllic place — “America’s Most Beautiful Village” — and people — salt-of-the-earth Bonackers — that betrayed them.
Austerity ended more than football. The band, school play, newspaper, and clubs vanished. Bitterness abounded. “Fuck this place” was often uttered.
Unlike Wainscott’s current situation, donations to salvage some sports and programs were disallowed. The Rev. Fred Schulz was the only school board member to advocate for outside funding even if it couldn’t support everything, saying bad breath was better than no breath.
None of the current educational trends — social-emotional health, equity, well-being — factored in. Suck it up, the class of 1979 was told. You might not get into the colleges you want because your application lacks extracurriculars? There’s always the mediocrity of the State University of New York or Suffolk Community College.
As I once wrote in a Star “Guestwords” piece about 1978 austerity, I’d have left the bench only to pull splinters from my ass; I was a terrible football player. But our team had outstanding talent, plus something rare for East Hampton High School: size. Massive offensive and defensive lines with horses like Bobby Miller, Rocky Stone, Jim Fischer, and Peter Steckowski. Tri-Captains John Ecker, Steven Leese, and Rick Slater seemed destined for college scholarships. Slater was as good a defensive back as any who’s played for Bonac.
Austerity also kept East Hampton from giving Herrick Park — a field in the middle of a bucolic village — a proper last year as Long Island’s finest football venue. The 1978 season was to be its last before games moved to Long Lane, ending an incredible creation of community. But Herrick, where old Eddie Schenck bellowed, “Let’s go, Bonac,” from the Newtown Lane end zone, where the working men who lined the snow fence behind the home bench slipped away at halftime for shots and beers at Lyons, where Billy McDonald became a high-school All-American on his way to Vanderbilt University, where Peter Bistrian plowed through defenders on long touchdown runs, where Joe Cooper dominated, got no goodbye. Ancient days, yes. To be forgotten, no.
Your father editorialized for the budget’s passage, a position he took despite the anti-tax-and-lightbulbs crowd’s criticism. He was a newspaperman. But I often find the modern Star’s reportage oddly off kilter. Your grandfather, father, and mother ran tighter shops. I doubt they’d have published a story about the years of Bonac football that omitted the 1978 debacle.
No complete history of the maroon and gray can ignore the team they wouldn’t let play.
September 10, 2023
Dear East Hampton Star,
As a 12-year-old local (lifelong) resident of Montauk, I would like to inform you that the East End Surf Club has not monopolized the beach in any way. I have been surfing with them since I was 8 years old and have not seen a problem with anything the East End Surf Club does as stated in your editorial “Business on the Beach.” In your commentary you describe hanging wetsuits as blocking the view of the beach and their “tent” that is no bigger than two or maybe even one umbrella but at the end of the day, it is nothing compared to the insane number of umbrellas the hotels have laid out on the public beaches that completely don’t allow you to see the other side of the beach and are located right at the entrance of the beaches. East End Surf Club goes the extra distance to remain tucked away and hidden so they don’t interfere with anyone else on the beach.
More important, why on earth would you try to cancel the East End Surf Club? They teach children how to safely surf and have taught me more water safety and ocean respect than any other water or swimming lesson I’ve ever had. The instructors are expert surfers, awesome local families, teachers in our school, well-trained instructors, and make Ditch a safer surfing option for everyone around. For example, younger and less experienced kids get to surf on a sandbar that is easy to stand on and they always have two kids per instructor. Instructors push and pull two boards at a time and lift kids over waves that pose a threat to make sure everyone is safe, learning, and having fun.
As a local kid it makes me really sad that a local paper would go to such trouble to try and ruin one of the last few locally owned businesses that brings such joy, knowledge, and safety to local kids and visitors. There are a lot of terrible new things happening in Montauk; please focus on those instead.
The Aug 24 editorial highlighted East Hampton Town officials’ not enforcing a permit to operate on the public beach that was agreed to by both the town board and East End Surf Club. Among the permit terms was that instruction had to be one on one. Tents of any size are banned on East Hampton Town beaches, with the exception of those required by Suffolk County regulation for food preparation. Ed.
Feeling the Effects
September 11, 2023
When East Hampton reaches its full buildout, where every housing unit is legally developed, the result will be a cap on any further dwelling opportunities except for affordable housing units. For example, an existing residential home may have an attached or detached affordable unit meeting all town requirements. That number is limited by hamlet.
Despite what some may think, East Hampton does have an adopted cap on residential development. That cap is found in the comprehensive plan goals and regulations in our zoning code and zoning map, which set the residential buildout limit after all zoned land allowing legal dwellings is developed. That is the cap.
The East Hampton Town Zoning Code and Zoning Map have set the cap on development to reflect the goals of the comprehensive plan after input from many public hearings, planning professionals, and agencies. After adoption by the town board, those limits were then court challenged but upheld. These legal documents are the arbiters of the carrying capacity for development in East Hampton.
There have been many complaints recently that East Hampton is already feeling the negative effects of too much traffic, noise, prolific crowds, and general stress on our fragile environment and historic community character.
The good news is there has also been talk lately that East Hampton is very close to that buildout cap. So now some developers want to increase opportunities for even more cash cow housing units by changing our zoning code limits on development through raising height restrictions on condominiums in the resort zone, threatening a Miami of the North.
Another attempt to evade the development cap is the number of bedrooms now allowed after teardowns of smaller homes that are then replaced by building McMansions throughout our community. More development means more sewage, more energy for heat and air-conditioning, and more traffic generation.
The large lots created by the zoning code in order to reduce harmful impacts on our farmland, waterways, and only source of drinking water in the aquifer beneath us are now mostly developed. So developers are moving into small-lot neighborhoods in order to buy out local families who cannot afford the soaring prices for real estate. Down goes the small, year-round home and up go the McMansions that are also changing East Hampton’s historic character and sense of fragile beauty. The goal of the recently formed planning and zoning committee to assess and solve this problem is a wise move by the town board.
We love and live in a vulnerable, constrained low-lying narrow island 100 miles out to sea surrounded by the rising waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound with nowhere to evacuate if hit by increasingly powerful hurricanes or a raging fire in our dry woodlands. The current cap on residential dwellings must not be increased.
There is only one aquifer, the sole source of our drinking water, already showing signs of pollution, no place to divert traffic, (the next stop is Portugal), and no sewage waste treatment plant.
There is a local election this November. Tell those running for the town board that they must not succumb to developers’ pressure to exceed the town’s adopted and court-upheld limits on harmful development. Hold the line.
About the Case
September 9, 2023
To the Editor:
As you reported on the front page of your last issue, Justice Paul Baisley, just as he retired on Aug. 30, referred an attorney, Daniel Rodgers, who represents fishermen in the Truck Beach case, to the grievance committee for a disciplinary investigation. Remarkably, he did it for statements Mr. Rodgers had made about the case and the court, as reported in local newspapers.
The Supreme Court case of Wood v. Georgia, 370 U.S. 375 (1962) involved a local sheriff held in contempt for a press release criticizing a local court proceeding in far more assertive language than Mr. Rogers used. The court, invoking the First Amendment, held, “Men are entitled to speak as they please on matters vital to them; errors in judgment or unsubstantiated opinions may be exposed, of course, but not through punishment for contempt for the expression. Under our system of government, counterargument and education are the weapons available to expose these matters, not abridgment of the rights of free speech and assembly.”
Judge Baisley was likely aware that a contempt proceeding for Mr. Rodgers’s statements to the press — the usual way of punishing behavior during court proceedings — would raise very controversial issues. He appears to have short-circuited this by referring Mr. Rodgers to the disciplinary committee instead.
The disciplinary committee’s activity almost exclusively involves attorneys who stole money — or have a pervasive history of disregard and carelessness resulting in harm to clients. Very occasionally, there is a case involving disruptive speech in court, as when an attorney repeatedly shouts at a judge, preventing a trial from proceeding. Referring Dan Rodgers for First Amendment-protected statements made outside of court was extraordinary — and highly inappropriate.
For democracy in East Hampton,
September 14, 2023
To the Editor,
In Feb. 2021, the New York Appellate Court issued a two-pronged decision: They held for oceanfront homeowners along Napeague who claimed ownership of a stretch of sand beach. They also held against the homeowners who had asked the court to extinguish a reservation that granted access to the public to fish on the same beach. The court said they own the beach, but the public has a right to use the beach, akin to a property easement.
Not satisfied, the homeowners went to court and asked for an injunction in June 2021 requiring the Town of East Hampton to actively prohibit and prevent the driving of all vehicles on their beach. They succeeded and received an injunction that now required the town police to actively protect their property from trespassers. I don’t know of any property owners in East Hampton who receive that type of public service.
When local commercial fishermen drove on the beach soon after in protest, the homeowners refused to cooperate with the town police and file a complaint for trespass. When the fishermen drove on the beach a second time in Oct. 2021, the homeowners again refused to cooperate with police. The police, in an effort to abide by the very injunction the homeowners requested, wrote the summonses anyway.
When the trespass cases came to court, the homeowners adamantly refused to cooperate with the prosecutor and appear in court. The charges were dismissed. All this injunctive kerfuffle, all on the taxpayer’s dime. The police, the court, the district attorney, etc.
The homeowners, still not satisfied, went to court and asked that the town and trustees be held in contempt of court for, you guessed it, failing to abide by the injunction the homeowners requested. You just can’t make this shit up.
The town and trustees were held in criminal and civil contempt and ordered to pay nearly a million dollars in the homeowners’ legal fees and additional fines, and yes, paid presumably by you, the taxpayers.
The homeowners steadfastly refuse to accept the tools available to all other citizens when dealing with a trespass complaint: Call the police and file a complaint.
Two tiers of justice.
DANIEL G. RODGERS
The writer, Daniel G. Rodgers, represented the commercial fishermen in the trespassing case. Ed.
September 11, 2023
Let’s consider lawyer misconduct. We note that right here in East Hampton, a historic island community where fishing the waters has been an important livelihood and recreation for over 300 years, we saw soon-to-be retired New York State Supreme Court Justice Paul Baisley Jr. challenge the career of a respected attorney, Daniel Rodgers, for vigorously defending and otherwise representing local fishing families — pro bono, actually.
Judicial activism perhaps, or perhaps worse: Is it actual judicial misconduct? Let’s face it, if Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito can get away with their obvious conflicting interests, and even actual United States Supreme Court rule breaking, why can’t a little old New York State Supreme Court justice bend the rules as well? Isn’t this vindictive retaliation?
Simple answer is that good, innocent people get hurt in favor of the wealthy, who can easily part with gobs of money and favors in exchange for friendly legal treatment.
The fishermen’s lawyer here is being accused of being unfit for practice. How about all those “lawyers” who represented the ex-president of the United States and his gang, knowingly promoting lies and illegal schemes?
These situations are aberrant ethically. They smack of classic corruption at its roots. Our citizens have the right to, and deserve, strong, effective representation, especially when their fishing rights were established so far back in settlement history.
Money talks a lot today, but it should not be so loud that unjust decisions get favor. Ethics today can’t be left to a personal whim. We need clear rules with honest enforcement, even for Supreme Court justices.
With hope for the return of ethics,
September 10, 2023
To the Editor,
It is hurricane season, and we must be prepared to protect our home. A letter was sent previously to homeowners from the Town of East Hampton that we affectionately call “the Kim Shaw/Larry Cantwell letter.” This told us water touched our home during Superstorm Sandy. It did not, but nonetheless the town must believe it to be so. To use this rationale, we need “emergency activities” to be activated.
We would now like to put up a geotextile protective structure, and, since the code has not changed yet, we should be able to build to the midline. Why not? Which, oddly enough, our deed passed down to us says we own, as an ancestor or descendant. I would think we’d like to get this done immediately as time is of the essence.
In my opinion, we do not require the Department of Environmental Conservation, as we are outside their jurisdiction. Which means we can expedite this. We don’t need the Building Department since we can just make the structure six feet or less tall. Which also means we shouldn’t need a natural resources special permit. I guess we need no one’s permission but our own.
Furthermore, a homeowner’s attorney who blocks Bay View Avenue wanted to remind the town last April about the trustees’ 1910 relinquishment of the high-water mark. This means I should reclaim what I was always told is ours since birth and all the lots after my home to the water. How quick would the town come to take any action? The over-under has been established at five years now.
Still Want to Serve
September 8, 2023
To the Editor,
A friend recently asked why I want to be in the next Suffolk County Legislature. I was humbled by the fact that they appreciated my 38 years of public service on the State Parks Police, as president of the Police Benevolent Association of New York State, and as a volunteer with the Springs and Montauk Fire Departments.
My reply was simple. At this point in my life, I don’t need the money, the pension, or benefits, and, because of that fact, I am unencumbered and free to ask the tough questions and make the tough decisions. I am not ready to retire; I still want to serve the public and the community I love.
I am fortunate to have had a fantastic career that brought me to the highest levels of state government. The depth of my years of experience in government as president of New York’s fifth-biggest police union made me one of 11 state-level union presidents. It allowed me to see and be a part of governmental business, rarely seen by most non-elected individuals in government. From complex state budgets, the legislative process, coalition building, collective bargaining, public safety, the criminal justice system, and government operations from emergencies to essential functions. Through the years, I have had my hands in so much I could speak for hours.
One of the saddest points in my career was the attack on September 11. Over many weeks, starting on 9/11, I was involved in the rescue and recovery response both on and off duty. Since that horrible day, over the remainder of my career, I spent an unmeasurable amount of time lobbying for legislation to protect first responders and provide for their families when their lives were debilitated or cut short by one of the many illnesses caused by their response.
This is why I want to be (if you will have me) your next Suffolk County legislator. This November, I would be honored to have your vote. Please remember those who perished on 9/11 and those who still suffer.
September 11, 2023
While President Biden talks out of two sides of his mouth, he lies and gaffes beyond his own control. Delivering a speech in Philadelphia, he claims to make the economy work for people like you and me, but then he called for more one-size-fits-all government mandates that will destroy jobs and will lower wages.
We are hurting from a stumbling economy, stubborn inflation and wages barely keeping up with everyday price hikes. We need to give workers the freedom and flexibility that will lead us to a brighter future.
We need the Employee Rights Act, this is a bill of the utmost importance for pro-worker legislation in at least 60 years. The sooner Congress rallies around this act, the sooner we get out of the past and move past the Biden economy, the sooner we’ll empower workers to rise, thrive, and achieve their own American dream.
In God and country,
Burning, Banning Books
September 11, 2023
In the political world, when we run out of imagination and ideas we look back to the past for inspiration (uniquely un-American). So, given the state of our political universe, it is not surprising that burning and banning books — B.B.B. — became the go-to strategy. A pattern of frustration, anger, righteous indignation requires an outlet. The lack of intellectual acuity coupled with a tinge of religious misdirection culminated in some form of B.B.B. History, common sense, and a gazillion other things tell us that there are two kinds of people who ban and burn books: morons and vicious morons. The second group being not just dumb but looking to inflict pain.
What we don’t know doesn’t hurt us. Nobody dies from knowledge. Did Covid really happen?
What’s great about B.B.B. is that it’s cheap and easy and gives people something to be angry at with a minimal amount of damage. A can of kerosene and a match and, voila. Compared to housing, jobs, health care, and other costly complicated actions, B.B.B. is God-sent.
All these states passing laws about sexual content and slavery and transgender stuff is mind boggling. Bridges, tunnels, and roads are collapsing, people are starving and living in the streets, our water supply is disappearing, pharmaceutical companies are poisoning and raping the population, and the only bills they pass are around B.B.B.
Except that kids don’t read all that much. There aren’t enough transgender kids to fill up a classroom. The Tooth Fairy isn’t gay. Does it have anything to do with the kids? So what’s the point?
On a more serious level, what do we do about Trumpian pussy grabbers? Do we tell little girls it’s really not so bad? Or do we tell little boys to keep their hands in their own pants? What about Supreme Court justices who have been accused of sexual violence? Keep the kids out of the courtroom. Or the tons of clerical predators? No kids under 18 allowed in church.
Child sexual and trauma safety laws. No books? TVs? Computers? Newspapers? How can we ban Shakespeare and not Donald Trump? How many times a day can we watch Barbie? How little do we trust our own influence on our kids? How are babies made? Virgin births? Do we bring back the stork story?
If we sanitize our history books by deleting references to slavery and the Indigenous-people genocide, the atrocities committed in Latin America causing our immigration problem, the senseless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam, are we not creating a Barbie world? In our Trumpian universe does a vagina exist to be abused? What do all these events share in common? The victims weren’t white or Christian?
Since we live in America, we need to understand what happened to the 16 million Indigenous people who lived here before we arrived. Don’t our kids need to know about the wars, the diseases, the broken treaties, and the massacres so that they won’t repeat these atrocities again? The Indigenous kids weren’t too young — to die or get raped or get poisoned. Maybe our kids won’t grow up to commit these crimes or B.B.B. if they know our true history? Obviously, their parents never figured that out.
So enough of the fake religious morality and piety. If you need to vent your frustrations, take your favorite blow-up doll to the garage and give it a good pounding. Give the kids a break. They probably need one.