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Letters to the Editor for March 28, 2024

Wed, 03/27/2024 - 18:13

The Haulseiners
March 19, 2024

To The East Hampton Star,

I don’t think I ever saw the haulseiners at work, but I do have a memory of them. Often enough a walk on the beach at Hither Hills camping ground in the mid-1950s would reveal that they had been there. First there were the large tire tracks left by their rigs, tire tracks on the beach not being so common back then. Then there were the “junk” fish left behind for the gulls. Mostly sea robins, maybe a few horseshoe crabs, and a few skate, which I think are no longer considered “junk” fish. So, we knew they had been there even if rarely or never seen.




Mini Dictatorship
East Hampton
March 25, 2024

To the Editor,

Voters in East Hampton Village need to be aware of how Mayor Jerry Larsen has treated the 23 volunteers who left the East Hampton Village Ambulance Association when it was absorbed against the group’s will into the municipality. The village board is equally at fault for not having the heart or common sense to stand up to stop this debacle.

The volunteers who were kicked to the curb are the heart and soul of East Hampton, people who gave years of dedicated and selfless service, giving up weekends and evenings to training, giving up Christmases and leaving family dinners, spending countless nights without sleep to help their community in circumstances that are often traumatic.

We are still being called names and having our character insulted by our own mayor. What happened wasn’t a “coup” engineered by a few disgruntled crazy people who left the ambulance service for “power” motives, as the mayor weirdly alleged in his recent letter to the editor.

What really happened was that, a year ago, the vast majority of E.H.V.A.A. members voted to remain an independent nonprofit organization, rather than becoming part of the municipality as the mayor wished. (Why did he want to take us over in the first place? “For power reasons,” to use his own language.)

These are the facts: As of early 2023, the ambulance association had 32 official voting members, and 27 of them met on Pantigo Road on May 15 and voted unanimously to legally challenge the mayor’s bizarre takeover plan, which we considered an illegal overreach of government, and to dismiss our then-chiefs, Mary Mott and Mary Ellen McGuire (because those officers were among the few members who wanted to go along with the mayor and we felt they no longer represented our membership’s views).

You might ask why E.H.V.A.A. met on Pantigo Road that day, rather than at the emergency-services building on Cedar Street? Because we had been locked out of 1 Cedar Street on the mayor’s orders. Later they told us that the reason they considered the May 15 meeting invalid was because it hadn’t been held, as required by our bylaws, at 1 Cedar Street, the very building we had been locked out of!

That was just the beginning of Village Hall’s aggressive and vindictive campaign to punish anyone who didn’t agree.

E.H.V.A.A. was an independent nonprofit organization, with its own executive board, its own bylaws and operating procedures, its own bank accounts, and more than $400,000 in money in the bank, much of it from donations accumulated over decades. It had never been part of the village government, regardless of the fake history the mayor keeps repeating.

What other nonprofit organization will the mayor decide to absorb next into his mini dictatorship at Village Hall? What about other nonprofits that, like E.H.V.A.A., have the use of village-owned public assets or buildings — like the East Hampton Historical Society or the Ladies Village Improvement Society? Could the L.V.I.S. or historical society be taken over and their funds absorbed into the municipality’s coffers? That sounds ridiculous, but that is exactly what happened to us.



For Generations
East Hampton
March 22, 2024

To the Editor,

We wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to the neighbors surrounding our future project at 92 Three Mile Harbor Road. We’re so pleased to report the following in response to our neighbors’ concerns, which in all cases meet or exceed state and local law governing the building we propose: The proposed size of the facility is in accordance with town zoning laws; in fact it’s a bit smaller than allowable. Traffic studies have been extensively conducted and reviewed by the town, and, since this is not a school, some items such as yellow flashing lights and school bus queues don’t apply.

Wastewater review and runoff concerns are regulated on the state level by the Suffolk County Department of Health, and this application has been made by our team of licensed engineers, expert in this subject. We are engaging a firm for a Phase 1A/1B archaeological study as determined by the town. We look forward to learning as much as possible about the history of Freetown and to incorporating this knowledge into the learning program of the new facility. In short, the town’s rigorous review has made this project better for all its residents.

A collaborative review of acoustics along our neighboring property lines is a great idea; we are happy to hire an acoustical consultant to review together with our neighbors, as part of our project costs. The extensive landscaping design, donated by Charlie Marder, is multifunctional: It is intended not only to beautify the site but also to mitigate noise and to serve as an outdoor classroom, providing a wide variety of flora for children and community members to explore.

We hope that operating during working hours, hours driven by the needs of our local residents whose children will be benefiting from affordable summer camp, won’t be too much to ask of our neighbors.

As far as review of alternate locations is concerned, this is a valid and understandable question. It may not be common knowledge, but once a building permit is issued, the land at 92 Three Mile Harbor Road will be transferred to Project Most by the Neighborhood House for use as a community center. The structures to be reused and constructed into the building have been donated to Project Most, as well. This miraculous confluence of events and generosity allows this project to be entirely privately funded, while benefiting the entire community. What an opportunity. Our wish is that we can work together with our neighbors to reinvigorate the Neighborhood House site with community gatherings and care of its children, honoring its history for generations to come.



Executive Director

Project Most


Absolute Commitment
East Hampton
March 17, 2024

To the Editor:

We, the board of the Neighborhood House, wish to reaffirm our continuing support for and absolute commitment to the transfer of the Neighborhood House facility to Project Most. This action is consistent with the Neighborhood House’s mission and a history that dates back over 150 years. At the same time it is appropriate that we take this opportunity to correct certain misinformation that appears to have been disseminated.

First, to be absolutely clear, the Neighborhood House is not “defunct.” While Project Most has taken the lead in seeking the requisite approvals for the redevelopment of the 92 Three Mile Harbor Road property, the Neighborhood House board continues to meet. We also continue to raise funds to support the basic maintenance of the property, among other things. While the facility is currently being leased to Project Most pending approval for the redevelopment project, the Neighborhood House board ultimately remains responsible for the property.

The proposed transfer of the property is in keeping with the traditional use of the facility as a convenient center for community activities as well as summer camps, pre-K learning, and other such services. There does not seem to have been any objection to these uses in the past. Rather they have been applauded. At a time when we are all concerned about “affordability” for many in our community, Project Most’s programs will offer greatly needed services and programs in a very convenient location. Jim and Olivia Brooks’s excellent letter published in The Star on Feb. 29 accurately describes the importance and impact of Project Most and the Neighborhood House within the East Hampton community.

While it is apparent that certain residents of Neighborhood House Drive have objected to Project Most’s plans, it does not appear to us that the owners of the properties immediately adjacent to the Neighborhood House property either on Neighborhood House Drive or on Three Mile Harbor Road have voiced any concerns. Moreover, it does strike us that, if there were concerns about the project, one or more of the neighbors would have approached the Neighborhood House board with their issues.

We also find Kevin Scott’s suggestion that the project is “racist” and a “land grab” (as reported in The Star) absurd on its face — an assertion that compromises the validity of any other claim. The Neighborhood House has served generations of East Hampton’s citizens without discriminating on the basis of skin color, ethnicity, religion, or economic background. We find assertions to the contrary deeply offensive as our mission states and the sign out front says we are “Neighbors Helping Neighbors.”

We also take issue with Louis Cortese’s comments not only because the project is entirely consistent with the traditional use of the property but also because his suggestions for alternative sites are not particularly appealing. The basic fact is that a significant upgrade of a property that needs repair is likely to improve property values rather than diminish them.

The Neighborhood House board has a fiduciary responsibility to conduct itself in a manner consistent with its mission. At present, we believe the transfer of the 92 Three Mile Harbor Road property to Project Most offers the best use of the property to the East Hampton community. If the project were to be denied for whatever reason, the Neighborhood House Board would need to pursue other alternatives consistent with the mission of the Neighborhood House that may also be found objectionable. In the meantime we would be pleased to address any matters within our competence that might be raised.



The East Hampton Neighborhood House Association Board of Directors


Safe and Quiet
Sag Harbor
March 21, 2024

Dear David,

It’s not news that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s 2022 budget set 2027 as the last year school districts and school bus operators could buy buses that weren’t zero-emissions, or that school bus fleets must be fully zero-emissions by 2035. Yet Republicans are now calling for a rollback and slowdown of these sensible policies.

It’s particularly notable to me, after the educational losses wrought by Covid-19, that clean, zero-emissions buses improve academic outcomes by improving attendance. Breathing diesel fumes triggers asthma and other respiratory ills, as well as heart problems, increasing school absences and time in the nurse’s office. The bus drivers also suffer the ill effects of dirty air, as do the communities the buses serve.

Naysayers focus on cost — health and improved educational outcomes are apparently not worth the expenditure. They just haven’t thought this issue through. The upfront price of a zero-emissions bus is certainly higher than the old diesel kind, but there is state support for those purchases. Importantly, in the long run, zero-emissions buses are a total win. With low maintenance, fewer parts, and cheap, consistent fuel costs, thousands of dollars can be repurposed by districts to the programs that really count for their students.

More than 1,000 zero-emissions school buses are operating across the country. They are safe, reliable, and quiet, so the driver can hear what’s happening both inside and outside the bus, and students and drivers love them. I have no doubt parents and teachers will love them as well for getting students to class consistently.

We should cheer on zero-emissions school buses for so many reasons. Let’s not forget that they also zero out busloads of dirty air pollutants from fossil fuels.

I honestly don’t understand what principle is behind objecting to zero-emissions school buses. Governor Hochul must continue to be a leader in the electric school bus transition, and not give in to the pressure to cave on her completely reasonable stance.



Our Local Paper
East Hampton Village
March 20, 2024

To the Editor,

As I read so many letters of length which more or less excoriate either our community or individuals, and sometimes even civilization itself, I am somehow taken back to the basic dilemmas of membership in our species, and how we manage to provide sufficient nourishment for even one of us to deal with the resulting waste created within, let’s say, just one year. Multiply that with a mate and offspring, then multiply further into subcommunities of various sizes, from small towns to enormous cities. Then add civilization and everything it entails.

In one sense I am astonished, with amazement and admiration for the skills brought to these enormous problems, but on another hand I am equally astonished that we should have survived at all during several millenniums, given our propensity for finding fault with our neighbors, and with a certain built-in selfishness which just might be necessary to survive at all, certainly to survive in the context of a complex community.

Though it may not always seem so, we are lucky, even privileged, to live in a community in which our local paper welcomes and publishes letters written by those residents of the town willing to take the time to both write and submit their opinions on various topics, and it welcomes, or at least tolerates, opinions from a great variety of political beliefs. We owe a great big thank-you to The Star and another thank-you to our fellow citizens, those with whom we agree and those with whom we deeply disagree. We are all in this together, and it’s quite a mix!



Ultra-MAGA Lunacy
March 25, 2024

Dear David,

A group calling itself Restore America, which appears to be a splinter group from the Suffolk G.O.P., has taken an ultra-MAGA approach to East End politics. It’s hard to make this up — the group has joined hands with Rudy and Andrew Giuliani and others to proffer George Santos as its candidate for our congressional district. Apparently, Mr. Santos intends to run as an ultra-MAGA independent candidate.

It seems that the war cry from this group is that the current Suffolk G.O.P. is not sufficiently pro-Trump or sufficiently anti-democratic. While I’m no defender of his, Mr. LaLota has done Mr. Trump’s bidding at every turn. His crime — leading the charge to expel Mr. Santos from Congress, a widely supported action that was taken after a scathing report from the House Ethics Committee that accused Mr. Santos of a wide variety of fraudulent activity.

As for Andrew Garbarino, his crime is the failure, at this juncture, to endorse Mr. Trump for president. In its full-page ad in another publication (I missed it if it appeared in The Star), it also issued a scathing screed against virtually every other Republican of note.  

Personally, it is hard for me to understand the impetus for splintering from the G.O.P. at large, let alone its decision to champion Mr. Santos. Yet, when one takes the similar screeds from the likes of Reg Cornelia, one can understand that there are many in the East End G.O.P. that are hell-bent on pursuing a most anti-democratic, autocratic government. Yet, I hope this lunacy succeeds, because if it finds enough support to put Mr. Santos on the ballot, it virtually guarantees that the CD1 seat will flip Democratic.




Growth, Immigration
March 24, 2024

To the Editor,

I have been flummoxed to watch the country’s concerns over immigration. The overwhelming vast majority of immigrants come to our shores in search of the American dream. Lest we forget, it’s the right to pursue that dream that has created our country.

The segment of the population that is most intent on securing our borders, i.e., denying immigration, are exactly those segments of the population that gain the most from what the new Americans bring to those already here.

Our economy is based on growth and immigration is the engine of growth. The greatest period of American economic expansion is the period following a large wave of immigrant arrival. Strangers come here for a better life and their children embrace the American ways in all its diversity and opportunities. The first generation fills the labor market with workers doing work that the middle class rejects and ultimately become customers for the business that provide our prosperity for all of us.

However imperfect, we have an economic ladder in this country and for individuals to rise, the base must grow. To deny those who want to join us in a safe, secure place in society hurts the most the society as a whole.

Inflation, loss of the manufacturing base, violence, and homelessness all have ties to a poor and contradictory immigration policy. Those arguing to “close the borders” are in essence arguing to close the economy as well, something that has never been proven to work. Besides being a country that welcomes the stranger for reasons of basic humanity, we have powerful reasons for our own selfish economic advancement.



Gem From 1996
March 24, 2024

Dear David,

Here’s a gem from The Star in December 1996. I do love the archives to remind the public of things going on before I hit puberty.

Warning against growth that we all knew would come:

“East Hampton Town, the Suffolk Water Authority, and the County Health Department agree that bringing in public water is the obvious and immediate solution where there is a shortage of potable water. They also warn, however, that these neighborhoods cannot sustain further growth.”

We went from our wells to what some still call “city water.” Today, individuals are still building here or trying to build more. So much for not having “further growth.”

Still here,



Gaza Tunneling
March 25, 2024

Dear David,

I am by far not an engineering or construction expert. However, I am having trouble understanding why the extensive tunneling within Gaza — that some estimates [say is] as large as the entire London Underground system — had gone unnoticed. In the age of drones, satellites, and spy planes, how could the movement of so many tons of soil, etc., have gone unnoticed? I’ve yet to have heard an explanation for this.



Truth to Power
March 18, 2024

Dear Editor,

Yesterday all the Black lawn jockeys almost escaped.

They were exhausted from greeting folks who appreciated their illumination and deemed their bodies invisible.

The problem was no one knew they wanted to have lunch. . . .

Perplexing how  art institutions have carried a line of silence during the six-month Gaza war. I have no expectations from  food-fast chains or big banks to speak out against the genocide in Gaza. I do expect art institutions that emphasize the human spirit to drop celebrity focus and appeasing board members and focus on speaking truth to power. The majority of the world is calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

Thousands of children — children! — and adults, young, old, thin, fat, and fit, have been killed, displaced, and are now heading to a season of starving.

Not enough aid, nor hospitals or schools. Let us all remember what art is about . . . creating, expanding the mind, speaking out, expressing one’s self, nonconformity, not being stuck in the status quo.

There is no time to wait. I call on the local art institutions — Parrish Museum, Water Mill Center, Guild Hall, Southampton Arts Center, The Church, Bay Street Theater, Sag Harbor Cinema — to shake things up and speak truth to power. Curate a Palestinian show, Palestinian films. Celebrate  Palestine before it’s extinct.



Killing Continues
East Hampton
March 25, 2024

To the Editor,

Reaching a solution requires eliminating the religious lunacy that has always justified barbarity. Rationalizing insane behavior by blaming it on God. Humanoids don’t feel, so religion isn’t required, but in the Israel-Gaza debacle the existence of both serves to exacerbate the violence.

Can the world step up and create a plan that satisfies bath sides or does the killing continue and develop the next generation of radicals to continue the assault? Does the next generation get to live in peace and security? Does anyone really care?

So, Chuck Schumer somehow finds the courage to step up and show how much he loves and believes in the state of Israel. Do the United States and the rest of the world have the courage to follow his lead?

Lots of questions. Few answers. Impossible to think or hear anything when the noise of war explodes our brains.



Dem Gaslighting
March 25, 2024

Dear David,

Maybe it’s time to have the entire Congress and Senate have their hearing tested. While they’re at it, check their brains to see who understands what they hear is correct.

Moron Jerry Nadler, who loves to make things up, and Representative Pramila Jayapal, who loves to brown-nose those in charge, made statements [that Robert] Hur’s [testimony] represents the complete and total exoneration of Biden.

Hur tried to correct Jayapal, telling her “Not true,” and he was told to be quiet, it’s her time, can’t let actual facts interfere with Dem gaslighting, can we? Hur states no one would find Biden guilty as he is too old and cognitive is present.

I did not see Reg Cornelia’s tape about Jan. 6, 2021, but I watched this godawful assault in D.C. I saw a weasel hiding behind a desk shoot and kill a veteran woman (sorry her name is not in my memory right now). This was the only person who died in this awful attack. For those who insist numerous people died, best you fact-check. Many requests were sent out for help from the Washington Capitol Police, but Pelosi refused to take care of it. She had warning.

Elaine Jones, did you see the part where the police opened the door for said protesters? If you didn’t, watch again.

In God and country,



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