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Letters to the Editor for April 18, 2024

Wed, 04/17/2024 - 17:48

But Pale Ghosts
East Hampton
April 6, 2024

Dear East Hampton Star,

By the time this gets printed, the 2024 solar eclipse will have already happened, but I am writing this two days prior. There is no question that a solar or even lunar eclipse is a fantastic occurrence. We are lucky to live at the right time on the right planet where millions of coincidences converged to give us such a wonderful calendar in the sky. We owe our very existence to the interactions between the Sun and Moon and a total (or even partial) eclipse is good reason to celebrate.

Eclipses remind me of a dear, departed friend from my childhood who died way too young. He was a huge astronomy buff and for a long time thought he would make a living at it. He was one of a few of my friends who used to bring telescopes from the city in order to stargaze in my yard. In those days, nearly 40 years gone, you could look up on a clear night and see the Milky Way and the major constellations blended with billions of other stars, planets, galaxies, and nebulae. It was always a treat to see the rings of Saturn or the Red Spot of Jupiter and, because we all were well-versed in the science, marvel that these seemingly tiny points of light were actually whole worlds many times the size of the one we were standing on. But over the past 30 years, our night sky has become obscured by light pollution. It’s gotten to the point where it’s now difficult to find even the famous constellations like Orion or Taurus, Cassiopeia or Pegasus. They’re there, but pale ghosts of what they used to be. As early as 1998, I remember going to yard sales and seeing beautiful telescopes among the wares. I remember asking one man why he was selling his and his eyes welled up with tears. A very close friend had had a star named after him and he knew exactly where it was. But thanks to light pollution he couldn’t find it anymore.

So as you look up, it might be nice to remember that though we are lucky to be on the right planet at the right time to be able to see an eclipse, we are also lucky to have a night sky which can tell us our literal position as well as give us a glimpse into the cosmic history of our universe and even clues to what the future might hold. And no, I don’t mean astrologically speaking. So I implore you: Please consider turning off outside lights when they are not in use. If you must have them on all night, try to make sure they do not point up at the sky. If so, you may be rewarded by being able to see the night sky as it really is: a beautiful natural tapestry of light.

Thanks for reading.




Strong Opinions
April 15, 2024

Dear David,

As a regular reader of The Star’s letters section, I very much appreciate its value. Giving our community a place where individuals can speak their mind and, for the rest of us, to gain a better appreciation of where they are coming from is a terrific public service.

There’s a lot of disagreement expressed in The Star’s letters. That’s not a bad thing in itself, not at all. The tone of that disagreement matters, though. Neither my way of thinking, nor anyone else’s, is the only way. Better or worse, sure, but not terrible or wrong — that’s uncalled for. We are a closely interconnected community facing many challenges. We need each other to get things done. And for better or worse, each other is what we’ve got.

While we may have strong opinions about, for example, national politics or conflict in the Middle East, focusing on divisive issues where we have little control can lead to a dead end. There are lots of local issues where agreement is possible and where this community can directly get things done.

By way of example, it will come as no surprise to readers of this section that there has been considerable comment about the planned senior center on Abraham’s Path. Not everybody is on board with the plan. I believe there’s a way to build a better plan, gain broader consensus, and get a demonstrable majority on board.

My humble advice to our elected officials is to keep in mind that you have two responsibilities. One is to do great things for the community. The other is to do those things in a great way. There’s no point ramming something through in a way that makes a significant number of us, possibly even a majority, unhappy. Heaven knows we don’t need further division. So don’t rush this one. Seek further input and take the time to build a broader consensus. That won’t derail the good things that are intended, and a strong foundation will make them more lasting.




Jefferson Agreed
April 11, 2024

To the Editor,

I can’t help thinking that Thomas Valva might still be alive (and well!) today if only his mother and/or his very caring schoolteachers had — instead of or in addition to contacting the appallingly uncaring Suffolk County government’s Child “Protective” Services caseworkers about his torturous home life — told The East Hampton Star about this case, and The Star had published a story about it (especially on its front page)!

I know that former President Thomas Jefferson would have agreed with me, because he once wrote the following words in a Jan. 16, 1787, letter to the American statesman Col. Edward Carrington: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”



Fairy Village
April 2, 2024

To the Editor,

Ugh. I really don’t want to write a letter to The Star and have my inarticulate-ness hanging out for all to see, but here I go. There is a beautiful mossy knoll toward the beginning of the trail that starts at the end of Cranberry Road in Montauk, in the Culloden area nature preserve. It’s nestled among the exposed tree roots and extends to the middle of a little bog. Well, sometime last year someone must have gone to Walmart, or whatever, and picked up the Big Box O’ Fairy Village because now it is covered in miniature plastic huts, dozens of figurines, about seven feet of the whitest cheapest little fence you’ve ever seen along with a little (but not little enough) yellow nylon umbrella — you know, for that authentic woodland-fairy experience.

There is also a commercial sign, like a municipal-style sign, saying “Protected Area, Respect the Fairy-Gnome Village” — nailed right into the tree, among other dopey stuff nailed into the trees. They also recently added those little, round solar lights at the end of plastic sticks. Last fall, when I first saw it, I suppressed my initial basest instinct to bag it up and haul it to the dump. However, I didn’t want to mess with someone’s personal property and decided to make my own sign instead. I hand-painted a sign that said, “No, how about respecting nature in a nature preserve and teaching your children the same?” (I tied it around the tree, didn’t nail it.) Well, that went over big with the fairyphiles. It disappeared, and so I switched to cardboard and Sharpie. I’m four signs down at this point. I tried reaching out to the East Hampton Town Natural Resources Department, but never heard back.

Look, I lean libertarian. If you wanted this abomination in your front yard, even across the street from me, I would say, “So be it.” Truth be told, I would actually prefer that funky thing to a manicured lawn. Like everywhere, my neighborhood has been steadily suburbanizing. Dune grass and rosa rugosa ripped up to lay down sod and privets, gravel driveways turned into asphalt, prison-tower-grade spotlights glaring into the night, and so much spraying by the people who live by the pond on Cranberry that it no longer has tadpoles or dragonflies. Last summer was the first time I didn’t hear the bullfrog. I get it. Montauk is changing. But can you at least please keep your aesthetic out of the nature preserves?

Well, it turns out, surprise, surprise, the kids love it. I had a woman from pro-fairy screaming at me the other day saying it’s not hurting anyone, it’s great for the children, and that I was a horrible person. The screamer also couldn’t believe I was worried about this with so much going on in the world. Sorry, I can’t even begin to fix the Middle East, but this is very fixable. And sorry, kids, I have little sympathy for you on this one. When I was a kid, cartoons were only on Saturday morning and they were in black and white. You are the most overentertained and visually stimulated crop of kids the world has ever seen.

I think this is on you parents to teach your kids to appreciate unspoiled nature, which has its own beauty and doesn’t have to be improved upon with a Technicolor plastic-crap-from-China version of a Pixar fantasy they already experience on a daily basis. If the next generation doesn’t learn to appreciate nature in its untamed, unspoiled state, there will be scant hope to preserve what we have left.


Proud Fairy Grinch


Believe in Magic
Bel Air, Md.
April 14, 2024

Dear David,

I enjoyed the recent story on the L’Hommedieu descendants’ visit to East Hampton in the March 25 issue. The story brought back many memories of my and my siblings’ childhood growing up in East Hampton. In 1959, my father, Robert Gordon Reutershan, purchased what was then called “the Gardiner estate” at 32 Ocean Avenue. At the time, the property included the main house featured in your article as well as a substantial six-bedroom carriage house on an additional acre in the rear. The carriage house is partially visible in the lower right corner of the article’s aerial photo.

My father subdivided the property, put in a new driveway, planted a privet boundary hedge, and proceeded to renovate the carriage house. He engaged his close friend, an architect named Alfred Scheffer, for the project — a fitting tribute to the carriage house’s original architect, James L’Hommedieu. Mr. Scheffer’s plan updated all the systems, the original rooms, and, with the able help of a cigar-chomping local contractor, Ernie Dayton, completely rebuilt the carriage room/stables into a very large and beautiful great room — which was eloquently described by my dear childhood friend, Kirby Marcantonio, in your letters section a few months ago.

The great room was about 1,200 square feet with 14-foot-tall ceilings. At that time, there were still traces of the original horse stalls. In other parts of the house were extensive built-in china cabinets and other architectural details, which were all incorporated into the great room. I remember the project well. The carpenters and masons used mostly hand tools carried in sturdy open wooden toolboxes. How interesting it was to crawl below the building to observe one of my dad’s closest friends, Frankie Jewels,  a nine-fingered master plumber, working his magic on the copper piping with solder and torch.

Following the subdivision, the main house was sold to a wonderful New York couple who made it a summer home for them and their three children — a college-age boy, a second boy the same age as my late brother, Tim, and a young girl roughly the age of my youngest sisters, Cynthia and Kate. 65 years later, they are still the occupants. Both the main house and ours were the source of never-ending adventures, explorations, and childhood fun and games. The article’s photos of the main house show the principal rooms looking almost exactly as I remember from almost 65 years ago (and likely as they did when the house was originally constructed). Both houses were sold fully furnished. I remember several huge chests of old theatrical clothing, daguerreotypes, and other exotic doodads from the turn of the last century that were left in one of the carriage house storerooms. Of note was an ornate pirate costume and other similar gear. The discovery of these ancient artifacts prompted many fantasies regularly re-enacted by me, my brother, my sisters, and other young friends.

The property was planted with many exotic bushes, trees, and flowering plants. Of especial memory for me was an ancient mulberry tree (absent the required silkworms) next to a fountain in the main house’s side yard.

Around 1962, my cousins Charles and Christopher Scheck moved next door into the James Gallatin house at 4 Pudding Hill Lane with their mother and stepfather, Christian and Barbara Kelly Johnson. Chris Johnson, who recently passed away, was an accomplished guitarist and a deejay at WLNG in Sag Harbor for many years. He taught both me and my sister Susan to play the guitar. And we all enjoyed hanging out at their house, especially when Chris had his buddies over to jam. His buddies? Oh, that would have been John Sebastian and the Loving Spoonful — and, yes, I do believe in magic!

Not to be outdone, in the summer of 1965, the two young children in the front house invited my sister and brother to go to New York’s new Shea Stadium to hear another hot band’s inaugural U.S. concert — yup, the Beatles!

I wanted to acknowledge the fantastic aerial photo featured in the article. Many thanks to your photographer, Erik M. Davidowicz. I have never seen the property from the air. The photo brought back some very special memories and connections. As a boy, on most nights, I would fall asleep to the sounds of crashing Atlantic waves a few hundred yards to the east. The waves produced rhythmic, rumbling, thunderlike sounds that resounded throughout the neighborhood. I also remember frequently crawling out onto the roof of our house’s rear wing and scampering up to the top crest of the cedar-shingled main roof. From there you could see the ocean — and when the surf was large, you could also see the spray from the waves as they slammed onto the beach, just to the north of Main Beach.

So, this brings me to your April 4 Mast-Head column, “Cars on the Beach.” Following the 1962 hurricane, my cousin Ronnie Cole invited me on an adventure to the Georgica Coast Guard Station. Ronnie was an accomplished professional guitarist — and still is. He was also a gearhead with a talent for building beach buggies from old scrap cars. Back then, there was a decrepit junk yard, “Zuke’s,” located at the edge of the woods on Cedar Street at approximately the same location as where LongHouse is today. Ronnie had just gotten word that there were several cars that had been uncovered just below Juan Trippe’s house at the end of West End Road. Apparently, Zuke told Ronnie that he had deposited a certain early 1950s Ford sedan as part of the original, now-uncovered erosion project –- and that he believed that it still had a carburetor that Ronnie needed for his latest buggy project.

So off we went with some shovels, wrenches, sandwiches, cookies, and other kit to see what we could discover. My memory is a bit unclear on the success or failure of the expedition. What I do remember was the tremendous damage to the huge dunes — which were left as very ominous cliffs, with several West End mansions sitting precariously close to the edge.

I think this was the storm that precipitated Trippe’s proceeding with his Georgica Beach jetty project. And that, of course, created the conditions for a fabulous surfing spot — beginning almost immediately and continuing to this day — which leads into other stories, thankfully left for another day.



Hell or High Water
April 14, 2024


I read with interest your report on the recent proceedings before the town planning board regarding the Springs General Store’s application for a business permit. The new owner has apparently withdrawn the application to the New York State Liquor Authority for on-premises consumption of alcohol that has caused so much controversy in the local community. However, what caught my attention (and I hope the attention of the members of the planning board) was the statement of Michael Schiano, the owner’s environmental planner, namely, “The specifics of that” — i.e., the S.L.A. application — “shouldn’t hold up moving forward because it’s not part of our application right now.”

What this clearly means is that the applicant is deleting on-premises consumption in order to get the current application approved, but is reserving the right to come back at a later date for such approval. I predict that date will come within a year or two of the store’s reopening and the justification will be that, for financial reasons, the business needs on-premises consumption in order to survive.

I hope that if the planning board approves this application it does so on the condition that, come hell or high water, on-premises consumption will never occur at these premises.



Soil Destruction
North Haven
April 15, 2024

Dear David,

Jacqui Lofaro, founder and executive director of the Hamptons Doc Fest, presented an excellent group of four documentary films this weekend at “Docs Equinox,” honoring Earth Week at the Southampton Arts Center.

Many articles and letters to the editor appear in The Star concerning our rich but declining agricultural resources and open spaces. There is a notable local interest in resisting the current trends in destructive land use. Four films were offered for those of us who care about overdevelopment, misuse of land, and the health and welfare of our productive farmland, including our own gardens and lawns.

Bridgehampton loam is famous for its agricultural value. It is also famous for being clear-cut and stripped off and sold to clear the way for monster-mansions that often are nothing more than safe deposit boxes for folks who hardly use them.

The point is that our soils are being removed and destroyed by this absurd thoughtless overdevelopment. We learned a lot about how the use of dangerous chemicals is counterproductive to profitable healthy agriculture. Fortunately, our local farmers are employing most of these enlightened techniques, giving us a good alternative to the poisonous and nutritionally empty stuff offered by fast food joints and supermarkets.

Wars are destroying valuable agricultural land elsewhere, such as Russian bombing of Ukraine and the mass-mining of their agricultural fields. Gaza has been reduced to wasteland. Brazil still looses rain forest, Africa is suffering extreme drought.

In our own country, factory farming animals, industrialized monoculture crops, overgrazing, and indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers are creating unhealthy food, and financial hardship for independent farmers.

Some of us have the ability to actually rethink how we use our land, and others of us have the ability to rethink what we call food and buy our sustenance from sources in the marketplace that are more sensibly grown.

It would be wonderful if these films would be seen by many more people. We all want to improve things, and this gives us an idea how to accomplish that. Many of the people involved with these films have close connections to this area.

I think these films can be found online: “Food Inc. 2: Back for Seconds,” “Common Ground,” “The Soul of a Farmer,” and “Kelp.”

Thank you, Jacqui. Here’s wishing everyone bon appetit!



It’s That Easy
April 12, 2024

Dear David,

Does litter strewn about our roadways, beaches, and trails make you cringe? You are not alone! The East Hampton Litter Action Committee offers a simple message: Don’t toss. Secure your load. If you see litter, pick it up. It’s that easy.

Please join us as we work to amplify our message.

Join one of the No-Fling Spring litter-pickup events or simply pick up a piece of litter while walking on our beautiful beaches, trails, and our roadways.

For No-Fling Spring information, visit or @dont.trash.east.hampton. Ideas or questions: [email protected].



Town of East Hampton Litter Action Committee


It Feels Good
April 12, 2024

Dear David,

So many thanks for your shoutout to our No-Fling Spring event running from April 20 to May 18. You nailed it! While the goal is to create awareness of our ever-growing litter problem, you are spot-on about the additional benefit of creating a sense of community with a common purpose. Coming together for an hour or two feels good! We get out of our houses, we walk, we talk, we laugh, and we pick up litter. Our motto — If You See Litter, Pick It Up — should have an added line, It Feels Good!

With much appreciation,



East Hampton Town Litter Action Committee


Twelve Per Acre
April 15, 2024

To the Editor,

Imagine my surprise, picking up The Star and seeing on page one “More Density for Senior Projects.”

Unbelievable, a couple of months ago I was asked by some friends at Windmill Village to help them in trying to build more housing for seniors where everybody pays 30 percent of their income. Most of the seniors at Windmill Village have only Social Security and have been priced out of the rental market in East Hampton; so I wrote a letter to the town board and the supervisor about the need and that they should do something to make more apartments available. The article in The Star stated that the housing director had recommended changing the zoning code for senior housing from eight apartments an acre to 12 apartments an acre, which means that Windmill Village could build 20 more apartments on the site. I am happy and grateful to live in a town where representatives listen and act for the betterment of the community. The new housing will be greatly appreciated by all.



Senior Downsizing
East Hampton
April 12, 2024

Dear Editor,

As Eric Shantz, a professional planner, pointed out to the town board, going from 36 to 48 units per acre is possible within existing town regulations. This raises the issue of the environmental impact of higher-density housing. Let’s address that.

The first concept to understand in supporting high-density housing is downsizing. The second is the intended segment of the population for this approach to work, to minimize the environmental impact.

East Hampton’s large senior population lives for the most part in large single-family homes that are no longer necessary once children have left the home. Nevertheless, seniors are familiar with their homes and many past surveys have shown that East Hampton seniors prefer to age in place.

As members of the Amagansett Advisory Committee pointed out, any senior center the town builds should supplement aging in place with senior services appropriate to this group. That means age-appropriate physical activity, cultural activity, and a building that supports these activities. The Montauk facility is an obvious model for this. The town board should take note.

High-density housing isn’t appropriate for families. It is also not appropriate for seniors who want to age in place and can, but once the children have left, one has lost a spouse, one has reached the age where driving is dangerous and cooking and cleaning and fixing up the house a chore, downsizing is attractive.

From an environmental point of view, downsizing and high-density housing are fundamentally linked. Seniors are therefore the ideal high-density-housing residents.

High-density housing will not work with families, but it will work for that segment of the population, the senior community, that wants to remain in East Hampton but doesn’t want to be trapped by a large single-family home.

The Stern’s property is the ideal property for a high-density senior-housing model. It can accommodate 192 one-bedroom units. It is close to the hospital annex. It is walking distance to the ocean and the village.

So, how would we make high-density housing an environmental positive by adopting the twin qualifications of only existing senior residents and downsizing?

Here, we have to consider what happens to the 192 single-family units the seniors vacate. If these are sold to second-home owners there is no positive to the community. If, on the other hand, they are rented to local families, those who work here already and are clogging the highways getting to work every day, high-density housing for seniors becomes an enormous positive. Less traffic, no increase in open space replaced by more single-family housing, more community.

To make this work, the town board has to consider a different housing model from the federally subsidized one that only reserves 50 percent of the housing for East Hampton residents and imposes income requirements on those who qualify for it.

The model for high-density senior housing that would work here is rental housing open only to seniors who must rent their homes on an affordable basis to working families to qualify.

The town has the ability to then work directly with the builder, reducing the construction costs by providing the land, the capital guarantees for the construction loans, and the qualified renter occupants.

A certain percentage of the units could be set aside, as with Section 8, for seniors who have no homes to rent.

The town would retain ownership of the land, the units separately organized into a cooperative, the rentals handled by the real estate industry and regulated by the town.

Compare this approach to the one we have now: a huge waiting list for federally subsidized senior housing, two or fewer seniors occupying three or four-bedroom single family houses, local residents forced to sell to second-home owners and then leaving town for places with better senior services, bulldozed affordable houses replaced by megamansions, roads clogged with workers who can’t live here, and the inevitable Provincetown syndrome where the community collapses into just the summer crowd, period.

The town board can turn a negative into a positive by thoroughly investigating this approach. High-density housing for seniors makes sense.




Nice to See
April 15, 2024

Dear David,

It was nice to see that the recommendation made by Eric Schantz, director of housing and community development, was taken seriously by the town board to increase the number of senior housing units per acre to 12.  I want to express my sincere appreciation for this overwhelmingly positive response of the community and town working together to find solutions to improve the quality of life for senior citizens.




Great News
East Hampton
April 15, 2024

To the Editor,

It was great to read the article on page one of The Star regarding the zoning change for affordable housing for senior citizens. The density change allows us to potentially build 20 units at Windmill I, 14 at Windmill II, and 20 at St. Michael’s Housing.

With our lists growing and the need getting greater, this was wonderful news to us. We applaud Eric Schantz and the Housing and Community Development Department for bringing this to the town board and we applaud the town board, as well.

This is great news for the seniors on our extensive waiting list who have been living in overcrowded and substandard housing. They now can have a place of their own to call home.

Sincerely yours,



Windmill I, Windmill II, and St. Michael’s Housing


Dun It Again
East Hampton
April 14, 2024

Dear David,

Hamptons Whodunit dun it again. Second year, and it was a phenomenal event and I hope this continues for many years.

Major kudos to all the volunteers who worked tirelessly for days, from morning till night. Also thanks to sponsors and contributors for making this wonderful long weekend possible.

Look forward to Hampton Whodunit in 2025.



Seasoned With Joy
East Hampton
April 15, 2024

To the Editor,

A few months ago, I started volunteering at the East Hampton Food Pantry. I wanted to give back to the community that’s been my home.

The experience has been an eye-opener. Who ever knew there was so much need in our community? East Hampton’s reputation as a playground for the rich and famous belies the sheer volume of local families and older residents who need our help to get food on the table and survive. Not many people are aware of their struggle.

I work during our distribution day and on another day compiling bags of staple goods to hand out. It’s amazing to see the pantry’s storage area brimming with bags on Mondays, then — all of them gone by the end of the day on Tuesday. The need is so extreme.

It’s also amazing to see volunteers who return week after week no matter the weather. They work so kindly and cheerfully; I’m certainly proud to take a place among them.

The days are often seasoned with small moments of joy and lots of camaraderie. I can’t speak highly enough about how good it feels to be working with people toward a common goal — feeding the needy. The experience has created a whole new cadre of friends as I meet both clients and neighbors. That last, literally.

On one of my first days working in the bagging area, I was paired with another volunteer. Turns out we really are neighbors, and it’s been so nice getting to know someone I may not have ever met but for this new volunteer experience.

I can’t recommend volunteering at the food pantry enough; it’s so good for the soul. What the team there does is incredible — 10 people serve as many as 900 people each week, and the number in need continues to grow. It’s a small operation. They are sustained solely by donations, so if you can, think of them. They’ve got a prompt on their website,, that makes donating easy.



Collect Data
April 15, 2024

Dear David,

Evaluating a proposal for a new senior center, especially one with a significant budget like $28 million, requires a thorough and accurate analysis. This latest town board document, dated April 8 and called “Frequently Asked Questions,” seems to use meals as the current usage data of the senior center by seniors. It’s important to use a variety of data points as to actual class usage to estimate the usage and impact of the center, rather than relying solely on the number of meals as an indicator.

The board should use this time to collect data so they can make informed projections on the potential demand for services and the number of seniors who will use the center. Involving the community, the potential users of the center, and other stakeholders in the evaluation process should be done to gain diverse perspectives and ensure the center meets community needs. For the cost of $28 million, evidence-based recommendations for the projects are needed. The importance of using accurate data in a project of this cost to taxpayers cannot be overstated.

As of this moment, the only positive comment I have is that we need a better senior center in town . . . what that is is not what has been presented currently. This new press release doesn’t answer the many questions the people in East Hampton still have.



A Boutique School
April 15, 2024

Dear David,

In another weekly publication this week, an article addressed the rejection of last year’s Wainscott School tax levy, which was voted down — “a vote that many suggested was tainted with selfishness, insensitivity, and bigotry” is how their reporter phrased it. The sole reason for the defeat was that the school tax rate was doubled! Plain and simple. Not for some nefarious reason. We all know the source of these comments, but they hide in the shadows like cowards.

There are many of us seniors who are on fixed incomes that do not have automatic increases. Where do they think tax money comes from? It doesn’t dawn on them that not all of us live in oceanfront compounds. We live here, also.

Cash-strapped seniors as well as working families stretch their paychecks, with the reality of out-of-control inflation. Food up 28 percent, insurance rates at 24 percent, energy prices skyrocketing, with no end in sight. At the senior center this past Friday, it was mentioned how many seniors bypass the meat counter. What other basics do they expect us to eliminate? The right to live out the time we have left?

A neighbor mentioned that he took his wife out and looked at the menu and a non-elaborate pasta dish was $39. They walked away.

I recall [meeting a woman] coming out of the post office last year before the school budget vote was cast. She was crying, so I asked if she was okay. Her reply was, “They are forcing me out of my home that I was raised in and I am 89. Where am I supposed to go?” Many neighbors express the same. Our medical support system is here, along with whatever social life we have. It reminds me of the old remark, “You locals should stay home on weekends so we are not inconvenienced!” Déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra said.

When the revote comes on Tuesday, May 21, I will again vote no and not let them pick my pockets. A boutique school is charming, but at what cost for such a small enrollment?




Education Last
April 14, 2024

To the Editor,

The Amagansett School’s treasurer, Tom Mager, in May 2022: “We’re doing a good job at maintaining programs, even adding programs.” Though allegedly we wouldn’t need a tax-cap pierce until the 2026-27 school year, this in May 2023: “We’re here to educate the kids, so our biggest expense is the salary and benefits,” Mr. Mager said.

Now it’s about keeping extracurricular activities over educators. Education has become last.

The $8,000 Mr. Mager is “saving us,” according to Kevin Warren, for his salary next year is actually being covered by a Springs resolution. Mr. Mager’s reasoning has shifted to we should have done this four years ago. You mean when the school board president, Kristen Peterson, was out getting a D.W.I. and missing multiple meetings? Got it! Almost as good as the other member, Addie Slater-Davison, making a speech telling parents what should take place in regards to special education. The regional office for special education has deemed that speech “inaccurate.” Little bit of knowledge does harm to all.

Why does this Blue Ribbon School’s board of education continually look to destroy as many lives as possible, whether educators or parents, with lifetime consequences to the students they are to uphold the rights of? What ethics in that oath of office?

Still here,



Geocubes Remain
April 13, 2024

To the Editor,

Every once in a while, when I have nothing more urgent to do, I think about what governments are for. This morning, when I cannot swear I was already entirely awake, I found myself thinking that government is (or should be) a solution to a (meta-) problem: how to solve our problems together.

That seems simple and clear, right? Traveling down a local street on Napeague, the concept hits some bumps. Local government should regulate when and how, and for how long, geocubes may be used. It should also be responsible for acting to address their misuse. Thanks, Joe Karpinski, for the case study; I am glad you are still there.

The Star’s letter column, if it were human, would be a combination of lecturing sociologist and village storyteller. One of the ongoing story-studies is about the persistence of the geocubes. They have been there for years, blocking neighbors’ access to a public beach, and no one can apparently do anything about them. I understand the how and when, not the why. (Joe?) I have theories, though: We seem to have completely lost, as a society, the ability to see whether a problem has really been solved or just declared to be solved. (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job” instead of effective relief after Katrina.) In a post-truth world, we seem to have lost much of our ability to detect problems, even dire emergencies. If the Titanic sank today, there would be people on deck loudly claiming it was “fake news,” possibly including the captain. We certainly don’t elect people for their problem-solving skills, but (for example) because they loudly proclaim their wish to be chaotic loudmouths on our dime instead of their own (thinking not only of a presidential candidate but of a nearby mayor). Behind the scenes, a political machine solves problems for the privileged few, not the rest of the electorate. (Looking at you, Voldemort.) And, of course, this tour of the near horizon wouldn’t be complete without mentioning billionaires with teams of ex-judges who paralyze town government for years on end to protect the expansion of fish restaurants in residential neighborhoods. Hmmm: Whether our town is granting favors to the One Percent, or refusing them and getting sued, the geocubes remain.

The saddest and last effect of all this is to rob us of the perception, even the memory, that problems can be solved. I am confident that in 10 years, Joe will still be there. What action, resolve, revitalization of the town board assures us that the geocubes won’t be? They are truly the geocubes of our misfortune.

For democracy and problem-solving in East Hampton,



Yeah, Right
East Hampton
April 13, 2024

Dear Mr. Editor,

Hope you are well. Well, your editorial staff pushed my buttons again. Talk about brass balls. The [editorial] “Looking to Congress to Save Democracy” in the March 28 edition was the culprit. Right off the bat, you’re banging Trump and LaLota. You state Trump’s nationalism would take the U.S. in the wrong direction. Do you really believe that Biden is taking us in the right direction? His open-border policy alone is a disaster for the American taxpayer. The monetary stress on large cities is even evident to your far-left news-media-mongers. How long can America continue to pay? You talk about ethical failures. Have you ever researched the Biden family? Then you hit LaLota, stating he had no choice but to toe the MAGA line if he wanted to retain his seat. At least he supported his own party! You have a handful of Democrats locally who were Republicans who jumped ship just to stay in the political arena. Now, I am sure they switched for “ethical reasons.” Yeah, right. And then comes the spin. Last week, April 4, you praised LaLota for the bill that just might save Plum Island from being a luxury housing development! Then you get down to the “obvious qualifications” of Nancy Goroff. She is a chemistry teacher! The final blow was the comment, “Mr. LaLota’s implicit embrace of extremist violence. . . . “ So you remember the Black Lives Matter movement? Their violence and the Democratic support? But no one in the media mentions that.

As always, best regards.

America and Americans first,



I Congratulate Reg
East Hampton
April 14, 2024

Dear David,

I want to congratulate Reg Cornelia for having the courage and intelligence to write the letter in the April 11 edition titled “Marxist Infestation.” It is well written and comprehensive, and it shows his love of this country and the principles on which it was founded. It gives a sad commentary on the current state of affairs here.

I wrote a letter in the Jan. 11 issue, titled “Disgusting,” describing why I was not donating to my alma mater for the first time, due to the pro-radical Palestinian, pro-Hamas protests going on at the campus, as well as harassment and assault of students with opposing views, all supported by the administration. Mr. Cornelia’s letter addresses this, and goes well beyond it in describing many other areas of concern.

We have an interesting and inclusive community here, but people with conservative, and even moderate, views are a small minority. To those who only get their news from CNN, MSNBC, and the mainstream media, I would suggest balancing that with some exposure to Fox News and Newsmax. If you had done that in 2020, perhaps you would not have been fooled into thinking “the laptop” was likely Russian disinformation.



Not Terrorists
April 11, 2024

Dear David,

The recent letter from Mr. Saxe and Mr. Agoos on behalf of the East End Jews for Israel states that I am in need of some notes of correction. Let me correct them.

For starters, my “thin air” number of 30,000 civilian Palestinian deaths of men, women, and children has been confirmed by numerous independent news agencies and the American State Department. For confirmation, please email Antony Blinken, our secretary of state. My current “thin air” estimate now stands at 32,000.

No decent human would not condemn the butchery, rapes, and atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7. All decent human beings would also support your view that “Israel declared war to root out and kill all Hamas soldiers and adherents, a necessary and laudable goal.”

Sadly, the vast majority of the children killed were not terrorists nor adherents of Hamas. I would tend to think that a child would not have the ability to articulate what Hamas is, but perhaps I am mistaken.

Most of the people killed in the bombings and missile campaign were civilians living in aboveground apartment buildings in the Gaza cities while the Hamas terrorists were safely ensconced in the underground tunnels that connected all of Gaza. One has to wonder what Netanyahu’s vaunted intelligence agencies, Shin Bet and Mossad, were doing for the past five years.

Mr. Saxe and Mr. Agoos justify the deaths of Palestinian civilians by comparing them to the deaths of Japanese and German civilians inflicted by American and Allied bombing during World War II. They have neglected to point out that in World War II, the United States and its allies were fighting against genocidal, westernized, industrialized, nation-states — not a terrorist organization. The Palestinians do not have a nation state — only refugee camps, thanks to Mr. Netanyahu.




Iran’s Impotence
April 15, 2024

Dear David,

Israel should not retaliate for the Iranian missile attack: Not responding militarily will highlight Iran’s missile impotence. It’s not worth a response. Not for a hole in a runway. Israel responding will only underscore Netanyahu’s desperation to hold on to power, even at the threat of spurring a descending catastrophic spiral for all of us!

A violent attack by Israel will be proof of Bibi’s weakness. And if Iran then responds, we’re going to come to his defense? Oh, boy! The End Times are knocking on the door. Where’s the wisdom?




Ordinary Incompetence
East Hampton
April 13, 2024


Watching Rahm Emanuel, our ambassador to Japan, talking about “damage control” in the South Pacific explains concisely and clearly why Trump should not be running for president. The Trump effects of transactional diplomacy in place of long and short-term policy initiatives destabilized and diminished our position in this vital sector of the world. Trump killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an Obama-generated arrangement to strengthen our position in Southeast Asia and to combat the growing influence of China in the region. Ultimately, it would have put the countries in the region on an almost equal footing with China and eventually incorporated China into a regional organization that would have mitigated its negative influence.

There are eight billion people in the world. The U.S. has 335 million of them, about 4 percent. The idea that we can go it alone and not get run over is kind of senseless. A world with peace and some degree of harmony requires nations to interact on all levels for the general good. A world at peace is unquestionably the most profitable.

The Trump conundrum was always evident. Elevating incompetence to the ordinary and then claiming it to be extraordinary left our country open to levels of threat [from which we] had always been protected, simply by being ordinary. So, we always understood that however lame and incompetent our leadership appeared to be that it had the minimal tools to protect and grow the country. An incredibly low bar. Trump didn’t reach it.

So Emanuel, who understands the threat China poses, has in conjunction with Japan been developing alliances and treaties with countries in the Pacific region aimed at strengthening their economies and protecting them from aggression. Conceptually, the power of these alliances is that they guarantee the sovereignty of nations too small to protect themselves. Also, sharing in the costs of this protection and eventually eliminating the threats through cooperation by creating increased peace and prosperity. (War has a negative return on investment.)

At the root of this process are similar values and trust. Trump’s attempts to marginalize NATO and our refusal to support Ukraine (Trump-based) raises the issue of whether the U.S. can be a trustworthy partner. It’s not possible to lead the world when nobody trusts you.

On a domestic level, the refusal to pass a border-immigration bill crafted by bipartisan senators enables the issue to remain politically toxic. The refusal to pass an intelligence-gathering bill that an ex-president feels was used against him is another example of the ordinary degenerating into the absurd. Any ordinary president would have easily moved forward on these essential issues, but Trump doesn’t even rise to that extremely low bar.

The damage that happens because the leadership possesses none of the most basic, even ordinary, qualities is the long-term erosion of the world order. Shifts in the balance of power, in leverage, the basic understanding of the rules which govern the universe. The ensuing free-for-all due to this erosion leads to chaos, wars, and a general disconnect from democratic values. See: fascism.

To not understand that Trump represents a violent, venal form of fascism is to exist brain dead and unconscious. Unless one is on the same page.

How long it will take to control the damage from Trump’s presidency is uncertain. What is certain is that four more years of this level of idiocy will not be rectified in our lifetimes.



Pick Their Pocket
East Hampton
April 11, 2024

To the Editor,

In “The Art of the Deal,” you get them to like you, so you can pick their pocket. Then you pick their other pocket.

Once you sense that they like it, you sell them sneakers, and because you find it kind of funny, you sell them a Bible.

Then you reverse your position on pro-life — and, at this point, you really don’t care what they think.



Made Fools of Us
April 15, 2024

Dear David,

Just a note to say thank you, Joe Biden, for turning your back on everyone. Your “Don’t” to Iran went really far. You’ve beaten up the people of America, you’ve given illegals everything, took away the rights of citizens. Now you made fools of America with Iran. Thanks.

In God and country,



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