Skip to main content

Letters to the Editor for May 9, 2024

Thu, 05/09/2024 - 09:47

Not Charmed
April 28, 2024

Dear David,

It was almost a year ago to the day that two botanist friends were visiting me from the city for a weekend of plant exploration. Among our many stops was the Culloden Point Preserve where we stumbled upon the now infamous fairy village. No, I was not charmed by the plastic trinkets, signs, and such (as well as an intimidating wildlife camera), which littered the forest. It was frankly disturbing and detracted from the natural beauty of the red maple-black gum swamp it is polluting. What if everyone did this, “decorated” (or rather marred) a portion of the woods, what then? They had their fun, now the people who erected the stuff should remove it and set it up at their home to enjoy. It shouldn’t be forced upon people who wish to appreciate nature, unadulterated.




Distracto 5000
April 30, 2024

To the Editor,

Baylis Greene’s Gristmill piece on invasive cellphones/electronic devices — or “Distracto 5000s” as he wittily dubs them — is spot on. There simply is no excuse for a phone to go off at a performance as it did during a production of the play “Doubt.”

Even when I see the glow of someone checking their text at a movie I think the person should be dragged out and publicly lashed with a stick. By the way, the Comedy Cellar in Manhattan takes all cellphones and locks them in a box and furnishes the owner with a ticket allowing them to collect the device at the end of show. Phones are a plague as bad as Covid-19.



Growing Old
East Hampton
May 4, 2024

Dear David,

Kudos to Ken Miller for his insightful, hilarious Guestwords article (“Tips for Growing Old”) in the April 25 edition of The East Hampton Star. It was published on my husband’s 85th birthday. How’s that for karma?

Every word rang true. I, too, am a part-time resident of the Upper East Side and have a home in East Hampton. During the time spent in New York City, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., it seems as if everyone is perambulating, whether in strollers, doggy carriers, or wheelchairs. Not only do those of us lucky enough to still be walking have to watch out for bicyclists and scooters, but also many other types of wheeled conveyances.

So thanks, Mr. Miller, for the article. I am in total agreement that getting “up in years ain’t easy,” but aren’t we lucky to still be here and able to experience it all?



Unlimited Mimosas
May 4, 2024

To the Editor,

I’m headed to Columbia University this weekend, not to join the movement, but to fulfill a lifelong dream which lies 118 miles to the east of West 116th Street: the Montauk dunes.

While the protesters are out in the streets banging pots, smashing windows, and barricading themselves in the cafeteria, I’ll schmooze my way into their encampment (I can be very convincing), gingerly stake claim to one of their beautiful, colorful, brand-new tents, disassemble it, roll it up, and take it back to the East End of Long Island, where I’ll set up my own private beach encampment in the dunes of Montauk, far away from the bourgeoisie of New York City, with my Playmate cooler stocked with bottles of Andre Extra Dry, orange juice, and enough Ikea fluted champagne glasses to quell the staunchest of rebellious tigresses.

A weekend with me, I assure you, counting constellations in the remote dunes of Montauk and protesting will be the furthest thing from their minds.

Unlimited mimosas included.




Tragedy Repeats
May 4, 2024

To the Editor:

Nothing personal, Anna Skrenta. I am sure you are a nice person and obviously intelligent, but, darn, you are the most halfhearted defender of the town Democrats ever.

Nevertheless, the semiotics (and hermeneutics) of your letter were rather fascinating. First, that you did not name Voldemort, confirming his status as “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.” Second, that you referred to an unelected power broker as your “colleague.” Under all the circumstances, I am guessing that he asked (or directed) you to write that letter. That was a tactical error. A minor one, admittedly; but Voldemort is really more powerful if he stays invisible to ordinary mortals.

Switching gears for once: Omigosh, Carol Dray, your letter idolizing the four dead in Ohio 54 years ago while demonizing today’s student protesters was radically wrong (that might be a slight play on words). I bridge those generations: My entire political being (and much of my personality) were instantly formed on May 5, 1970, at age 15, as I read in the morning paper what had happened the day before at Kent State. I co-led a student strike at my high school that week, survived an attempted assault by counterprotesters with chains, and was threatened with expulsion from my school. I don’t think I have changed in any significant way since that day, in my ethics or worldview, and I am fortunate for that. Today, as a pro bono free speech attorney, I represent (with a team of volunteers in an organization we formed, the Parachute Project) about 500 students nationwide who are being assaulted, arrested, doxed, defamed, suspended, or expelled in retaliation for the same exact moral revulsion against a brutal, senseless war that drove us in the Vietnam era. There is not an iota, a hair, of difference between that generation and this.

Horrifying rhetoric from Vice President Spiro Agnew and Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes, demonizing the students as an anarchistic, violent enemy, preceded and, in my opinion, caused the killings at Kent State. Today, we are hearing that same rhetoric again, from Donald Trump, a robotic (and ambitious) faithful such as Elise Stefanik, our local fish-hobbyist billionaire, Q, and even from putative Democrats such as Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams. And you. It seems very likely that before long, more students will die at the hands of law enforcement, and for the same reasons. Karl Marx said* that history always repeats, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. That is sometimes true. But tragedy also repeats, when we have learned nothing.

*How enjoyable to quote Marx in the pages of The Star. Reg Cornelia, please take note.

Joe Karpinski: I am so sorry for your loss.

For democracy in America, and East Hampton,



That Guy?
May 5, 2024

To the Editor,

First let me offer my thank-you to The Star for placing my father’s obituary on the back page next to a story about our road. I sincerely take that as a sign. Chef’s kiss, gang. I needed the pick-me-up. Second, the story was excellently written in my opinion. It does raise the question, though, how someone with no valid permits keeps getting meetings and hearings. Third, the editorial about viewing the eroding shoreline using Google for Bay View and Mulford? Simply facts. We’ll take a deeper dive soon.

We can’t lose focus on other matters.

Let us not forget things not even said a year ago in this paper. To quote the current Amagansett School board president: “Communication does work both ways, so if you do have issues, we are here,” she said. “You can come to a board meeting . . . and if you don’t feel it’s a safe space, then write us a letter.” At the March 26 meeting not even two months ago, this same individual said they can just sit there “stoic.” The silence is deafening. Email must be broken, too.

Mike Rodgers, a gym teacher, said last year in that article that teachers don’t feel “welcome to speak without retaliation.” He added, “I would love to take what took place and finally bring in real communication, make this school function like it really should. We’re too small to put up walls.” Most mornings you’ll see the alleged heir apparent for superintendent run to school board members’ vehicles. I can only speculate, for approval.

Unfortunately, we have the only school out east that is piercing the cap and the only one cutting teachers. Here, it’s luxuries over teachers. That March 26 meeting was illuminating. Silence, bulldozing the public, a wall that continued being built, now fortified, and you are digging that moat.

Your interim superintendent actually thinks Rock Your Socks Day is for Autism Acceptance Day. That guy was principal of the year? Does he know it’s Teacher Appreciation Week? You all are okay with that type of person solidifying our budget? What’s next? Soccer balls to the face? Instructors are to demonstrate, not participate.

Still here,


The East Hampton and Springs school districts will also vote this month on piercing the budget cap. Ed.


Honest Protest
North Haven
May 6, 2024

Dear David:

Young college students are assumed well educated, but seem to be off on a protest tangent where many are throwing insults by calling each other either pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel, or antisemitic.

Rather than focusing on protesting an unjust war in Gaza that they seem to be against, media coverage has reported this as a pro-Palestinian and antisemitic mob riot. Other students have digressed into a laundry list of difficult demands. This familiar but ugly model of political and racial name-calling easily diverts attention from the actual meaning of these antiwar protests.

It is no surprise that some of the arrested protesters were found to be unaffiliated with the colleges where they were arrested. It is also no surprise to see some law enforcement officers using unreasonable force against many students engaging in lawful and peaceful conduct. The situation is explosive, and made to order for media and authoritarian abuse.

Can it be that unscrupulous political hacks have deceived, misled, and caused discredit to an honest student protest?

The media thrives on viewer attention by showing combat, especially when police are involved. Media becomes an  accomplice stimulant to conflicts like this by spreading simplistic misinformation, causing distraction from what’s actually going on. As in the past, this is antiwar, not pro one side or the other. Civilians on both sides deserve better treatment.

During the 1960s and 1970s, media labeled protests for what they actually were. They were antiwar protests, or better put, they were against the massive indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians without clearly justifiable purposes, during repeated ineffective combat. Those antiwar protests focused on the atrocities of the war and unjustifiable losses of life.

Today’s  college kids seem honestly and reasonably troubled by the prosecution of this war against Hamas, as it’s being directed by Netanyahu, who himself seems to be directed by an unpopular right-wing faction of his own government.

In any event, it seems to me that the tragedy of civilian slaughter and loss of their entire infrastructure has become a potential war crime in itself. There has to be a better way to respond than “eye for an eye.”

The war as it is currently being prosecuted is worthy of honest protest. Civilians are being slaughtered in tremendous proportion without significant gains against the actual target, Hamas. The United States, along with Israel, must avoid behaving as does the actual terrorist enemy, Hamas.



He Warned Us
East Hampton
May 8, 2024

Dear David:

How stupid does Donald Trump think we are? In his latest rants, he would have voters believe that President Biden was the candidate fixated on turning America into a vicious autocracy. And, he would have us believe that only a second Trump term would save our democracy.

In a recent rant, Mr. Trump assailed President Biden’s administration as resembling the Nazi Gestapo. But it is Mr. Trump’s plan that is Gestapo-like. He envisions having the National Guard, perhaps aided by the active military, fan out across the country to round up all undocumented immigrants, roughly 11 million people. His plan envisions detaining them in vast detention camps as they await deportation.

That’s what Trump told us he would do. In addition, he said he would ask local police departments to help in this nationwide pogrom. Those jurisdictions that refused to participate would be denied federal funding. 

Mr. Trump also promised to send the National Guard into cities to fight crime, whether or not governors asked for that “assistance.” When pressed with evidence that violent crime is declining across the country — according to the F.B.I., homicides fell by 13 percent last year — Trump insisted, without evidence, that the data is rigged. 

Do we want to live under a regime reminiscent of that which World War II Germany inflicted on occupied countries? In Trump’s America, he sees troops in military gear erecting checkpoints everywhere and raiding residential neighborhoods, demanding to see our papers. This is what he — not President Biden — promises. 

In his rants, Mr. Trump would have us believe that President Biden is responsible for the eradication of women’s reproductive and related health care rights. Yet, again, it was a proud Mr. Trump who took credit for overturning the guarantees of Roe v. Wade. Now, in the wake of the post-Roe political firestorm, Trump downplays his culpability and points to the states as those responsible. He refuses to say whether he would support state decisions to ban abortion, access to contraception, or the availability of in vitro fertilization treatments. Or if states decided to monitor pregnancies or even prosecute women for having abortions (remember that during the 2016 campaign he favored punishing women who had unlawful abortions). He refuses to say whether he would veto federal abortion restrictions if they reached his desk. Note that while he criticized the 1864 Arizona abortion ban in the wake of political uproar, he has been silent on the propriety of the 1873 Comstock Act, which if enforced would have the effect of banning abortions and even contraceptives. Importantly, ultraconservative Republicans see this law as the means to federally regulate reproductive rights in a second Trump term.

While Mr. Trump offers no comfort to women, or family planning, Mr. Biden promises just the opposite — an expanded guarantee of reproductive health care and family planning.Think about all of this when you decide whether and how to vote in November. And don’t say Trump didn’t warn us.




Alternative Realities
East Hampton
May 5, 2024

To the Editor,

The noise and political and media actions around the student protests on the Gaza conflict are a distorted, almost demented, trip into alternate realities and political mind[-bending]. More and more, we tend to take important issues and instead of debating and understanding them, we turn them into garbage. The fear of the unknown, of learning, of possibly needing to recalibrate our thought processes is more frightening than the issues themselves.

Antisemitism is the simplest of all. It is a derivative of deranged Christian political theology, for whatever reasons, and only our churches can terminate the problem. Discussions of student antisemitism with respect to Gaza are just a means of blocking the real issue.

“Woke” really means “wake up, you ignorant, fascist cretins,” but is never quite put out that way. “Ignorant” because we are profoundly ignorant about most sociopolitical issues. “Fascist” because many of us who aren’t ignorant believe in the correctness of our racism. “Cretins” because too many people are simply too intellectually challenged to understand the problem.

“Pro-Palestinian” is the term used to describe the student protesters. It is used as a negative term to denigrate the stop-the-war movement. It is a false rationale to support an insane war effort (something we always do). Virtually no one is pro-Palestine. Just ask the Palestinian people. They are in their current state because they never have gotten the support they need.

The student protests around Gaza have engendered a substantial reality distortion because they are so straightforward and obvious. Stop the killing. A call for a humane solution in a world that celebrates subhuman behavior. We shouldn’t confuse subhuman with animal, because animals kill to survive not because their DNA is compromised.

The stop-the-killing message is so clear and straightforward that it boggles the mind to think of the deranged responses it engenders. Stop the killing is the issue. Not student radicals, or minor damage, or occasional antisemitism. Stop the relentless distraction from the only issue that matters. Stop rationalizing the killing.

The New York Times Op-Ed by the historian Steven Hahn on American illiberalism (fascism) lays out our history and how it has always been a part of our nation’s culture. Much of the country embraces and has always embraced our illiberal past. The student protests fly in the face of our fascism.

They not only call on Israel to stop the killing, but are a reminder to Americans that we are often the country that is dropping the bombs.


Your support for The East Hampton Star helps us deliver the news, arts, and community information you need. Whether you are an online subscriber, get the paper in the mail, delivered to your door in Manhattan, or are just passing through, every reader counts. We value you for being part of The Star family.

Your subscription to The Star does more than get you great arts, news, sports, and outdoors stories. It makes everything we do possible.