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Letters to the Editor for June 6, 2024

Thu, 06/06/2024 - 09:21

Society Can Improve
    North Haven
    June 6, 2024
Dear David:
    We thank Tom House for his commitment to bringing Sunday's third annual Hamptons Pride Parade and celebration in the park to East Hampton. Sadly, the recent loss of his beloved brother must be devastating, but I hope it may have given him some extra strength to continue all his important work. Bless you, Tom, and your family. We are your family, too, and appreciate your support as well. 
    Village officials made it official, and the East Hampton police presence was welcome, pleasant, and helpful. The officers were professional, supportive, and a wonderful experience -- compared to what had been "normal" back in 1969.
    My experience on that infamous Friday night, June 27-28, 1969, from inside Stonewall, was to see New York City's hostile police officers suddenly raiding the joyous club and hassling everyone, forcing us into the street while physically abusing kids, and arresting and clubbing many. This became a critical moment in social history. 
    Marginalized gay and trans people had suddenly become a large and powerful group, motivated to finally stand up for our self-respect, demanding fair treatment from our own government and law enforcement. A large, angry, and growing crowd of club kids and neighborhood citizens became a critical mass, demanding better treatment. 
    What started as a symbol of gay pride has become a symbol of pride and respect for everyone, without contrived, exclusionary conditions of "otherness" and "not my thing-ism." 
    Yes, the current inclusionary label L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ has become a bit of a long string of alphabet letters, but that is actually the point. It's time for everyone to behave more accepting of one another, despite their significant differences. 
    Our own police officers showed how far our society can improve itself. Good training and honest respect for everyone, regardless of their differences, gives refreshing credibility to the term peace officers. We must honor them as well for doing their frequently dangerous work, which often includes just helping to keep things peaceful and functioning. 
    Thanks to all that, I could safely join this parade in East Hampton, and participate with pride in the celebration of all that has taken place, and all that still needs to be done.
    Sincere thanks to all,

Feeding Our Families
    June 3, 2024
Dear David,
    I'm overwhelmed by the generosity the East Hampton Food Pantry experienced during Saturday's Feeding our Families event sponsored by Long Island Cares, Stop and Shop, and NBC. From local residents to visitors to Pride Parade participants, shoppers at our local store on Newtown Lane stepped up and filled giant watermelon bins -- repeatedly -- with food for pantry clients. We collected over 1,600 pounds of food -- what a blessing!
    The staff at Stop & Shop, beginning with Laura, the store manager, was welcoming and super helpful from the minute we arrived on site -- setting up our table and helping load bags of groceries into our van throughout the day. 
    As always, our amazing volunteers -- Frank, Kathy, Erica, Laura, Jackie, Carl and Bill -- were on hand -- were willing to give up time on a gorgeous June Saturday for the benefit of others. They joined our board members Sharon Bacon, Emily Paxson Sabnani, and Marguerite Davidowicz, plus Kitty Merrill, our store manager, and Noah Gualtieri, our operations manager, speaking to shoppers, asking them to buy "just one" item from a list created by our partner Long Island Cares. Many shoppers came out of the store with entire bags of staple goods for our clients!
    While spring and summer seasons traditionally see a reduction in the number of individuals we serve, as neighbors laid off for the winter return to work, we're still seeing a high volume of needy residents, with nearly 800 individuals served last week and some 17,000 people already served this year. 
    Keeping our shelves stocked is always a challenge, and the spirit of giving we saw Saturday reminds us how many people are always willing to step up and help less fortunate neighbors of our beautiful town. Food insecurity is real here and, when we ask, our community comes through in wonderful ways.
    In gratitude, 
    East Hampton Food Pantry

All Our Children
    June 3, 2024
To the Editor,
    Thank you for your very kind words regarding my tenure on the Springs School Board and for your continued support of the school. Being a school board member is complex, as your editorial acknowledged;  it is thrilling to make popular decisions that the community wants but having to make unpopular decisions, or ones that can't be explained due to confidentiality, can be excruciating. It is a fascinating and meaningful process and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to participate in it for nine years. 
    While I will not be continuing on the board, I would still like to thank everyone who showed up to vote and passed the budget. Springs is fortunate to have an incredible array of teachers and staff who are dedicated to both the education and the total well-being of our students. This budget shows unwavering support for them and their work -- and for the continued enrichment of all our children.

Fished With Dad
    June 1, 2024
To the Editor,
    I just finished reading "Thar Be Blows" article by Jon M. Diat in your May 23 issue. It took me back to 1970, when as a 12-year-old I fished at the Maidstone Park channel with my Dad. What fun we had catching blowfish! My Dad would clean them right there on the jetty, and we would throw the entrails to the sea gulls which would sometimes catch them in the air. And then, of course, we would cook them for lunch! It is one of my fondest memories! Thank you for bringing back to me a wonderful time in my life. 
    With fond memories and best wishes,

Pedestrian Safety
    East Hampton Village
    June 1, 2024
Dear Editor:
    As an avid walker in our village, your editorial "Getting Serious on Pedestrian Safety," (May 30) was of great interest to me.
    If the village really wants to be sincere about pedestrian safety, they need to address the proliferation of bikes, e-scooters, etc., zooming along the side- "walks."     While walking my dog to Newtown Lane via North Main Street, we feel bullied by riders who rush up upon us with no warning as they fail to slow down or disembark. They just bolt by. (New York State law requires bikes to be equipped with a warning bell or horn that can be heard 100 feet away.) We even spot them riding on Newtown Lane sidewalks.
    I've written a couple of emails to Mayor Jerry Larsen and Police Chief Jeff Erickson in March and April requesting that they consider putting signs up asking bikers and other two-wheeled vehicles to avoid the sidewalks. The mayor said someone would get back to me. No response yet.
    This is an unenforceable transgression. We can't expect our police force to spend their valuable time patrolling sidewalks. I also understand that these vehicles are used by many as transport to jobs, etc., and there is no bike lane option in the village. 
    There seem to be more bikers and e-scooter users in the village than pickleball players, so perhaps the board will reconsider building pickleball courts at the later phase of the Herrick Park renovation and put valuable resources toward developing a real plan to build lanes for bikes, e-scooters, and skateboards.

A Meretricious Din

With apologies to William Butler Yeats:
Turning and turning in diminishing landscape
The ospreys cannot find their home;
Tradition falls apart; the center cannot hold;
More density is loosed upon our shores
The foul stench septic tide rises from beneath
The quaint innocence of past is drowned;
The boards lack conviction, while the outsiders
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some salvation is at hand;
Surely a Bonac Savior is at hand.
Savior, Salvation! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Hamptons Magazine
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of Atlantic Beach
A shape wearing a Brunello Cucinelli unbuttoned shirt
A gaze blank and pitiless as a twenty thousand G.F.A. house,
Is converting earth to stone, while all around it
Reel shadows of indignant piping plovers.
Darkness is dropping despite the White Party revelry
The four centuries of sleepy small-town lore
Are now vexed to nightmare by a meretricious din
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

How Long?
    East Hampton        
    June 3, 2024
To the Editor,
    After reading last week's editorial regarding the Cranberry Hole Road bridge repair or lack of caused me to wonder -- How long can it take to repair the small broken pane of glass on the East Hampton Library front door? Is that a historic restoration requiring something special or what?

Taking Bets
    East Hampton
    May 29, 2024
Dear David,
    Is anyone taking bets on which project will be completed first -- the new senior center or the Cranberry Hole Road bridge?

Overtures, Arias
    June 3, 2024
Dear Editor, 
    Lucky us --  both kids and adults -- to have been treated this past weekend to Italian opera by the Hamptons Festival of Music. Over 300 youngsters, ages 4 to 18, at Eleanor Whitmore Center, Project MOST, Springs School, and East Hampton High School, were introduced by Logan Souther, associate conductor, and a soprano, Greer Lyle, to some of the most gorgeous overtures and arias by Mozart, Verdi, and Puccini. They loved it! And we adults thrilled to Logan's brilliant conducting of an eight-member "salon" orchestra and Greer's beautiful soaring voice at three concerts -- in Springs, Montauk, and East Hampton Village. 
    All this, as well as a recent film series ("Music and Art in Concert") at the East Hampton Library, is part of the Hamptons Festival of Music's community outreach program to bring high-quality classical music and arts education to our community. And, in September, we can look forward to three concerts played by 44 world-class musicians under the baton of Maestro Michael Palmer, the festival's founder and musical director. Indeed, lucky us!

Opera Outreach
     June 6, 2024
Dear David,
    My wife Donna and I were delighted to join about 100 fellow music lovers at the Springs Community Church for an opera recital last Friday evening. We enjoyed listening to famous arias sung by an extraordinary young soprano, Greer Lyle, accompanied by a nine-piece ensemble. She demonstrated an amazing range and brought depth and passion to the music. Logan Souther, the conductor, accompanied Greer in well-known and loved arias and overtures from Mozart, Verdi, and Puccini.
    The Hamptons Festival of Music is putting on numerous musical events this year and the "Magic of Opera" performances were part of its community outreach program. The troupe performed at several schools and community venues: for wee ones at Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, fourth graders at the Springs School (known for their annual opera production), the Project MOST program at the John Marshall Elementary School, and East Hampton High School. They concluded their tour of East Hampton with concerts in Springs, Montauk at the Community Church, and in the village at St. Luke's Episcopal Church last Sunday.
    Opera includes a wide range of musical and theatrical arts and has venues worldwide, even in the middle of the Amazon. Last week, our hamlet was touched by the performances we enjoyed and we can hope they will be returning soon.

Some 'More Equal'
    East Hampton village
    June 6, 2024
Dear David,
    I celebrated the substance of Michael Aaron's letter last week, "Goose and Gander." Unfortunately, he doesn't own a home in the historical district or south of the highway -- shouldn't similar quality of life issues be considered regardless of where you live in the village? I guess not.
    Marcos's "duck" comments are nonsensical -- but expected.
    In following the Zero Bond saga, George Orwell's novel "Animal Farm" comes to mind. The proclamation by the pigs who controlled the government proclaimed, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than other." It is a comment on the hypocrisy of governments that proclaim the absolute equality of their citizens but give power and privileges to a small elite. It's alive and well at Village Hall.
    Thank you,

A Labor of Love
    East Hampton
    June 6, 2024
Dear David,
    We want to take this opportunity to thank our community for its unwavering support during our two-year renovation. Guild Hall is completing a near-total infrastructure replacement of our 93-year-old building. Our facility now functions like new construction while maintaining its character and scale. Anyone who has undertaken to restore an older property knows this is a labor of love. 
    The planning started during the pandemic in 2020 when the future was uncertain. The board of trustees decided that Guild Hall's longevity hinged on modernizing the facility. Since then, hundreds of individuals -- from the design team to donors -- contributed their resources and energy. Membership is soaring, and more diverse groups of all ages are participating in our creative offerings than ever before. Guild Hall's mission has been renewed.
    In July, we will unveil the final stage of the project when the Hilarie and Mitchell Morgan Theater opens. We are incredibly grateful to the Morgans for their landmark gift and belief in the arts. Thanks to their generosity, Guild Hall will be here for many generations. At the same time we will acknowledge the history of the John Drew Theater with forthcoming signage and artistic recognition. 
    As Mary Woodhouse’s great-grandson Lincoln Palsgrove IV (a Guild Hall trustee) said, “I think both of my great-grandparents would be over the moon to see the vibrancy and energy that the trustees and Guild Hall staff have brought forward to today from its opening in 1931."
    We look forward to welcoming the community to the new theater.
    Executive Director

Fate of John Drew        
    June 3, 2024
Dear David:
    Your editorial regarding the fate of the John Drew Theater name sparked many emotions. East Hampton has a history and aspects of that history should not be sold or bartered away. We have already lost so much of the historical richness of the community due to the forced exodus of original family members and the transformation of East Hampton into just another "Hampton."
    I am sure that most people in East Hampton are grateful for the generosity of Hilarie and Mitchell Morgan in funding a modern renovation of the theater. If their donation was indeed a gift, it should not have come with strings attached. If they insisted on the name change as a part of the deal, then that would be more like a purchase than a gift. 
    We have had many, many truly generous people who have selflessly supported various historic sites. Their names appropriately appear on donation boards, on programs, and in the history of the structures and events they have supported. They never asked for more. 
    Only Hilarie and Mitchell Morgan can show that their gift is constructive and not destructive by declining the renaming. But there may be a way to please everyone and I am surprised that the creative people at Guild Hall have not thought of it. Why not name the theater "The John Drew Theater at the Hilarie and Mitchell Morgan Cultural Center"? 

So Esteemed
    East Hampton
    June 1, 2024
Dear David,
    At one time in the Village of East Hampton there lived one of the most renowned landscape painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Thomas Moran, whose paintings of the Yellowstone region inspired Congress to establish Yellowstone as the first national park, in 1872.
    Also spending time in the village was John Drew Jr., the leading matinee idol of his time who was so esteemed by his fellow actors he was elected the lifetime president of the New York theater club, The Players.
    Neither Moran nor Drew was a founder of Guild Hall or exhibited or performed in the venue; Moran died in 1926 and Drew in 1927. Yet the founding trustees saw fit to name a gallery in Moran's honor and the theater in memory of John Drew.
    Perhaps it was because Thomas Moran and Mary Nimmo Moran's building of their house and studio in 1884 was a catalyst for the community of artists who began to set up their year-round homes in the area. Moran was also one of the founders of the Maidstone Club.
    John Drew Jr. was part of the fabric of the community, participating in Ladies Village Preservation Society fashion shows, Fourth of July parades, historical pageants, and firemen's dinners. When he died in 1927, the village flag was flown at half-staff.
    While the Thomas Moran Gallery is still, I hope, and John Drew's name could still be on the theater, we don't always get what we want.
    Guild Hall is a one-of-a-kind cultural institute and we are lucky to have the institution in our village and it should be supported. Thanks to Guild Hall and its donors in bringing the building into the 21st Century.
    And a reminder, Mrs. Woodhouse refused the founding trustees' suggestion that the cultural center be named in her honor.
    Yours truly, 
    East Hampton Village Historian

Should Have Asked
    East Hampton
    June 2, 2024
Dear David, 
    Not-for-profits attract folks with big wallets by selling them naming rights. But there are many generous donors who do not condition gifts on getting naming rights, especially on pre-existing structures with historic names.
    The renaming of Avery Fisher Hall to Geffen Hall was met with some controversy but the Fisher family did agree to relinquish the name. 
    I don't know whether Guild Hall first asked the "townspeople" whether or not the name should be relinquished, but if they didn't, they should've.

Citizens Academy
    May 31, 2024
Dear David,
    In last week's paper, I noticed that The Star did not cover the continuation of the East Hampton Town Police Citizens Academy with the graduation of 14 local citizens. As a participant of the East Hampton Police Citizens Academy, I would like to thank Chief of Police Michael Sarlo for bringing this opportunity back to the citizens of our community and express my gratitude to Lt. Chelsea Tierney and Sgt. Ken Alversa for spearheading this opportunity for all of us graduating that day.
    I am reminded of a familiar saying used when trying to figure out and/or understand any entity or organization, "walk a mile in my shoes." This academy has given each of us an opportunity to truly walk a mile in the shoes of our local town police force, participating in the same kinds of training (firearms, laws of arrest, use of force, special units, criminal investigation) that they are required to continually take. 
    For me, the ride-along with a patrol officer was an eye-opener into the truly professional and caring protocols officers use every day to keep us safe and responsible.
    I have to say we were all amazed at the dedication, professionalism, knowledge, patience, and good-natured humor we experienced from every officer who worked with us (not an easy task) throughout these 10 weeks.
    I am a better citizen because of this opportunity, I would recommend it to any of my fellow citizens to truly understand and value the work our town police force does 24/7.
    Thanks again for this experience, and I hope they continue this opportunity. 

Path to the Beach
    June 2, 2024
To the Editor: 
    From the June 4 agenda of the zoning board of appeals, a request for a natural resources special permit and variance on Napeague to build a 10,000-square-foot mini-mansion, on three combined lots from the highway to the ocean: 
    "To merge three single and separate lots and construct a 10,503 sq. ft. one and two story residence with 6,319 sq. ft. of terraces and decks, including roof decks, a swimming pool, sanitary system, gravel driveway with security gate and 4' footpath to the beach on a property containing freshwater wetlands, barrier dunes, secondary dunes and beach vegetation."
    A pathway to the beach by definition runs through the primary dune. It occurs to me by the way that heavy manipulation of definitions is an integral part of Z.B.A. activities: Sometimes part of the primary dune itself seems to be redefined as secondary; secondary dunes are classified as second-class entities, mere obstacles that can be removed with impunity, playing no role whatever as barriers to sea level rise.
    With all the time the town has spent promoting its coastal resilience plan and talking of moving buildings back from the water's edge in Montauk, permission to build this monster would clearly establish that it was all air, just empty talk. 
    For democracy in East Hampton,

    June 1, 2024
Dear David,
    Speaking as a member of the target audience for the proposed 22,000-square-foot senior center: Can we afford to spend $28 million on a single segment of our small community? I don't think so.
    We already have a 21,000-square-foot community center; that would be the East Hampton RECenter, or Y. At most times of the day, seniors are its dominant user group and can be found in yoga classes, interval training, and TRX classes, spin classes, playing pickleball, and in the pool doing masters swim workouts and water aerobics classes. As much as I enjoy my time at the Y with fellow seniors, I also enjoy interacting with the younger members of our community, particularly the elementary schoolers arriving for their swim lessons. Their energy and excitement are priceless!
    Unfortunately, with 30 percent population growth in the past 10 years, and the popularity of the Y's programs, we have outgrown the facility. The demand for programs far exceeds the ability of the management team to supply them within the confines of the existing building. Take pickleball for example. It has soared in popularity among the 60-plus crowd. With the only option for a court being the outdoor basketball court, the players are held captive by the weather. And even if the weather cooperates, the demand for playing spots far surpasses the availability. This availability issue cuts across all Y programs including spin, yoga, TRX, and swim training.
    On a typical day, the pool area will see usage by local elementary school students (part of the excellent drown-proofing of the East End initiative), private and group swim lessons, Y Hurricane and East Hampton High School swim team practice, Masters Swim, water aquatics classes, training sessions for the ocean and bay lifeguard tests and for our volunteer Ocean Rescue crew, and open swim.
    Clearly, the Y is a victim of its own success, which leads to my key question for the town board: Why are we not considering building one facility that meets the current and projected future needs of the entire community? 
    One aspect of the Y that most users agree on is that the current management model, in which the town owns the building and is responsible for funding maintenance, does not work well.
    The Y.M.C.A. has multiple facility management models. Perhaps the Y of Long Island would entertain outright ownership and management of a new facility. This would remove the town from the responsibility of maintaining the building. The Y organization could take the lead role in fund-raising. The town could provide some level of funding (similar to the Montauk facility) and perhaps donate the land. 
    With our seniors' needs incorporated into the design, this can be a win-win-win for our seniors, the community, and the board. And it would demonstrate that our elected officials are prudent stewards of our tax dollars and can think big when required. 

'New' Older Adults
    East Hampton        
    June 1, 2024
Dear David,
    First, I would like to express my gratitude for the hundreds of people who have contacted me to express their appreciation of my letters regarding the town board-approved new senior center. I'm overwhelmed by your support and words of encouragement.
    One man perfectly summed up the current state of the town's senior center project: "The town board is working with the architect to turn a pig's ear into a silk purse." The irony of this old adage wasn't wasted on me. It succinctly defines what the unqualified architectural firm and the even less qualified town board are doing. Unfortunately, no board member would go against Kathee Burke-Gonzalez in fear that she would give them the "Jeff Bragman treatment," i.e., kick them off the board even though they were elected by taxpayers.
    The topic this week is modern senior centers. They are designed to provide the myriad needs and desires of older adults by providing socialization, nutritional services, transportation, and psychological support for them and their family caregivers. 
    Interestingly, today's senior centers must present activities that meet the needs of multiple generations, not a single cohort. In fact, four very different generational cohorts are represented in today's senior centers including our own. The Greatest Generation (1901-1924), The Silent Generation (1925-1945), Baby Boomers (1948-1964), and Generation X (1965-1980), each of these generations is unique in its respective cohort effect, which influences their behaviors, their lifestyles, and their choices. 
    Senior centers also span the gamut of races, cultures, and ethnicities. To understand the differences in values, work ethic, social commitments, relationships, and more requires an entire presentation, which I would be happy to do at the library if enough people are interested. Understanding "cohort effect" in detail is key to creating successful programs at senior centers and in most professions.
    Professionally, modern senior centers require staff with an educational minimum of a bachelor's degree and a certificate in aging. Preferably, they should have a master's degree in aging with a proven work track record. This clearly presents a problem on the South Fork. To attract the staff, a modern center requires the town must provide housing at a reasonable rental rate. The new affordable housing on Three Mile Harbor Road would be perfect. 
Once the proposed senior center atrocity is abolished there will be a surplus of previously budgeted finances for an appropriate new senior center building and funds to create employee housing. Local builders and other area professional businesses are buying houses for their valued employees for as long as they are employed. The town must include employee housing as public employees do not earn comparable salaries to those in the private sector.
    How will the town attract "new" older adults to a modern senior center? First and foremost, it will require ridding ageism from our town's residents' and our representatives' perceptions. As the town board member responsible for the senior center for over 12 years, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez's total neglect of both the center's participants as well as her gross neglect of the building on Springs-Fireplace Road creates the perception that she is ageist, i.e., has prejudice against older adults. 
    The current center has a hole through the rotted cedar siding to the interior. The paint is peeling off the entire building. There are holes in the sidewalks, front, and rear of the building, where one fall could lead to a major lawsuit against the town. And much more. The current building is unfit for habitation thanks to Supervisor Burke-Gonzalez's decades-long neglect triggered by her ageism.
    Is our ageist supervisor qualified to make any decisions regarding a new senior center? Absolutely not! Her first steps in the design and build process have given us a 22,000-square-foot, inappropriate-concept structure on the most undesirable plot of land in the town. It doesn't fit the community in style. Rather than look like a "windmill," it looks more like a pinwheel. Is she the right person to approve a new design appropriate for older adults? Will she staff the new center with professionals educated in aging? She has failed on all counts. Nothing has changed about her.
    Since taking the oath of office Supervisor Burke-Gonzalez has rid herself of all responsibilities and given them to the newly created position of town manager. Kathee's only responsibility is the budget. Will she now create a sensible budget to guide architects in the bidding process? In fact, she cannot because she never took the appropriate steps to plan the project. Moreover, the decision to hire a town manager was clearly made months before the last election. The taxpayers should have been made aware of the Democratic Party's decision regarding a town manager a year before the election, as it clearly indicated Kathee's inability to fulfill the role of supervisor.
    On a progressive note, let's look at what modern senior centers are offering. Keep in mind that with four cohorts spanning in age over 100 years interacting together, there are many different needs, experiences, and opinions. I will offer a modified list beginning with a six-lane bowling alley, simulated golf, a game room, a fully equipped classroom for seminars on investing, writing, and the performing arts through collaboration with Guild Hall, a movie room, a technology room, a fully outfitted arts and crafts room, a yoga studio, and intergenerational programs for children such as reading groups and special programs for children with learning disabilities. 
    Note: Older adults throughout the town have the time, the education, and patience to work with children. These volunteers enjoy the process as meaningful contributors. The latter will demonstrate a major shift from the "old" senior center concept to a new progressive center that involves the entire community.
    Unlike my generation, which grew up in the 1950s, many children and young adults today never had the benefit of being with grandparents as they came of age. Senior centers are encouraging young adult discussion groups to gain from grandparent wisdom. These groups are an alternative to mental health counseling: Older adults and young people share real-life experiences and learn how to work through the dilemmas that they are struggling to understand. The outcomes of these groups are reported to be profound for all involved.
    For a complete list of the services that our current senior center planners want to provide, go to the Town of East Hampton website.
    Have a good week. Please make time this week to visit the existing center and share a meal with us. The kitchen staff does an amazing job under the most trying circumstances. Meet the program supervisor, Michelle Posillico, who works hard every day to make the center inclusive and a success while working in a building that is literally falling apart around us -- and meet participants who will attest to the importance of the center to their daily lives.

No Notice 
    June 2, 2024 
Dear David,
    Richard Loeschner and the Amagansett School Board haphazardly put together a meeting last Tuesday. This was to announce the new superintendent. Who did they contact directly about the change from executive session to open to the public? Not us. We have no correspondences. This is a direct violation of open-meetings laws. An hour or two before is not a 72-hour notice. Heck, the meeting itself was a farce -- friends and family perks. Remember the claims of the school board being a "social club" in 2017. How did you announce a superintendent without a resolution, presented resolution, a vote by members, and for the public to be able to review the contract? I know I wholeheartedly dispute this hire with no previous experience. 
    Of course Mr. Loeschner could sit in the interview for a man he states to know "personally" and is a "friend," but not all of the interviews. How are you assisting in this search? I'm proof positive we had more qualified candidates. Then again, Mr. Loeschner has a documented history of being the leader of the "boys club." Ignoring situations and even past issues with principals around December. Sound familiar? Brentwood articles are very vast, the lawsuit flings too. 
    By the way, Maria Dorr was here in January for the blue ribbon ceremony so how is it continually reported she was gone in December? How is that alleged 3028 playing out? Is there  a hearing yet? The public demands to know, school board. She was also to be mentored by Mr. Loeschner to be our next superintendent. Can't get in the way of soccer balls, though. 
    Now we need to pay our gym teacher at Seth Turner's top-salary pay? Keep Mr. Loeschner on an "as needed" basis. Wow, Tom Mager, now I really know why we needed those cuts. Not to forget Kristen Peterson paved the way for Mr. Mager to go from his part-time $60,000 to now over just a few years a ballooned full-time position at $145,000. In my opinion, you should have taken that other full-time spot UpIsland. Wasting money and more money at the administration level. Sweeping issues under the rug. Sell that house on Miankoma, as was talked about years ago. That will be great for your savings. You've set the precedent this year. No one needs to live in it anymore. No kickbacks so someone can rent their home and live on site at a sixpence. You all can't wait to go back 25 years and bring on the Ellie Tritt school model, version 2.0. 
    Still here, 

A Crisis So Dire
    East Hampton
    June 3, 2024
Dear David,
    On June 25, a crucial primary vote will take place between two Democrats vying for the Congress seat in New York's First District. The early voting window opens on June 15, underscoring the urgency of our participation.
    My husband and I will vote for the common-sense Democrat, John Avlon. John is a highly motivated and inspirational problem-solver who knows the importance of this year's vitally important election and its impact on our democracy and country for years to come. 
    This is a pivotal election year, one that may even be the last time Americans will have the right to vote if we lose our democracy and become an autocracy ruled by a dictator. Never before have Americans faced a crisis so dire as this coming election in November. 
    John Avlon's decision to run for Congress was driven by personal concerns, particularly the future of his two young children. This personal stake in the future of our district and country is what makes him a candidate worth considering. 
    I attended a debate between John and his opponent at LTV Studios a few months ago. I was impressed with John Avlon's thoughtful and dynamic assessment of our local issues and his proposed solutions that could improve our lives and sustain our planet. 
    John is uniquely qualified to be our next representative in Congress. He has been a journalist, author, and presidential historian. John understands the need to work together to accomplish goals and pass legislation that benefits the people. Although the current government is fraught with division that has rendered progress extremely difficult, John's common-sense reasoning enables him to focus on the end goal. He is keenly aware of the issues we face and will work to create solutions that can be implemented by both parties. The challenge is to work together in a meaningful way so that our democracy doesn't die at the hands of extremists, and -- with our votes -- John will become our congressman.  
    John's endorsements include Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., Congressmen Tom Suozzi, Dan Goldman, Greg Meeks, and others. Our former Suffolk legislator Bridget Fleming and current legislator, Ann Welker, also support his candidacy. New York State United Teachers has also endorsed John Avlon for Congress; when the manifesto "Project 2025" would privatize all schools, this endorsement provides a powerful message.
    Please cast your vote for John Avlon! #GOTV! Website:
    All the best,

Ready to Fight
    June 3, 2024
Dear David,
    At a time when armchair critics and keyboard warriors are infecting our civic discourse with outrage and negativity, I want to salute the folks who are, as Teddy Roosevelt said, "actually in the arena" doing the work of democracy. When things feel bleak and it's tempting to drown out the noise and sit out elections, I am grateful to those who persist in casting their votes. 
    Democrats have an important primary election on June 25 to choose their candidate for New York's First Congressional District. As of April 1, there were 9,418 registered Democrats in the Town of East Hampton. In our last Congressional primary, in 2020, only 3,477 Democrats cast their votes. With three convenient ways to vote (early, by mail, and on Election Day), I know we can do better this year! 
    Early in-person voting runs from June 15 through the 23 at Windmill village, 219 Accabonac Road. New this year, all voters also have the option to vote early by mail by requesting an early mail ballot the same way they would request an absentee ballot. And of course, polls are open on June 25 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Please go to for early voting days and times as well as links to request an early mail or absentee ballot. 
    The East Hampton Democratic Committee and Town Board have endorsed John Avlon. He is also endorsed by United States Representative Tom Suozzi and State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., the New York State Teachers Union, and six of the eight Democratic committees in Suffolk. Please go to to learn more about John and his positions on the issues. He is ready to get in the arena and fight for us. Let's help get him there! 

Folded and Whined
    East Hampton
    June 3, 2024
    When Donald Trump was convicted on all 34 counts, the question raised by Fox was of a rigged jury. The obvious response was that Trump was born and raised in New York, a city of white, wealthy elites. If ever a jury pool was less biased and more favorable to Trump it was this one. The sheer absurdity of the question was obvious -- the victim defense was same one Adolf Hitler used, abusive parents.
    What was also obvious to the jury was that between 1970 and 2010 no place in the world had more available sexual pleasure of every conceivable type. Consequently white, wealthy men never paid for sex because it was already available, unless that person was obviously genetically disturbed or lying -- eviscerating Trump's defense, but, more important, identifying Trump as a pathetic bag of white trash. 
    Trump is now a convicted felon, a convicted rapist, a convicted defamer, a convicted coward by admission; see his father's payoff to avoid the Vietnam War. A huge failure as a president: See economic numbers. A failure in business that required his father to bail him out in 90 percent of his business transactions.
    His cowardice rendered him incapable of defending himself. Fearing that a prosecutor would rip him to shreds in front of a jury of his peers, he folded and whined.
    What Trump's character says about the United States is unnerving. Are we a bag-of-shit country?

Take the Oath?
    East Hampton
    June 6, 2024
To the Editor,
    I ask our readers, if you were on trial and your reputation was at stake and you were facing possible jail time -- and the prosecution was lying about you -- wouldn't you, as a self-acknowledged pretty savvy guy, wouldn't you take the stand, take the oath and proclaim your innocence for all the world to hear?

Use as a Weapon
    East Hampton
    June 6, 2024
Dear David,
    In the 1940s when Republican Senator McCarthy was patting his vest pocket and claiming, falsely, to have a list of 200 Communists in our government, the first senator to challenge him was Margaret Chase Smith, another Republican, who gave a speech in the Senate containing these words; "I do not want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny: Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear."
    We are in a similar situation today. In an attempt to stir up fear of the other, Republicans would have us believe that immigrants entering our county today are a band of criminals. Who among us, however, these days, even in East Hampton, does not know an immigrant family or two, and see in them the same aspiration as ours, to see their children well fed and well educated? Go to a school graduation sometime and see the proud fathers rushing up to their daughters with flowers for them and tears in their eyes. Those tears may cause you to wonder what horrors this family fled in order to find their way to America. A study from Northwestern University found that immigrants were 30 percent less likely to be arrested for crimes than U.S.-born whites.
    Ignorance is not the same as stupidity. An intelligent person can be made ignorant with persistent repetition of disinformation from a trusted source. For example, watch Fox News enough and you'll begin to believe our economy is in shambles. In fact, stocks are at an all-time high, more jobs have been created in President Biden's term than in any recent administration, inflation perpetrated by the pandemic has dropped faster than any economist predicted, and wages have risen such that buying power of the median American worker is now similar to 2019. The recession or depression predicted when Biden was elected? Didn't happen. Moreover, the signature accomplishments of Biden's policies have been directed at bringing back good jobs to America (CHIPS Act, infrastructure) and walking a picket line to raise wages for American workers. Relying on the information silos that ignore these facts, Republicans continue with some success to pour wax in the ears of their followers.
    Republicans did not create bigotry, but they they do not shrink to use it as a weapon. When Donald Trump was firing up the fear of Muslims, a Jewish friend from high school bought a second home in Scotland. When I asked why, he said, "I know who always comes next." When Trump absolves by refusal-to-condemn a group of marchers chanting, "Jews will not replace us," he's welcoming that underbelly of hatred to his tent. Republican defunding of Black history in schools is catnip to white supremacists, who were always here, but now feel free to emerge from the dark corners where they lurk. Not a coincidence that some Jewish students are now fearful on the most elite campuses in America.
    Take your pick of what is the biggest smear campaign the Republicans are using. Is it the persistent claim that the 2020 election was stolen, despite no evidence to support the claim? Or is it the phrase "Biden crime family"? The special prosecutor who spent millions trying to find Joe Biden's crimes found nothing; they found a son with drug problems and less-than-admirable willingness to trade on his father's name, but nothing on Joe. No surprise. Biden is the same straight arrow who rode the train home to his family every weekend and of whom even Lindsey Graham said, "as good a man as God ever created." Strangely, no Republican interest in investigating $2 billion to Trump's son-in-law from the Saudi prince.
    Fear, Ignorance, bigotry, and smear -- these are their tools to raise votes. But what is their goal? They'll tell you it is to defeat the Democrats' move to socialism or even communism. In fact, it is a magician's trick, sleight of hand, to distract the populace from the real direction of today's Republican Party, the opposite extreme from socialism: plutocracy, the rule of the country by the very few and the very rich. With Vladimir Putin as Trump's model, that would include immunity from prosecution even in the case of a Navalny-like assassination. If Margaret Chase Smith were here, she'd tell you it has happened before. 
    We don't need to just win in November. We need an overwhelming rejection of the cult of Trump with all its minor players.

Flag-Flying Wife
    May 31, 2024
To the Editor,
    Granted, the 1964 Jack Lemmon comedy "Good Neighbor Sam" was obviously not about upside-down-American-flag-waving Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. And admittedly, this Sam has not been as bad a neighbor as the imprisoned serial killer David (Son of Sam) Berkowitz would be had he not just been denied parole for a 12th time.
    But it's hard to fathom how a Supreme Court Justice like Sam Alito, whose vote in a 5-to-4 decision could control how 330 million Americans must act, cannot control his own flag-flying wife.

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