Letters to the Editor: 04.20.17
Willingness to Help
April 13, 2017
In the past several weeks I have been struck by the cordial help one gets in local visits to stores and institutions.
At Southampton Hospital, a charming volunteer walked me through the maze from ground floor to elevator to the rehab center offices. At Staples, a lovely young lady walked through the corridors to find exactly what I was looking for — supplies to mount a coming art show. At both Stop and Shop and King Kullen, employees, when asked for hard-to-find items such as glaze for an Easter ham or relish for burgers, instead of pointing, said with smiles, “Follow me.” At Red Horse, I was also escorted by a smiling lad to find where they hid English muffins.
What did most of them have in common, besides their willingness to help me? Either a lilt of an Irish brogue or a trill from south of the border. They, or their recent antecedents, were immigrants welcoming me, just as we should be welcoming to them.
FRED R. SMITH
April 11, 2017
Even though the sounds of various songbirds no longer fill our ears and allow us to connect to the world outside ourselves, fear not. The sound of nonstop leafblowers assure us that we do not have to fear for a “silent spring.” What better way to disconnect us from the natural world. Is there not a better way?
‘It’s a Service Dog’
April 14, 2017
I was recently at an event at Guild Hall when a woman entered with a dog on a leash. The woman was quickly advised by the staff that she was not allowed to bring the dog into Guild Hall, to which she replied, “It’s a service dog.”
I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. My suspicion about the validity of this “service” dog was confirmed when I overheard the woman say to someone that she did not want to leave the dog in her car.
As the summer season gets underway I’m sure this type of scenario will play out many times across all kinds of venues. Since it is my personal belief that many people exploit these laws by claiming their animal is a service animal, and businesses allow the animals because they don’t know the law, I thought I would research the rules and share what I learned with your readers.
The Americans with Disabilities Act limits the definition of a service animal to dogs, so any other animal is not covered by the law and businesses do not have to allow it on their premises.
While the A.D.A. does grant individuals who use “psychiatric service dogs” the same rights as those who use guide dogs, a psychiatric service dog has been trained to perform a specific task (or tasks) to aid its handler. Businesses may ask the dog handler what tasks the dog has been trained to perform.
The A.D.A. does not grant rights to individuals or their service dogs in the case where the dog is an “emotional support” dog — meaning it has not been trained to perform any tasks.
A business may exclude a legitimate service animal only if the animal is out of control or not housebroken and the animal’s handler does not control it. Allergies or fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access.
In a food establishment, the A.D.A. gives a person with a disability the right to be accompanied by his or her service animal, but covered entities are not required to allow an animal to sit at or be fed from the table.
All this information is available online at ada.gov. I hope that local businesses will familiarize themselves with what they are required to do, but also what they are not required to do.
Double the Size
April 10, 2017
To the Editor,
There has been considerable discussion of the uses and purposes of the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter in your pages over the last many weeks. I’d like to share a few thoughts:
I grew up in Idaho and my family had a small cabin in the Ketchum-Sun Valley area, which is in many ways very much like East Hampton, though on a smaller scale. It is a busy resort in certain seasons (winter as a ski resort, summer as a more general but popular resort area). The population plummets in the off-seasons; they are called “slack.” It is likewise a naturally beautiful area and a magnet for the wealthy, and lacks even East Hampton’s year-round economy of agriculture and fishing. Like East Hampton, over the years the lack of activities for children and young adults of school age has been a burden to the area.
A good number of years ago, a very wealthy and civic-minded resident of the town donated a new Y, I believe picking up the entire cost. It is a fairly extravagant facility and provides adults, younger adults, and children with terrific facilities for activity. I have no exact dimensions, but I would say it is at least twice the size of the RECenter, for a town that is very much smaller. It is hugely successful, having become a magnet for residents of all ages. The key, I believe, and the difference to our own RECenter, is that it is of sufficient size to serve the entire community.
While I understand that the RECenter was conceived to serve essentially the younger residents of the town, I think it has admirably (within its limitations) enlarged its scope to a broader range of the community. We should understand that mature members of the community need an activity center as well as the youth.
We must also realize that to focus too intently on the rising problems of narcotics among our youth may be misleading, as this has become a countrywide problem among all age groups. I do not mean to suggest that anything but seeking a full solution would be preferable, only that to look to the RECenter as a sole solution would be shortsighted.
It seems to me that the “problem” with the RECenter is simply that it is of inadequate size to serve the entire community. Rather than trying to constrict its use to one or another group, would it not be better to acknowledge this and begin a communitywide attempt to double the size of the facility and make it available to all? If any community contains within itself such financial resources, surely it is East Hampton, though a prolonged attempt to raise the money would require commitment and persistence.
April 10, 2017
I’ve been reading the articles and letters in your paper over the past couple of weeks regarding Don Reese’s fifth and sixth-grade basketball team and his coaching successes. I’ve been waiting for someone to articulate an alternative perspective for how to measure success on the basketball court that might include a critique of Mr. Reese’s coaching style, other than the criticisms offered by Dan Sullivan of Southampton.
When I read the letter from Jennifer Fowkes last week reminding everyone of Mr. Sullivan’s shortcomings, I was inspired to chime in. Perhaps Mr. Sullivan is not an exemplar of sportsmanship, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any truth to his criticisms of Don Reese.
I’ve been watching Coach Reese’s games for the past two years and I would describe his coaching style as putting his foot on the opponent’s neck and keeping it there until the horn blows. It is true that time and time again his team is up by a huge number of points with just a few minutes left and the starters will remain in the game. Mr. Reese makes no apologies for his approach.
He has asserted that his starters work really hard to earn starting time and he doesn’t want to deny them their playing time or the chance to become a better team on the floor. It is clear that Mr. Reese knows how to coach. His players are sound fundamentally and play as a team on the floor; the ball movement and discipline are impressive.
However, there are consequences in choosing to run up the score and keep your starters in long after the game has been decided. Playing sports at this level involves so much more than winning games and dominating opponents. As a coach, my priority has always been having fun, improving skills, and building character. Winning games is the gravy, not the meat. Let’s not forget, we’re talking about 11 and 12-year-old athletes.
So what are the messages being sent by a coach whose team is up by 40 late in the fourth quarter with starters still in the game? Here’s my interpretation: 1. Sorry, other team, while you might be demoralized and wondering why we’re still crushing you this late in the game, we’re here to win big and get better. 2. To the starters: Don’t worry about how the other kids on the floor feel, including your teammates who are still riding the bench, just put your foot on the other team’s neck and don’t let up. 3. To the bench players: I appreciate all the work you do in practice and I know we’re up by 40, but the starters need to get more work.
To those of you who have children who haven’t been recruited by Mr. Reese, there is good news. Basketball is a sport that you can improve your skill set in on your own. You don’t even need a hoop, just a properly inflated ball. You can spend hours upon hours practicing dribbling and shooting by yourself, getting better all the while.
Additionally, Marcus Edwards, who is the East Hampton boys’ assistant varsity coach, runs clinics throughout the year. Check his website, HoopHampton.com. Coach Edwards emphasizes fundamentals, fitness, and sportsmanship, and is an excellent communicator on the floor. The boys’ varsity coach, Dan White, also runs clinics. He held one this week at the high school under the banner of the Bonac Booster Club. Coach White also was in charge of the town’s Biddy Basketball program this winter, but the turnout was weak. That has to change next winter in order for the younger players to take advantage of Coach White’s experience and expertise.
Finally, to Coach Reese and some of his supporters who seem tone-deaf to the concerns of others, I would remind you that the players are impressionable and ask you to consider the possibility that emphasizing winning in a dominant and demoralizing fashion on a consistent basis this early in one’s athletic career may not be the best approach for all involved.
April 15, 2017
As thousands across the United States get ready to protest environmental budget cuts, each of us can also help with our driving, our recycling, and our diet.
Yes, our diet. A 2010 United Nations report blames animal agriculture for 70 percent of global freshwater use, 38 percent of land use, and 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
Carbon dioxide is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures, and by fossil-fuel combustion to operate farm machinery, trucks, factory farms, and slaughterhouses. The more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal-waste cesspools, respectively.
Moreover, meat and dairy production dumps more animal waste, crop debris, fertilizers, pesticides, and other pollutants into our waterways than all other human activities combined. It is the driving force in wildlife habitat destruction.
In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products in our diet must be replaced by vegetables, fruits, and grains, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar, and other pollution-free energy sources.
On this Earth Day and every day, let’s cherish our environment with eco-friendly plant-based eating. Our next trip to the supermarket is a great starting point.
ELIJAH HANNESBU RG
Reconstruct the Beaches
April 13, 2017
I recently went to a presentation that I appreciated very much about the state of the beaches in our neck of the woods. The problem that was identified is unfortunately common, and many parts of the world are faced with the same issue. In many places it is forbidden to build closer than 300 feet from the high tide line.
The residents facing the beaches unfortunately cannot be blamed for having built where they were allowed to. Legal remedies seem to be wishful thinking, as it is only paper and still there are so many ways to oppose it that it is a waste of time.
There is one simple solution, to simply reconstruct the beaches so that the residences are farther away from the high tide line.
There are technical remedies that have been successful in other areas. Given a proper study of the local hydrology and sea floor constitution, it is possible to generate currents that would naturally replenish the beaches. This solution is a quiet and slow one, but it has merits and should be investigated. It would benefit everybody in the long run.
I would urge the community to get together and get such studies started as soon as possible.
A Positive Sign
April 16, 2017
To the Editor:
Construction of Deepwater Wind’s South Fork wind farm is not without its critics. I’m not one. I happen to believe in the project and its goal — and that of our town — in creating clean, affordable, renewable energy.
At the same time, I respect those groups and individuals who have expressed their concerns about the impact of the project on commercial and recreational fishing. So I was pleased to see Deepwater’s ad in The Star (April 13) seeking people to serve as independent representatives of baymen and commercial and recreational fishermen. Deepwater’s objective, as I understand it, is to create an open, two-way avenue of communications.
It’s been said that most problems, from war to doomed love affairs, come down to failed communications. No one wants conflict, nor can we expect a love affair among all parties and allaying of all fears, but it’s a positive sign that Deepwater is taking this step, and I applaud their initiative.
April 17, 2017
An article in last week’s Newsday had a report on a planned car wash in East Hampton, opposite the recycling center on Springs-Fireplace Road. The opposition is led by Carl Irace, and the proponents are the site owner and a local consultant.
The claim is that the car wash uses only 35 gallons per wash and the water will be recycled at a sewage treatment plant. Then the preposterous statement was made that hand-washing a car at home uses 150 gallons per wash. There are only two ways a person could use 150 gallons to wash a car: 1. Use a toothbrush and keep the hose running the whole time, or 2. Fill up a 150-gallon tank and immerse the car in it.
I wash my car using less than six gallons and it comes out great.
It would be nice if arguments for or against projects were fact-based. The facts are that there is already a car wash in Amagansett, and any new one will remove more open space, stress the aquifer even more, add to pollution, and increase traffic. It is not needed.
April 13, 2017
I read an April 12 article in Newsday that a group of East Hampton Town residents are against a proposed car wash on Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton. The concern is water quality ramifications, traffic, and a host of problems related to this subject. The developer says the argument is not applicable.
It seems the site’s developer skirts the issues. “The project will trap any used water and it can be brought to a sewerage treatment center.” Is there a diaper to catch dripping water from the undercarriage? How many tanker trucks do we need going through the town? Traffic would be negligible? Yes, at midnight. The possibility of a spill? The consultants’ estimate of water usage vs. home washing?
I use a wand and a fully organic biodegradable wash solution. It takes exactly 30 seconds to rinse the entire car, and it is a large, full-size sedan. Certainly not a fire hose.
There was a Centers for Disease Control study conducted in 2013 about the hazardous chemicals in car wash products, that clean the grime from the undercarriage. I am unaware that the solutions have become biodegradable since the study was conducted.
Our water supply is generated from a federally designated sole-source aquifer, and there are laws to protect it. A bad idea, a bad location. We have enough car washes. Maybe we need a new sign: “Welcome to Hempstead Turnpike, Levittown East.” No 5,400-square-foot project — not needed, not wanted! We are losing what we cherish, inch by inch!
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
To Leave the Trustees
April 17, 2017
My decision to leave the East Hampton Town Trustees is made with a great deal of soul-searching and personal torture. I have wanted to be a trustee since the ’80s, really, really bad!
This board of trustees is where he who can talk the longest, loudest, and most foul, can take over and lead the board. This kind of behavior is to the detriment of the morale and productivity of each and every board member.
I cannot sit, pretend to be busy, and just collect taxpayer money.
I have been on excellent boards of the Town of East Hampton government and have been able to be very, very productive for 22 years. I thank the people of our community for that opportunity.
Getting Much Done
April 16, 2017
I have been a trustee board watcher for many years, both attending their meetings and watching them on LTV. After many years of the previous trustee board’s inaction, this new trustee board (the past 16 months) has been very proactive for resolving problems in Georgica Pond, dredging Accabonac Harbor and the culvert, supporting the shellfish industry, and responding to the needs of our baymen.
At their last meeting, on April 10, Dr. Christopher Gobler of Stony Brook University delivered his annual report on his waterways study. Dr. Gobler, a marine and atmospheric scientist, believes that with the changes being done now, “within 10 years you will have addressed at least 64 percent of the groundwater entering water bodies.” This is quite promising for our community.
This present trustee board has a rational approach to exercising its authority and it is getting much done for this town. Its next meeting, on Monday, April 24, will have a speaker from Deepwater Wind. The trustees are really dealing with facts and questions in order to provide protection for our community. If you have concerns, please come to that meeting and make yourself heard.
April 17, 2017
To the Editor,
Watching the Republican Party trip over its own feet trying to repeal Obamacare would have been comical if it weren’t so depressing. Now it looks like they will fumble tax reform, as their goal of slashing taxes for the 1 percent slams into promises to help the middle class and reduce the deficit.
It seems the only thing today’s Republican Party can agree on is to dismantle environmental regulations so that corporations have free rein to plunder natural resources and pollute at will. This is being done, in part, under the cover of saving coal miners’ jobs and preserving an obsolete way of life in small towns whose economies are based on extractive industries.
But what about our way of life? The economy and lifestyle of the East End are based on our beautiful but fragile natural environment, especially our beaches and fisheries. Climate change and pollution are ominous threats to the East End. Voters must demand that our elected officials forcefully advocate action to arrest climate change and defend our right to clean water and air.
Environmental protection doesn’t always cost jobs, however much some politicians want to frame it as such; to us on the East End it preserves our economy.
April 17, 2017
On a recent WLNG call-in radio show, Congressman Lee Zeldin responded to a caller as follows:
“I have reached the point where I don’t read anything anymore that The East Hampton Star prints. . . . It’s just crazy . . . it’s just not journalism. . . . It’s a very biased partisan agenda there.”
Representative Zeldin, like the president whose policies he unwaveringly supports, assails this press outlet simply because its editorial and letters-to-the-editor pages sometimes reflect disapproval of his votes and policies. If the 132-year-old, award-winning newspaper of record for the Town of East Hampton is “not journalism,” what does Mr. Zeldin think of the thousands of his constituents who rely on it for local news and editorial content? Not much, evidently.
On the other hand, Mr. Zeldin appears unbothered by the website Breitbart News, notorious for its misogynistic and racist content. Although mentioned or covered in no fewer than 34 Breitbart articles, Representative Zeldin has not commented on its obvious lack of journalistic standards. For our congressman, the measure of a newspaper’s quality seems to be the extent to which it agrees with him.
If Congressman Lee Zeldin can’t tolerate criticism and disagreement, he should abandon politics and find another line of work. Come 2018, let’s hope the voters make that decision for him.
Nation of Laws
April 16, 2017
As horrific as this use of illegal weapons (gas) is, we still are, and must be, a nation of laws both national and international. We must have congressional approval and/or the sanction of the world body (United Nations).
Our president’s motives are far less humanitarian than they are personal and self-serving. With no end game to offer, his irresponsibility is consistent with the irrational and manipulative behavior that we have been witnessing since his inauguration.
Tell our congressional leaders — and especially Lee Zeldin — to rein in Donald Trump’s unauthorized military strikes and to hold immediate emergency deliberations on Mr. Trump’s illegal escalation of military engagement in Syria.
Are you listening, Mr. Zeldin?
LARRY S. SMITH