Letters to the Editor: 01.11.18
Celebrate Dr. King
January 3, 2018
To the Editor,
On behalf of the Calvary Baptist Church, I would like to thank you for your part in our 2017 journey. Your service has made a difference in our community.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” Martin Luther King Jr.
Calvary Baptist Church will honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King’s struggle for equality in justice for all humanity. Come join us as the youth of Calvary Baptist Church celebrate Dr. King Jr.
The program will be held on Monday at 1 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, 60 Spinner Lane, East Hampton.
This is one of many events that bring our community together. Calvary extends an invitation to one and all.
Joy and Peace,
January 3, 2018
To the Editor,
After 17 wondrous years, I have left East Hampton. To all those who I joyously crossed paths with, thank you.
To all the others, who went down a different path, I’m sorry.
January 8, 2018
David Rattray, Editor:
On a cold, gray, blustery January morning it warms the heart to think about the community groups that provided meals for our homebound neighbors on two recent major holidays, often a difficult time for many who live alone.
On Thanksgiving, the First Presbyterian Church of East Hampton prepared turkey dinners with all the trimmings for our many clients.
And on Christmas, American Legion Post 419 in Amagansett prepared not just a full meal, but also holiday treats for our homebound residents.
All the meals were picked up and delivered by our volunteer drivers. Our clients were delighted and thoroughly enjoyed the delicious food. We greatly appreciate the care, concern, and support of our friends in the community, especially during the holiday season.
If you would like to help, please visit our website at ehmealsonwheels.org or call 631-329-1669.
Very truly yours,
Do Stay Quiet
January 2, 2018
I was going to let it go, and then I read the “Guestwords” column, by Francis Levy again, for good measure, and no, it’s equally troublesome to me the second time around. I’m a fan of tongue in cheek as well as the next person, but this subject sets my teeth on edge. Sexual harassment isn’t a joke and Harvey Weinstein is hardly a result of the Summer of Love exploration of sexuality.
Sorry, you can’t blame bad upbringing and lecherous, power-driven, disgusting behavior on a hippie movement. Like there were never men behaving badly in times of yore? Come on. If you can’t walk in the other’s heels, do stay quiet. The opposite insults a whole gender, and to quote oodles of women young and old, “We are sick of it.”
I’ve had this discussion with older and younger men. Most know better than to make light of it. Seems many already knew Weinstein was a pig, decades ago. There was talk. How big a pig, maybe not all knew. That none of the men in the business, close to the situation, spoke up is not a good sign of any times. It’s cowardly and unmanly, in my book.
That “men-are-mere-animals” philosophy doesn’t fly. That peccadillo should be put in a vault with the secretary being chased around the desk scenario. This is not vaudeville, this is people’s lives and livelihood being tampered with, and it has to stop. We are not talking about flirting and consensual sex. Don’t mix things up in your mind. Don’t pretend you’re the victim suddenly adrift in a sea of irate women in combat boots, ready to kick your butt. We don’t become less feminine because of some men’s bad behavior. We become smarter and we speak out, and we don’t tolerate what we might have once thought we had no choice not to. Each generation takes us all closer to enlightenment and further away from knuckle-dragging bullies. That’s a good thing, for everybody.
My sense of humor, if that was what was needed for Levy’s article, is intact, but this subject isn’t funny. Ever. It’s abrasive and awful, truth be told.
Why is it when someone speaks up against a societal wrong, it goes to Defcon 5, all hands on deck to Panicville? Why not just be who you are, a respectful gent, and there’s no problem? This atmosphere, and outrage by women, is not an attack on men. It’s a revolution against the men who abuse women by sexual harassment. Let’s not get dramatic.
January 8, 2018
To the Editor:
This letter is in response to “Animal Rights Activist Jailed,” printed on Jan. 5, 2018, regarding the New Jersey Black Bear Hunt. I thank Bill Crain, who has endlessly fought for protection of all animals and wildlife, including New Jersey’s black bears.
New Jersey has endured years of a black bear trophy hunt under the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who turned his back on all the calls and letters that were sent to him pleading to stop the massacre of these beautiful animals.
Bill Crain has protested Whittingham weigh station and witnessed year after year dead bears being brought in, including mothers and their small cubs. This in itself is too much to comprehend on how this can be allowed to happen. Hunters are not permitted to go into a hibernating bear’s den so it is known that they would throw firecrackers (and smoke bombs) into the bear’s den, scaring them out and then shooting them. Now that New Jersey opened up a bow-and-arrow muzzle loader season for bears in October, when they are all active, most of our bears have been killed.
New Jersey Fish and Wildlife is spewing out all kinds of reasons to justify their barbaric hunt, including too many bears in the state. If there were as many bears as they claim, every time I take my daily hike in the state park, I would see them, which I don’t. In fact, New Jersey allows baiting, which is illegal in New York and Pennsylvania. Hunters dump bagels, doughnuts, bacon grease, and smear trees with jelly, peanut butter, and other known bear attractants. They set up trail cams by their bait pile; observe which bears are coming to their execution site; pick out their trophy bear, and the first day of opening season their target bear is shot dead. It is a fact that the more a female bear eats, the more prolific they become so then why does New Jersey allow baiting? It doesn’t make sense and neither does New Jersey Fish and Wildlife.
Baiting is also bad for the environment, spreads disease among wildlife, and attracts predators. Only hunters can feed/bait bears. Years ago I was issued a summons for feeding bears, when I was actually feeding the birds. I hired an attorney and won in court. After that unfortunate incident, I got my hunting license and am now protected by their own senseless laws.
Thank you, Bill Crain, for all your compassion and endless devotion for the protection of all our animals.
January 3, 2018
To the Editor:
It’s that time again. And so it begins.
Come on duck hunters: Pick up your trash when you’re finished killing birds. Every year I pick up empty shell casings along with other stuff left behind, on the little beach on Three Mile Harbor where it merges with Hand’s Creek.
This is not what we want decorating our beautiful landscape. Be mindful; please take away with you things that are not natural to where you are.
Gobs of Tar
January 8, 2018
To the Editor,
When I was growing up on the beaches of Amagansett, my mom kept handy a bottle of something called TarGo. It was a smelly solvent to scrub off the gobs of tar that people of all ages who walked on the beach picked up on their bare feet, especially on hot days when the sand-coated lumps were especially soft and sticky. We never knew for sure if the glop was road tar or jetsam from oil tankers, but it sure was a pain to avoid and clean off, and it seemed to permanently stain clothes and towels.
I hate to think of the return to tar-spotted beaches that could be among the many damages from the offshore oil drilling and spilling that Tar-Baby Trump is now trying to encourage. There are far better ways to generate needed power and jobs — and avoid blackened feet and TarGo.
Joining the Fight
January 8, 2018
Bravo to the Town of East Hampton. Both my wife and I read the article by Joanne Pilgrim regarding PSEG-Long Island and the lawsuit taken out against them in 2014. We would like to say “thank you” to the Town of East Hampton for joining LIBFRE’s (Long Island Businesses for Responsible Energy’s) lawsuit to remove the contaminated utility poles and to bury the high-voltage lines that are strung up on them — lines that travel through tiny village streets less than 25 feet from children’s bedrooms, down significant scenic vistas.
This is a subject that has been discussed many times here in the past few years and we are in total support of our environment and the safety of our citizens.
We have heard about the dangers involved with the PSEG transmission poles and the high-voltage lines, but had thought the idea had been “buried” and forgotten. So, bravo to the Town of East Hampton for joining the fight to keep its citizens and the environment safe. And bravo to the members of LIBFRE, who have been fighting this fight now for four long years.
Can you imagine how much more wonderful East Hampton would be without those unsightly polls and the dangers associated with them?
Again, thank you to the Town of East Hampton for supporting this, and we will be looking for more updates, hopefully, in the near future.
PETER and ARLINE GIDION
Environment at Risk
January 8, 2018
A new “perfect storm” is approaching the East Coast. In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, the Obama administration imposed a moratorium on any further oil exploration and drilling on the entire Continental Shelf. As part of its obsession to undo “all things Obama,” earlier this year the Trump administration announced an initiative to revisit the Obama moratorium.
Just last week, the Department of the Interior rescinded the Obama drilling moratorium and opened the entire continental shelf to oil drilling. This opens waters off the entire Long Island shoreline to the prospect of oil rigs, and oil spills.
And that’s not all. In 2016, after lengthy hearings following the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Obama administration also implemented significant and comprehensive safety regulations designed to prevent future catastrophes like Deepwater Horizon. Following its unraveling of the Obama moratorium, the Interior Department has proposed to rescind these safety regulations as well. Why?
As Interior explained: “reducing the regulatory burden will encourage increased domestic oil and gas production.” While Interior suggests it will maintain a “high bar” for safety and environmental concerns, nothing in the Interior proposal supports this hyperbole.
And even that’s not all. Last week, congressional Republicans allowed a tax on oil companies that generated hundreds of millions of dollars annually for federal oil-spill response efforts to expire. This tax constituted the main source of revenue for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
By tossing aside the drilling moratorium, attendant safety regulations, and remediation funding, Mr. Trump is not practicing deregulation; he is willfully and ignorantly putting our local environment at risk.
In the face of this threat, we need real representation in Congress. Even though Mr. Zeldin issued a cursory press release opposing the rescission of the drilling moratorium, he has voted in virtual lockstep with the interests of the oil and gas industries and against environmental initiatives. We need to insist that Mr. Zeldin step up and publicly denounce the Trump actions and demand that his colleagues in Congress enact legislation that will protect our fragile environment from the petro-predators.
If he doesn’t, in November we must elect someone who will.
January 8, 2018
We just received the Jan. 4 issue and read Joanne Pilgrim’s article about Fred Overton. It rang 100 percent true, though our contact with him was far less than most in town. We visited him several times in our early years researching family information on Carol’s great-uncle, former Village Mayor Jud Banister. Fred was town clerk at the time.
Initially we were trying to locate the house Carol’s mother was born in on Cedar Street. He sent us photocopies of old maps and correctly guessed it is now 20 Cedar Street. Another time we were trying to locate information about Jud’s death while driving on North Main Street in April 1967. Fred rummaged through old files in the basement and found some relevant documents that we did not know existed and helped fill several blanks in our knowledge. As busy as we knew he was, he never hesitated to help.
The town is rightfully thankful to have had his dedication and service all these years.
January 8, 2018
To the Editor:
I would like to endorse your editorial recommendation that Paul Giardina gain an appointment to the vacant seat on the East Hampton Town Board that has been created by Peter Van Scoyoc’s ascension to town supervisor.
As someone who worked closely with Paul throughout the campaign, I can assure readers that no other person is as qualified or as devoted to our community’s future as Paul.
As a result of his outreach and communications with the community, Paul’s candidacy moved from almost-negligible name recognition and voter intention to ultimately become the highest vote-getter among our town’s Republicans. Moreover, he gained the endorsement of several other publications and organizations.
Naming Paul would demonstrate that the town board is inclusive, open to alternative perspectives and responsive to community feelings — not simply interested in consolidating party loyalty and affiliations.
Serving as a town board member would be consistent with Paul’s governing philosophy. Throughout the campaign, Paul’s candidacy emphasized a community-centered, nonpartisan, and multi-partisan approach. He spoke on behalf of all East Hamptoners, and not just the Republicans.
None of the issues that Paul’s campaign raised in the fall have disappeared. In particular, he made the deterioration of East Hampton’s water quality the cornerstone of his campaign. As a result of his well-respected experience with the Environmental Protection Agency, Paul stands ready to lend his expertise to the analysis of our water problems and to help the town board take steps to protect and improve East Hampton’s water quality.
In a bipartisan spirit, Paul will also continue supporting community-centered policies and programs that he advocated during the campaign, including the need to take positive steps to ameliorate the opioid addiction problem that is plaguing Suffolk County, the need for a housing partnership to create more homes for the benefit of our senior citizens, workers, and recent graduates, and the need for local economic development initiatives.
By naming Paul Giardina to fill the vacancy, the town board will gain an independent voice. East Hampton will gain an environmental scientist and a team player that can get work done on day one.
Obstacle to Growth
January 4, 2018
I attended my 16th New York State governor’s State of the State address on Jan. 3 in very frigid Albany. Gov. Cuomo was, as usual, entertaining at times, dead serious at other times, full of ideas, and short on facts. To be fair, in every State of the Union, state, county, town, or village tend to follow the same format, full of ideas and short on facts. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details, which will keep policy wonks like me and legislators very busy over the next six-month legislative session.
Governor Cuomo did bring up several topics that should be of great interest, from New York State submission of two requests for proposal for 800 megawatts of offshore wind-generated power, consolidation of local governments, a plan to replace the state’s income tax with a payroll tax as a workaround to the federal tax reform plan, to name a few.
Governor Cuomo stated in his State of the State address, “We must continue to attack the highest tax burden in the state. Not a state tax, but the cost of local government — our local property tax, railed against by Franklin Delano Roosevelt repeatedly, who actually prophesied the growing local property tax was going to be a major economic problem for the state. And it is. Property taxes now are nearly three times what the state income tax is. Our property taxes have long been an obstacle to growth but today, with the federal state and local tax provision, it is an economic cancer.
For those like me who are not old enough to remember as governor of New York Franklin Roosevelt, he took a simple approach to tax policy: Make the cuts broad and the increases narrow. When times were good, he championed sweeping reductions in property and income taxes, slashing tax bills for millions of New Yorkers. When the economy turned sour, he pushed through increases aimed at the state’s richest taxpayers.
It was a politically driven formula, but it also reflected Roosevelt’s commitment to tax justice, especially during hard times. Roosevelt’s tax ideas were conventional for a mainstream of the time Democrat. In fact, he was more faithful to the party’s progressive tradition than many of the Democratic Party national leaders.
The above said, it is not my intention to get into the weeds of a national debate on the federal tax plan, but instead to follow up my letter of last week regarding Springs School. Both Governor Cuomo and Roosevelt are correct in that the local property tax burden if not kept in check is an economic cancer. An excessive tax burden increases the cost of living, drives our youth to leave, is detrimental to working families, and robs seniors of their hard-earned retirement income.
As a lifelong Springs resident, minus the seven years I lived in Montauk, I have followed the Springs School Board consolidation/expansion issue. I have also watched my school taxes march steadily upward and the contortions of board members to explain school size to student ratios, Board of Cooperative Education Services reports that were unreliable at best, the hot potato jockeying of political parties, and the despicable practice of pitting the needs of the students against residents and school staff.
Today we are at a crossroads, and in my opinion, accusatory finger pointing serves no one, especially the students. We can no longer afford divisive politics and must change the way we do business. Over the past year, I have spoken to many Springs residents including many who are East Hampton Town employees that, simply put, are living on the edge. Their quality of life is reduced by the inability to earn sufficient income due to the high cost of living. Many of the residents of Springs cannot bear the burden of a dramatic increasing school property tax of $200 to $500 more a year.
I believe there can be assistance at the state level, but for that to happen the Springs School Board and superintendent must leave their comfort zone and work very hard on the alternatives rather than push an expansion that residents cannot afford. The Springs School Board and superintendent must restore citizen confidence, bring management competence, and be dreamers, visionaries, and achievers. Nothing will be easy; it will require innovative thinking outside the box, the ambition and drive to do so.
More than any elected official, the decisions of the members of the Springs School Board will directly impact Springs residents for years to come. Governor Cuomo understands the burden excessive property taxes place on our community and so too must the Springs School Board and superintendent as well. Lastly, it would be disingenuous to offer advice but not provide assistance, and as such I will avail myself should they ask.
Since Taking Office
January 4, 2018
Since taking office, 2 have pleaded guilty, 2 have been arrested, 3 have called him an idiot or a moron, and 40 have quit or been fired. And now Steve Bannon, who Trump put on the National Security Council, just called him “treasonous.”
You can’t make this stuff up, folks.
CAPT. KEN RAFFERTY SR.
Rape of America
January 7, 2018
In a passage from Tom Robbins, “Crows that had looked so menacing against winter snow found their menace diluted with the arrival of spring just like Technicolor-diluted Boris Karloff.” The obvious question of what the perception of Trump would be without his incessant tweeting. Still, as a racist, pathological fabricator, no doubt but less obvious without the daily reminders for contrast.
“All Americans are stupid” is the perception of much of the world. Those who know little and accept what the politicians tell us. Those who think they are enlightened but really aren’t. Those politicians who think that the lies and misdirection they put out will not eventually take them down. Is there anyone else?
The return of extreme poverty to the wealthiest country in the world is a sign that the politicians have yet to bear the blame for their actions. The wholesale betrayal of the United States middle and working classes is remarkably contrasted by the rise in poverty and the tax cuts that were just passed. The coming attack on the safety net that is barely 70 years old is a sign that the rape of America continues unabated.
A United Nations study published on Dec. 21, 2017, shows that twice as many American families are living in extreme poverty (20 million people living on $2 a day per person) than 20 years ago. Why does the greatest country with the greatest president and the greatest economy have 45 million people on food stamps? Gross Domestic Product has risen 4 times in 30 years. Where did the money go?
Capitalism gone amok is anarchy. No one would consider our corporations and politicians to be anarchists but they are, in almost every sense of the word. We have the illusion of a defining framework for our system but within the framework there are no constraints and essentially rules that are made to be broken. The constraints on capitalism exist to assure that the basic inequality of our market system doesn’t permeate and overwhelm the society in general. Profits alone can’t be the guiding principle of our economic system, but they are. The Depression and World War II inspired Roosevelt to incorporate the entire population into the market system and to create a safety net for those who didn’t fit in.
Trump and his Republican cohorts have shed the illusion of any restraints on our system. The free-for-all that is ensuing takes away all controls and eliminates as much of the safety net as is politically possible.
“All Americans are stupid” until we show that we aren’t.
Life Is a Gift
life is a gift
the air we breathe
cascade wave ocean breeze
night sky silver star
gentle moon ocean tide impress
waters edge mud and sand
wind whistle like a train
midnight rain burst fury
the coal black storm of evenings
end the dome of day
will dawn again.