Letters to the Editor: 02.08.18
So Long, Bill
February 7, 2018
Sad to hear of Bill Fleming’s passing. I was not a close friend but Bill always made you feel you were close when you spoke with him. Bill and I were both unsuccessful political candidates, and I always kidded him about seeing his bumper sticker on the barricade at the south end of Manorville Road. It might still be there. So long, Bill.
WARD A. FREESE
February 5, 2018
Dear Mr. Rattray,
The Neo-Political Cowgirls would like to thank all who took part — our brave and stoic actors, our creative designers, our generous volunteers, and our beloved audience — in our annual winter theatrical excursion, “Zima,” which took place this past Saturday at the gorgeous Montauk County Park.
We are especially grateful to Ed Johann and the good staff at the Third House Nature Center for their partnership in hosting this winter-embracing event. The hillsides of Montauk County Park were a perfect landscape for this magical scavenger hunt for all ages.
Raini Ashare, Nancy Cardoso, Lynn Sexton, Corey Jane Cardoso, August Gladstone, and Nina Gonzalez were also essential to the success of “Zima,” and our company is most thankful to every person supporting this unique adventure, no matter what part they played.
Looking forward to sharing next season’s celebration of winter with our community,
February 5, 2018
In the interest of “real news,” I would like to point out that Mugsy Leggett did not befuddle Willie McFarland in your otherwise delightful pictorial story about the recent fund-raiser held at East Hampton High School. No, Mugsy was attempting to fool Josh Brussell, one of the school’s most active and popular teachers, who was sweating above and beyond the call of duty to defend the honor of our school against the prowess of the Harlem MagicMasters.
And knowing Josh well, I would be the first to say he is never befuddled. Thoughtful, questioning, imaginative, yes; befuddled, no way!
A Perfect Time
January 29, 2018
The Amagansett community is buzzing with the recent letter from Mrs. Tritt, superintendent of Amagansett School, requesting not to renew her present contract that ends in June. This is a perfect time for the school board to eliminate the excessive administrators and interview to hire one superintendent/principal for the administrative position. Last spring, at the Tuesday, March 28, 2017, meeting, the board approved $20,000 for a committee to do a search for this position. It would be immensely productive to hire a fresh, innovative, and creative candidate with financial experience who is capable of accommodating the needs of the students and staff, and fiscally responsible to the community.
Hopefully, Mrs. Tritt and the school board have not made any decisions as to who will be hired to fill the positions. It should be up to the committee to make recommendations as to whether Mrs. Dorr, the current principal, or possibly Dr. Lamorgese, a retired principal, with a few years in the school as a part-time evaluator, be placed in any higher positions. After all, the money was appropriated for a committee search for the most competent person for the superintendent/principal position. Taxpayers have already funded for this! It is not uncommon for Mrs. Tritt and the previous school board to hire additional staff to do the same job, costing taxpayers twice as much.
For example: a custodian/bus driver hired to replace a retiring custodian/bus driver six months before he was actually needed (the retiree remained on part time because the custodian hired was not a licensed bus driver), a paraprofessional that was hired for the classroom but is being trained in a clerical capacity, and an arts-in-education part-time administrator. (Total of four administrators for our school of 93 students.)
Remember, everyone who pays taxes in Amagansett has a voice in our school community. Please remember to attend the school board meetings, listed on the school website monthly calendar, www.aufsd.org, be registered to vote in the May school budget vote, and if you will not be available the day of the vote, please get your absentee ballot at the grade school in advance to mail or drop off at the school.
Doing as He Pleases
February 5, 2018
I’m on a roll. The East Hampton Star can be very informative at times, even the letters to the editor, which are mostly the gibberish ramblings of a few regulars, can contain useful information. While said writer usually rants about things we can do nothing about, his letter “State of Anarchy” dove into the definition of anarchy.
Anarchy as defined as “the utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government in the best case or a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority in the worst.” (You may have to read that a few times for it to sink in.) The letter goes downhill after that, as we bash America and our current president. However, those words did segue me into the article “Still Stuck on the Creeks.”
Talk about anarchy, here we have a “billionaire investor and philanthropist” pretty much doing as he pleases. How does local government, mentally and physically, deal with that? Looks like he needs variances for over 10,000 square feet of improvements! This isn’t a guy just looking to legalize a shed or an air-conditioning unit.
On top of all that, he needs wetlands setbacks for a chicken coop — so the final result of that would be chicken shit rolling down into Georgica Pond? Now that sounds like it may be a health problem, plus all the other environmental concerns about Georgica Pond.
Then we get into the “transfer of rights” on an illegal structure. Frank Newbold stepped up to the plate and stated the transfer of rights is not currently in our village code.
Now, that transfer of rights idea had to come from Jimmy Slick, do you know him? Anyway, all this deal making, you give me, and I’ll give you, really distorts any codes or laws we have.
I can remember the old days, with guys like Irving Markowitz, Thomas Gaines, and William Johnson, they didn’t dillydally around. You were either in or out. Done and finished. So this case will prove very interesting to see what kind of deal the district attorney cuts with the perp.
Yours to command,
To get with it I must learn money’s
new forms and lingo. Definition,
I admit I once thought simple: cash,
bits of paper, green and somewhat wrinkled, metal discs were coin. I admit I’m wrinkled too, and when it comes to finance acumen, I’m green. Wasted a lot of what I made.
I’m chained to things old fashioned.
Blocked mentally from blockchain.
How can technology replace
my local bank or assets in my wallet
waiting to be spent?
I want to learn the mystery
of Venmo, PayPal, Zelle.
I’ve heard Bitcoin is like the tulip,
whose worth inflated kings of commerce then crashed and made them poor.
In Yap, in the Pacific, the people used
a rocky form of money, carved holes
in limestone discs big as cars.
I think of Wampum, clam shells from the beach nearby, once fair exchange for services and goods,
worth a fortune, now detritus or ashtrays.
I wonder if I’ll be around to see
the means the internet provides,
shrink in value as they get old,
disappear like 10,000 guilder tulips,
dinosaurs, and me.
February 7, 2018
To the Editor:
Last week, New York State released its long anticipated Offshore Wind Master Plan, prepared by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The culmination of a two-year planning effort by the state, the master plan’s purpose is to set the state strategy in meeting the important objectives “to protect sensitive ecosystems, maintain pre-existing areas of vital economic activity, and ensure public safety” in a historic transformation from fossil fuel resources to clean energy.
Lest we forget our own East Hampton history, 350 years ago, Long Island coastal settlers understood how to capture wind, building our treasured windmills to provide the necessary power to grow their community. After Super-storm Sandy in 2012, our community was aware sea levels were rising, coastlines were eroding, the ocean was warming, and extreme weather events were becoming more frequent. The town’s leadership, with a nudge from climate change advocates, knew it was time for local action.
In 2013 the town board appointed an energy sustainability committee as an advisory committee to review and advise the town board on policies, programs, and issues promoting energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. The board also adopted, in 2013, a municipal energy policy to promote sustainable energy practices, reducing energy consumption through conservation and energy efficiencies while increasing the use of renewable energy technologies. The town board, in May 2014, unanimously established a historic goal to meet 100 percent of the town’s community-wide electricity needs with renewable energy sources, the first town in New York State. The town board also set a goal of meeting community-wide energy consumption in all sectors (electricity, heating, and transportation) by 2030. In 2015 the board took a major stride toward this goal with the adoption of a climate action plan as a working platform and educational tool in raising community awareness and prescribing strategies to reduce fossil fuels as an energy resource.
East Hampton Town now has a working platform on which to grow its renewable energy resource portfolio, including building retrofits, building codes, load management, battery storage, rooftop solar, solar parking lots, community solar, and offshore wind power.
Offshore wind, as addressed in the New York State Offshore Wind Master Plan, is a clean, sustainable resource with the greatest potential to transform New York’s energy system in ways that will have extraordinary environmental and economic benefits for the state. The plan, a series of studies, demonstrates how New York can become the undisputed home for offshore wind in the United States. And, East Hampton Town is poised to become the hub for a new industry returning wind power to its 350-year history in this local community.
LINDA JAMES, Chairwoman
Energy Sustainability Committee
Need to Conserve
February 1, 2018
To the Editor:
Having been personally involved in energy issues since 1970, through writing and local activism against offshore oil drilling and nuclear power, I am distressed at the knee-jerk opposition to the construction of offshore wind turbines. It should be noted that offshore turbine construction is now a priority because of the political opposition to on-shore facilities, which is also misguided but for different reasons.
Let’s address the socioeconomic issues first. Onshore individual wind turbines are well suited to a distributed energy system as opposed to offshore wind farms, which in effect are equal to present-day fossil fuel power plants and which in effect put our economy in the hands of large corporations with little concern for anything but profits. Compare our present huge, vulnerable energy production and distribution system to a network of community grids, which would be locally owned and maintained, creating jobs, and no less reliability than the huge offshore farms.
The other issue that no one has yet raised is conservation and efficiency. Architectural groups have produced studies indicating that we could, without hardship, reduce our present energy consumption by 30 percent to 50 percent through efficiency only, with proper federal standards for new construction as well as retrofitting of homes and buildings. As one travels through the roads of the Hamptons with its mega-mansions that demand mega-loads of electricity, the absence of on-site energy (wind, photovoltaics) is striking, and reprehensible. It is high time to tax the pants off these new homes, which are responsible for growing demand. A local tax should be imposed on all homes, kicking in at all those over a specific square footage, perhaps around 3,000 square feet, which is already sizable.
What is striking is the complete absence of public or government discussion about energy conservation and efficiency. Everyone assumes growth in energy demand; no one mentions the need to conserve. This is of course due to the national obsession with growth at any cost. It is high time that opponents of renewable energy started educating themselves about the implications of continued growth in production and consumption, especially our present administration, though the push for growth is shared by both major political parties.
As for the fishing community, which is now demanding scientific rigor and facts from Deepwater Wind, we should recall their unremitting and dismissive opposition to federal fishing regulations and limits on take, claiming that their traditional practices and wisdom were more reliable, though their own rigorous data never seemed to appear. Now they re raising issues of fishery protection because it is convenient for them. But they are still uninformed about the scientific, economic, and political aspects of energy policy. Until they widen their concerns and address the national pressure for energy growth, while supporting commensurate efficiency policies, they will not have credibility.
Pragmatically speaking, there is no doubt that the future will require all kinds of renewable energy sources as well as serious reduction in consumption, including standards, regulation, and above all, a carbon tax on fossil fuels that will spur the shift to renewables and give consumers the correct message: Cheap energy caused the climate change problem and thus that era must be declared over. Consumers must pay the true cost of energy production, and nowhere is this more true than in the automotive sector.
All energy taxes should go into a dedicated federal fund, with equal rebates to citizens at the end of the year, i.e., a fee and dividend system. This system favors the poor, who use less energy, and penalizes the rich, who use the most. It is a socially progressive tax that the public needs to support wholeheartedly and loudly, especially by social-justice groups who still do not understand how the poor will benefit.
As for the East End, and Suffolk County in general, we should remind the fishing community that it is the container ships, barges, tankers, and private power-boat yachts that continue to despoil our marine waters, estuaries, and coasts with fossil fuel and garbage, and everywhere else in the world to boot. They seem oblivious to this as well as to the absolute necessity to shift rapidly to renewable energy. In this respect they are more aligned with the climate change deniers than the environmental community that has dedicated itself for decades to protecting the oceans and their life but was scorned by fishermen. They need to get on the right side of history.
February 3, 2018
To the Editor:
Any person who believes because of the color of his skin that they are superior to others is wrong. It demands great resilience not to hate the hater, who has his foot in your face, and an even greater miracle of perception is to teach our children not to hate. The difference in what you are and what you want to be is in what you do. Each and every time we face our fears we gain strength and courage to dismantle our prejudice, with that confidence we need to move forward. When we say never again our common humanity dictates that we stand against racism, discrimination, and anti-Semitism.
Laundry is the only thing to be separated by color. As we are born with free will we must do all we can to defeat racism. We are not born with racism, it is taught by actions and the way ignorant people talk. In this country freedom is a package deal, it comes with responsibilities and consequences. We promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears. The only limits in our life are the ones we set for ourselves.
Treat people the way you want to be treated. Talk to people the same way you want to be talked to. Respect is earned not given. Friendship is a relationship between two people sharing seven different colors. They are respect, sadness, faith, happiness, secrets, truth, and love.
When we can think of yesterday without regret and tomorrow without fear we will be near contentment.
Terror and Chaos
February 5, 2018
Last week in Albany myself, along with representatives of many other police unions in New York, Senators Patrick M. Gallivan, Martin Golden, Terrance Murphy, Elaine Phillips, and Fred Akshar, held a press conference in calling on the New York State Board of Parole to deny the release from prison of Herman Bell, one of three men convicted in the 1971 murder of two New York City police officers.
Herman Bell, Anthony Bottom, and Albert Washington, all reputed former members of the radical militant group known as the Black Liberation Army, carried out a terror and chaos campaign, aimed at assassinating law enforcement officers, that began in 1968 and ended in 1973.
On May 21, 1971, Mr. Bell, Mr. Bottom, and Mr. Washington lured Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones to a Harlem housing project by a bogus 911 call, where they were ambushed, shot, and killed. Officer Jones died instantly from a gunshot to the head. Officer Piagentini, who begged for his life, was shot 22 times by the suspects and died on his way to the hospital. They justified this evil, heinous act as part of what they called a “black struggle,” even though Officer Jones was African-American, by declaring, “A pig is a pig.”
Then on Aug. 29, 1971, San Francisco Police Sgt. John Young was killed when three men entered the Ingleside police station while five accomplices, including Mr. Bottom, acted as lookouts and getaway drivers. Mr. Bell allegedly fired a shotgun through bulletproof glass, killing Police Sergeant Young as another accomplice tried to set off dynamite as they fled. Fortunately, the device failed to detonate.
In their 1975 New York trial, they denied killing the New York City police officers and insisted they’d been framed. In 2007, Mr. Bell and Mr. Bottom, along with six others, were arrested for the murder of Sergeant Young, and in 2009 they accepted plea deals and served probation sentences for their roles in the murder. In their 2012 appearances before New York parole officials both men admitted their roles in killing officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones, while still maintaining they are political prisoners. The parole board determined that they had not been rehabilitated but instead were simply more willing to game the system.
A parole hearing for Mr. Bell is scheduled for next month, his seventh since 2004. Mr. Bottom has a parole hearing set for June. Mr. Washington died in prison.
I would urge all concerned residents to sign an online petition calling on the board of parole to deny Mr. Bell’s release. The petition effort also has the support of many law enforcement agencies and organizations.
$1.50 a Week
February 5, 2018
This meager increase in a secretary’s weekly take-home pay after the “biggest tax cut for the middle class” took effect was all it took for Speaker Paul Ryan to declare the G.O.P. tax plan a resounding success. After claiming on Twitter that the secretary was “pleasantly surprised” at the G.O.P.’s largess, fierce backlash justifiably forced Mr. Ryan to delete his Twitter post.
Just consider for a moment the audacity of the G.O.P.’s cheerleading this dollar-fifty as the measure of the success of their tax plan. After all, the plan was sold to vast swaths of the American public as promising real tax cuts. The result — an astounding $1.50! This, while the wealthiest of Americans received the bulk of a trillion dollar tax cut. Also consider President Trump’s promise to work tirelessly for those whom he labeled “the forgotten.” Undoubtedly, those of the “forgotten” lured to vote for Mr. Trump in response to this promise expected him to do more for them than for the rich. Indeed, this was his explicit promise.
The Republicans apparently honestly believe that $1.50 a week is worth celebrating. Not the Democrats. It was the Democratic Party that actually took up the fight for you, opposing the largest transfer of wealth to the rich in our history. It was the Democratic Party who opposed the measures in the tax bill designed to further undercut the health care promised under the Affordable Care Act. And it was the Democratic Party that put the appropriate label on the secretary’s “windfall”: crumbs!
February 5, 2018
Comey, McCabe, Mueller — three lifelong Republicans whom President Trump often praised until doing their jobs put them in his crosshairs. Only one is left.
Robert Mueller’s investigation must continue. If it does not, we are no better than the dictatorships we used to hold in contempt, before we elected a president who is enamored with autocratic leaders.
Lee Zeldin could be a voice of reason and call for Mr. Mueller to be able to do his job unimpeded. But on this matter he is silent, ignoring his responsibility to his constituents and this country. Remember that in November.
February 3, 2018
To the Editor:
How about tapping into some old-fashioned remedies, ancient wisdom, and collating, applying these to today’s current happenings, crises. “What is good for the goose is good for the gander.” May sound like an oversimplification to today’s ongoing devastating, ferocious political brawls, digital battles, but not really. A reasonable, pragmatic rendition of a possible cure, a formula for “cooling,” a way out of the trap, a détente was very recently published, surprisingly by an unanticipated source, The New York Times’s Ms. Gail Collins, “How Hillary Holds Up” (1-27-18, Page A19). Ms. Collins, op-ed columnist and author with The New York Times since 1995, first woman editorial page editor, the spearhead of the extreme, vicious, callous offensives on President Donald Trump and Republicans, is painfully, agonizingly, futilely attempting to defend, justify Hillary Clinton’s toleration, exoneration of a sexual harasser, predator during her campaign. The following is Ms. Collins’s conclusion:
“Because sexual harassment is so much in our national mind right now, we’d like her to be a heroine on that issue, too. But if there is anything we have learned in all our years with Hillary Clinton, it’s that you can be both great and deeply imperfect. It’s one of her gifts. Even if right now we really wish she would have fired the faith adviser.”
Brilliant, amendable. Now collate this with the following modification: Because sexual harassment is so much on our national mind right now, we would like him to be our hero on that issue, too. But if there is anything we have learned in all our years with Donald Trump, it is that you can be both great and deeply imperfect. It’s one of his gifts. Even if right now we really wish he would have controlled himself shortly after the birth of his last son, Barron. And peace will be on hand.
EDWARD A. WAGSCHAL
January 26, 2018
To the Editor:
In the 1930s the Nazi playbook was scripted in fine print. It wasn’t brand-new but a refined and polished version of centuries of political manipulation. The United States today is in the midst of a similar manipulation. We are almost word for word, but being an ahistorical people it seems all new and mystifying.
“Deutschland uber alles,” the Nazi motto Germany First. One always needs a good inspirational motto. Identifying societal victims, those wounded by previous governments or by the outside world. Suffering from neglect and lack of respect.
Scapegoats are then identified to give the victims something to let their frustrations out. The German Jews, Gypsies, Catholics, Protestants, Communists, homosexuals, and the disabled were a huge package. Asians, Latinos, Africans, Muslims were less inclusive than the German choices but really hard to miss.
Once the motto, the victims, and the scapegoats are in place the next objective is the press or the media. Diminishing the press by any means, fake news, etc., takes away the only impartial objective opposition to the program. Once accomplished, the political system collapses and people get on the savior/fuhrer’s bandwagon.
With the Republican Party almost fully on board, it is easy to understand how we seem to give a pass to a racist, misogynistic, pathological liar whose vulgarity knows no limits. Is this who we really are, or are we having a moment of temporary insanity? Sadly, the jury is still out.
February 2, 2018
My father advised me many years ago that when trying to explain a very complicated subject to a large, general audience, one should keep it “simple, stupid.”
Having studied the Middle East and Islam for the past 50 years, I’m tired of hearing/watching TV analysts claim Islam is being hijacked by the Islamists and ISIS/the Islamic State. Just the opposite! ISIS and the other Islamists are following Muhammad’s example literally. They are behaving just as Muhammad did, according to his biography, the Hadith (his traditions and behavior) and in accordance with the Qur’an.
Most Muslims believe Islam is peaceful and that Allah is merciful. But Allah, through the Qur’an, commanded Muslims to obey and follow Muhammad’s example. Muhammad was a killer and mass murderer during his last six years. Muhammad’s earlier revelations of peaceful intent are nullified by his later violent revelations, as explained in Sura (chapter) 2 of the Quran. Muslims who think not are apostates according to Muhammad.
Muhammad forbade any changes to or innovation of Islam. He called that bid’a (forbidden). He forbade music, games, alcohol, and any artistic renderings of living creatures, i.e., humans and animals. In other words, all the great music and art created by the Persian, Mughal, and Ottoman Empires are blasphemy. In actuality, 95 percent of Muslims are apostates; they are in greater danger than we are. Witness what ISIS did to the Yazidis (a sub-sect of Islam) with raping and beheading those who fell into their control.
When trying to understand the complexity of the jihadist movements picture a spiderweb of spiderwebs, with some of the spiders eating each other (al Qaeda and ISIS are in competition and often fight with each other). What links the jihadists is the shared ideology of Muhammad, not membership cards, that is the link of the lone wolf.
If we want to defeat the existential threat the jihadists pose, we must first get honest about the Islam of Muhammad. It is irresponsible for the talking heads to not do the required research. We risk blundering into thinking all Muslims are the same (nothing could be further from the truth) and turning them all against us out of our ignorance. It is time for us to be honest about Muhammad and his Islam. Our mutual survival is at stake.