Letters to the Editor: 05.10.18
Life of Meaning
May 7, 2018
To the Editor,
The board and members of Concerned Citizens of Montauk are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend and colleague Peter Lowenstein.
A longtime resident of Montauk and C.C.O.M. board member, Peter was a beloved and devoted member of our community with an unwavering and passionate commitment to Montauk and its residents. He was an advocate for Montauk’s environment and played a significant role in helping to preserve the Montauk we all love. He chaired C.C.O.M.’s nominating committee, hosted our candidate forums, and provided wise counsel to his fellow board members.
Peter also served on Montauk’s citizens advisory committee, the Montauk Pilots Association, Children’s Cancer Fund, and was involved with many other charitable organizations. He lived a life of meaning and purpose.
Our deepest condolences to his wife, Suse, and his son, Lucas. Peter will be deeply missed by all who loved and respected him. His spirit will live on in Montauk.
Concerned Citizens of Montauk
May 3, 2018
On Christmas night I suffered a seizure which caused me to fall. After calling 911, I was taken by ambulance and admitted to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital where I remained until Jan. 3, 2018. I was subsequently transferred to the Hamptons Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, where I learned I was unable to walk. With intensive physical and occupational therapy I am able, once again, to walk with the aid of a walker. I returned home on April 13, four months later.
There are two people I want to thank publicly. They are Patty Sansone, who runs P.S. I Love You dog care, and Debbie Downes, supervisor of employees at the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons.
Getting back to the point of my letter, I called Patty Sansone and asked her if she would take my dog, Windsor, to the East Hampton Veterinary Group for boarding. Not knowing how long I would be away from home, I called Debbie Downes at ARF and asked her if it would be possible to board Windsor, and she readily agreed that Windsor would be welcome. I called Patty Sansone, who has become a good friend, and asked her to pick up Windsor from East Hampton Veterinary Group and transfer him to ARF.
Soon after arriving at the Hamptons Care Center in Southampton, I learned that the patients/residents are permitted to have their pets visit them. I was told to contact Mr. Matty Hane, director of recreation. He said all they needed was proof that Windsor had received all the necessary shots.
So every week Patty brought Windsor for a visit and he would make himself right at home, always jumping up on an upholstered chair in the lobby, where he would remain, or he would jump down and greet handicapped residents who are confined mostly to their wheelchairs. Whenever one of my physical therapists, Mark Schweitzer, passed through the lobby, Windsor would immediately roll over on his back and wait for Mark to give him a belly rub.
We are most fortunate to have such a caring organization as the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. Thank you again, Patty and Debbie, and also I want to send my heartfelt thanks to the employees at ARF who work in the kennels. I appreciate all the love and care they gave to Windsor.
ELIZABETH VOGT ROSSUCK
May 3, 2018
John Tepper Marlin’s “Remembering V-E Day” beautifully conveys the stress, horror, and pride felt by soldiers and their families during World War II.
I thank him for writing it.
May 2, 2018
To the Editor:
I hope this will serve as an open letter to Orogold Cosmetics in East Hampton:
Your policy of handing out samples in front of your store has got to stop. People complain about it, the stores around you are affected by it in a negative way as many of us cross the street just to avoid you, and it’s just plain rude. You are ruining our quaint town and turning it into an anxiety-provoking, unwelcomed solicitation. It’s off-putting and it’s annoying.
I went in to the town [village] office recently to make a complaint with code enforcement when I saw you were returning this season, and they said, “Let me guess — Orogold,” and said I was not the first one to complain. “We get many complaints,” they said.
The funny part is when your store first opened in East Hampton I went in on my own accord to check it out and bought some products. It’s a novel idea, isn’t it? A grown-up can walk into a store on their own without being coerced or harassed to do so.
These products ended up drying out my skin and they ended up in the trash. Maybe that’s the issue, that your products don’t stand up on their own, so you feel it necessary to bother people as they are trying to stroll by eating ice cream.
I have personally asked your employees several times not to offer me samples, and they persist because they can’t be bothered to remember who they are bothering. I have emailed your customer service to complain. I do not receive any replies. Any reputable company responds to a complaint and tries to rectify it and examine their policies. Your silence says it all. But then again what should we expect from a company that obviously does not respect the community it is in, or even have the common sense to realize that this type of behavior does not belong in our beautiful town.
This winter I saw an eviction notice of nonpayment on your door, and I rejoiced at the idea that you would not be back bothering people this season. Also, I noted that besides harassing people as a company policy, you don’t pay your bills to the point that a legal action was required, which doesn’t say much for your integrity. You must have settled up your debt and, sadly, are returning.
Just to make it clear to you, I have raised this issue with others in the community and your neighboring store owners and no one is happy about it, specifically due to your policy of standing in your doorway (and sometimes on the sidewalk even though you’re not supposed to) and trying to stick samples in the faces of passers-by.
Maybe if you stay inside and sell products based on their own merits you could earn back some community support. If you cannot act like every other store in our town and on the planet, I do hope this will be your last season in East Hampton. The way you are disrespecting people and the beauty of our town now, you really don’t deserve to be here.
May 7, 2018
My Name is Jeff Erickson and I am running for East Hampton School Board because I understand the importance of safety and education in our schools. As a father of an eighth-grade student and a husband of a teacher in our school district, I believe the East Hampton School District would benefit from my experience and knowledge.
I am a graduate of the State University at Oswego with a Bachelor of Science degree in technology education. I am currently a police sergeant with the East Hampton Village Police Department. While serving with the Police Department I was a Drug Abuse Resistance Education instructor at both the John M. Marshall Elementary School and the East Hampton Middle School. I was the union president of the East Hampton Village Police Benevolent Association for 13 years.
At present I am a team leader with the Emergency Services unit. These experiences have provided me with leadership skills, and knowledge of collective bargaining and contract negotiations. I am able to make purposeful decisions reflecting the values of our community. I have experience in school safety that I can bring to the school board. I can offer new viewpoints to make our schools safer.
My top priorities are for student and teacher safety and to ensure that every student has the opportunity to receive an outstanding educational experience.
Vote for Jeffrey Erickson on May 15 at the East Hampton School District offices on Long Lane from 1 to 8 p.m.
May 5, 2018
It has been my pleasure to have served on the East Hampton School Board for the past six years, and I am seeking re-election for a third term on May 15. I have been vice president for the past four years. I have two boys who came up through our school district. My son Rudy is graduating this year, and my son Patrick is a sophomore at East Hampton High School. I grew up in Sag Harbor and graduated from Pierson and have lived in East Hampton for the past 24 years. My husband, Rudy, and I own a local catering business (Dreesen’s Catering and Dreesen’s Doughnuts) here in East Hampton. Our family has deep roots in the community; our boys are the fourth generation to grow up in East Hampton.
If re-elected, my top priority is pursuing our new vocational education initiative, something that I am very passionate about. New York State tasks school districts with making students “college and career ready.” East Hampton has done a terrific job on the “college ready” side of the equation — our students are being accepted to the top schools in the nation. We have many A.P. classes, and just this past year added the A.P. Capstone Diploma. We are now bringing a renewed focus to the “career ready” side of the equation, as we realize that many of our students are not necessarily on the college track.
We need to provide these students with marketable skill sets, and we are working directly with input from our local business owners in these fields to marry their needs as employers to the skills that our students graduate with. We live in a resort community where most of the year-round jobs are in the service trades, and many local employers are having difficulty hiring skilled labor. We have implemented some changes to our food prep classes, significantly increased our internship programs with local businesses, and added a new HVAC program for this upcoming school year. The district’s decision to move our pre-K program back in-house presents the opportunity to add an early childhood development program.
Should the bus-barn referendum be passed by the voters and an appropriate facility is built (we designed the new facility with adding vocational ed programs in mind) it includes an extra bay-and-a-half for training and classroom space and we have plans to add automotive repair, small engine/boat and motor repair, and welding.
Bringing solid vocational education programs back to this district is a win-win for the students and the community at large, if we can make it feasible for our graduates to remain and work in our community. The response from parents and the business community has been phenomenal; clearly there is a need for these programs, especially at a time when, as a community, we are seeing the flight of local families and graduates from our town in search of better job prospects and affordable living.
As the cost of college is becoming more out of reach for middle-class families, this presents another pathway for our students to graduate with job skills that match the skills in demand of local employers.
Another important issue that I am focusing on is safety and security. We are in the process of implementing many of the suggestions from our security audit several years ago, and this is an ongoing project on many fronts. Substance abuse and mental health are also topics of interest to me that I would like to continue to work on, as these are very serious issues affecting our kids and society today.
I hope that the taxpayers of the East Hampton School District feel that I have [represented] and will continue to represent their interests well and will vote for me for another term on May 15.
May 7, 2018
I am pleased to announce that I will be running for re-election to the Amagansett School Board.
As a native of Amagansett and long-time supporter of the Amagansett School, it is dismaying that my opponent is advocating that the Amagansett community vote down the school budget as a means to cut administrative positions.
While I truly believe that this is a misguided agenda, I can appreciate some of her thought processes. I, too, grew up in Amagansett and attended our school at a time when the school had only one principal. In the old days, state mandates and regulations were minimal, and New York State was not as involved in the day-to-day operations of our schools.
Since the days of my childhood, life in East Hampton has become more complicated and regulated. There is a higher level of accountability and oversight by the state and federal governments that provide us with money. For instance, New York State now demands enormous amounts of related supervision and data from school districts regardless of the size or number of students.
As a mother of three children, two who currently attend college, I am constantly seeking ways to cut expenses. However, given the burdensome regulatory mandates the Amagansett School faces, I do not believe it prudent to slash the administrative staff at the school, place additional burdens on the backs of a truncated staff, and risk inadequate compliance. Past attempts to do just that were colossal failures.
As a member of the Amagansett School Board, I will work hard to give the students the best possible education while keeping our school compliant, and ensuring that we are responsible stewards of our community’s hard-earned money. As we look for a new superintendent, it is my hope that this person can be confident that the Amagansett School Board will keep in place the resources that he or she will need to continue the great educational opportunities our school provides.
Please consider voting for me on Tuesday, May 15, at the Amagansett School between the hours of 2 and 8 p.m. And please vote yes for the school budget on Tuesday. If you are unable to vote in person on that day, please contact the district clerk at the Amagansett School to apply for an absentee ballot. If you are in town and need a ride to the school to vote, please reach out to me at 631-267-3906.
Thanking you in advance for your continued support,
Passion and Love
May 7, 2018
I have been asked numerous times “Why do I want to run for school board?”
Why? I have always felt that every person in a community has something to offer at certain times in their life to an event or position. And if you can make a difference, you should step up to the plate.
In the 1980s when my three children were attending the Amagansett Grade School, I was able to offer my services by walking door to door to get a petition signed by the taxpayers to start a Pre-K program to keep the school from closing due to the lack of enrollment of 100 students, I helped gain the vote for having a superintendent’s house, so as to offer [a place to live to a] superintendent.
In the 1980s to 1990s, I was a Girl Scout leader to both my daughter’s troops, a Cub Scout den mother for my son, a girls little league coach, and replacement school bus driver. I am a member of the Amagansett Fire Department ambulance for 26 years and have been the ambulance company treasurer for eight years. I have been working in an elementary school for almost 23 years, and part of my position as a principal clerk has been working with the school budget.
As you can see, I have a passion and love for this community. I feel I can offer my experience in order to make the Amagansett School Board more reachable to the residents and the taxpayers of Amagansett. I believe having a wide variety of knowledge, passion, trust, and transparency on the school board can benefit the students, their families, staff members, and the taxpaying community.
We all want what is best for our community!
I am asking for your vote to become an Amagansett School Board member on Tuesday, May 15, from 2 to 8 p.m. Voting is at the Amagansett Grade School on Montauk Highway. Mark your calendar!
MARY A. EAMES
May 7, 2018
There is an important budget vote and candidate race happening in the Amagansett School District. Why should community members support the Amagansett School budget? Amagansett consistently produces students graduating at the top of their class who become productive members of the community. Amagansett School has done this while keeping taxes low and property values high.
Why am I writing this letter? There are two candidates running for one seat on the Amagansett School Board. The current and past boards have held the line under strong mandates from the state level. Someone elected to the school board should be someone who understands state mandates, listens, learns, and does what’s best for our community as a whole. The school is at a critical point with Superintendent Tritt leaving after being a strong leader for so many years. The school has remained successful, taxes remain stable despite increasing external expenses, programs intact, and the school is diverse and desirable.
Dawn Brophy, currently holding a seat on the board, is an educated board candidate who already understands what it takes to properly run a school district under the requirements of the state in which it is governed and can hit the ground running as the school goes through major changes ahead with a new superintendent and the affordable housing project.
Amagansett needs a strong board going into this turbulent time. The school cannot afford to catch an uninformed board member up to speed at this juncture coinciding with the superintendent’s departure. Dawn Brophy has proven her devotion to the success of the Amagansett school by her volunteer work over the last 20-plus years on and with the PTA, and comes from a family of three generations of Amagansett graduates. She is up to date on all the issues the school is currently facing.
As a taxpayer I want the Amagansett School to continue to be successful. I understand firsthand the requirements of a New York School District. I am a New York State School Board Association “mastery- level” educated, nine-year board member veteran with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and master’s in education who worked in a New York State school system for over 14 years. It is from this rounded background that I endorse Dawn Brophy for the Amagansett School Board so that the board can continue to stay the course.
I moved to Amagansett 12 years ago so my children could attend the Amagansett School, and I want the future children of Amagansett to have the same top-notch education that my children had. A school that creates top-notch students is a desirable school. I want our taxes to continue to be kept as low as possible. Do the other Amagansett taxpayers want continued success for future children while keeping our taxes low and community desirable? Then continue to support the school and vote yes for a very responsible budget and vote yes for a very responsible and educated candidate named Dawn Rana-Brophy on May 15.
May 5, 2018
On Tuesday, May 15, I’m casting my ballot for Mary Eames for Amagansett School Board member. Mary has been a dedicated public servant working for the Amagansett Fire Department for many years as an emergency medical technician and ambulance driver. She currently lives in Amagansett and works for the John Marshall School. As an employed staff member of the East Hampton School District she has dealt with school budgets and budget lines for many years. What could be better for an Amagansett School Board member — a person that can really look at the school budget with a questioning eye.
Mary will be a strong advocate for student programs and question the need for so many administration salaries in the budget. Mary’s tireless involvement in the community shows she is a woman of integrity and service and will be an asset to the Amagansett School Board. Join me in voting for Mary Eames on Tuesday, May 15, from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Amagansett School.
May 7, 2018
I served on the Amagansett Board of Education for over 12 years and was president of the board from Jan. 9, 2002, to June 30, 2013. As a former board member, I have an abiding interest in the management and success of both the Amagansett Union Free School District and the Amagansett School.
In recent weeks I have been troubled by the tone and content of letters to the editor criticizing various matters relating to the district, including its management structure and financial administration. I feel the sentiments expressed in these letters are at best misguided. Moreover, if pursued by a new administration they could result in a return to practices which are not in the best interests of the district or the school, its students, staff, and faculty.
1. Leadership structure: New York law requires school districts to employ a superintendent, and a principal for each school in the district, even a one-school district such as Amagansett. Many years ago the district obtained a waiver of this requirement thereby allowing one person to serve as superintendent and principal.
After the waiver was obtained the superintendent was assisted by a tenured teacher who had no classroom responsibilities but was designated a “teacher on special assignment.” This person handled some quasi-administrative tasks typically assigned to a full-time administrator but the scope of these tasks was limited to exclude those tasks that can only be performed by a state-recognized administrator. In addition, over the years additional members of staff were hired by the district to perform tasks such as special education administration, other administrative matters, and grant writing.
In 2012, the board determined that this structure was inadequate to assure ongoing compliance with state law and established a separate position of principal. This is basically the structure used by the district at the present time.
The important point is that the current structure is more effective in assuring compliance with state law and the smooth running of the district and the school. In addition, this is achieved at a total cost comparable to the prior, less efficient structure.
The suggestion that the district now revert to the one-person superintendent-principal structure is rolling back the progress the district has made since 2012. The comparison of the two approaches is quite compelling and causes me to conclude that changes contemplated by recent letters to the editor are totally without merit. I know Eleanor Tritt would be happy to explain the comparison to interested voters.
2. Miankoma Lane house: The district is fortunate to own a house close to the school, and recent superintendents have been contractually obligated to live in the house. The availability of the house can allow the district to recruit a superintendent who would otherwise be unable to afford accommodation in the local real estate market.
3. Superintendent work days: The position of superintendent involves a year-round work schedule, typically 220 days per fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). The recent suggestion that the superintendent works only 200 days is inconsistent with reality.
4. Defeating the budget: In my opinion, it is irresponsible for a candidate for election to the board to suggest that voters should not approve the budget proposed for 2018-19 because administrative costs are too high. Voters should be aware that in formulating the proposed budget, the board of education has taken into account the administrative costs necessary to operate the district in compliance with state law, as well as the costs necessary to maintain the school’s high academic standards.
I intend to support the current board of education by voting for the proposed budget and for Dawn Rana-Brophy. Dawn has been an important part of the success of the current board in maintaining the school’s high academic standards and fostering the impressive results of the district’s students as they complete their secondary education in East Hampton.
May 5, 2018
I’m writing this letter in support of Dawn Rana-Brophy who is a candidate in the upcoming election for Amagansett School Board. I have known Dawn for well over 20 years, and in various capacities. We first met when our children were young and played sports together. Throughout the years we became close friends; she is one of the most supportive and loyal friends I have. Dawn is always there to lend a hand or just listen, and that goes for everyone. Her compassion and warm personality allow her to connect with all people; I believe these traits contribute to a successful leader.
Dawn and I have been business partners for over 15 years in real estate. I respect her tenacious ability to stand up for what she believes in, yet I also appreciate her open-mindedness. Dawn is not the type of person who will let her elected position go to her head; she is reasonable, grounded, and smart.
Dawn and I served on the East Hampton Little League board of directors together. While I was vice president, she was secretary. Dawn is a hard worker and known for being very active in our community. She has served on many committees, including president of the Amagansett PTA.
The parents, children, taxpayers, and Amagansett School employees should consider themselves very lucky to have Dawn Rana-Brophy on the ballot for school board. She is a strong candidate who will undoubtedly be a very valuable asset.
LISA MULHERN LARSEN
May 7, 2018
The East Hampton Town Democratic Committee (like its Republican counterpart) is a “constituted committee” under New York Election Law, subject to its requirements. It is authorized by state law as a subcommittee of the Suffolk County Democratic Committee and subject to both state law and county rules.
For that reason, the current fracas in the Democratic committee should concern the entire community. One of the most frequent charges made against Donald J. Trump is that he is shredding democratic norms. He surely is. But if Democrats do they same, we will not long be in a position to criticize.
Members of the town party committees are elected officeholders under state law, elected biennially in their election districts in the normal primary elections. Most often, the seats are not contested and so no balloting is held. As elected officeholders, they cannot be summarily removed either by their town committees, the committee chairmen, or by the county committee, or county committee chairmen. For a vacancy to arise (other than by death or perhaps loss of eligibility), the county committee rules, binding on the town committee, require a signed resignation.
A member of the Democratic committee, Rona Klopman, recently filed an Article 78 proceeding claiming that the Democratic committee roster has been corrupted by members being removed from the roster without having resigned and others being appointed to seats that are not vacant.
The town Democratic committee has now answered the Article 78 petition. It does not claim that any members resigned in writing and did not provide the court with any copies of letters of resignation. It therefore appears that Ms. Klopman’s action is meritorious.
I have looked at the Board of Elections list of elected members of the Democratic committee following the Sept. 2016 primary. I have looked at the current list of members as published by the town committee chairwoman. There are five members elected in Sept. 2016 who are not now on the roster. If they have not resigned in writing, they still occupy their seats. Two members were appointed to seats that appear not to have been vacated by signed resignations. It is also possible that members appointed to vacancies have been summarily removed, although the county rules, and hence state law, say that a vacancy appointment is for the balance of the term.
Why is the Democratic committee defending the actions of the chairwoman if it has no signed resignations? Why does the leadership not simply admit to having made errors, for whatever reason, and correct them? That is what people who have made innocent mistakes do: take responsibility for them and correct them.
That the Democratic committee leadership stonewalls instead discredits both them and, unfortunately, the Democratic Party. They need to consider carefully just why they have embarked on this disastrous course, currently roiling the committee, and change course, backing out of the dead end into which they have maneuvered themselves.
May 5, 2018
The Tuesday, May 1, town board meeting was extremely lengthy. After approximately two hours into the meeting, the subject of Wainscott’s water supply district was up for discussion. Go to ltveh.org to watch the meeting.
The town board agreed that the long-term solution to water contamination is the installation of public water. The water supply district is one of the first steps in that process. The boundaries of the district are larger than the area in which well contamination has been found and includes about 822 homes.
Councilman Jeff Bragman, the liaison to Wainscott, stated that the town needed to do more. He stated that the town board had the authority to declare a state of emergency and make funds available to reimburse residents choosing to install in-home filtration systems. Bragman said that providing bottled water for months on end, until public water is installed, was an inadequate response and exposed residents to further health issues. He urged the board to act and stated, “We can do better.” He was right!
The sharp dialogue between the supervisor and the councilman was disappointing. The supervisor argued that supplying water was adequate until town water was eventually installed. The other council people remained silent, and I was hoping to hear their voices in this important issue.
There is quite a contrast in the town’s response to the pine-beetle invasion, in which they directed more than $300,000 to clearing trees, and area properties. What would the supervisor do if there were a water problem that affected his house and neighborhood?
May 3, 2018
Dear Mr. Rattray,
After reviewing pertinent information and viewing trustee meetings on LTV, I am deeply concerned about the Town of East Hampton and its citizens who use electricity.
There are many environmental, economic, political, ethical, and other questions that are unanswered at the present time. We need accurate answers to all of our questions before proceeding any further. This is a very hot issue in our town right now, and there will be a public hearing on Deepwater Wind on May 17 at LTV Studios. When you are in a building that is on fire you are told to stop, drop, and roll. I think the Town of East Hampton needs to stop, drop, and think very carefully now.
The price of wind-generated electricity is dropping. Bloomberg News England Energy Finance’s forecast reads: “We expect the . . . cost of offshore wind to decline 71 percent by 2040.” Adair Turner, chairman of the Energy Transitions Commission, says, “we are very confident that we will be able within 15 years to build energy systems . . . which produce all the electricity that we need — at a price of only seven United States cents per kilowatt-hour.”
Deepwater Wind will not tell us the total cost of the electricity that they will supply to us. They say that is a trade secret. Why are they keeping this information secret?
Should the town enter into an agreement with Deepwater Wind to supply us wind-generated electricity to 2030 and beyond without knowing the actual cost to ratepayers?
I was told, when I got my first checkbook, to never sign a blank check and give it to someone because that is a very dangerous thing to do.
What do you think?
Should Be Appointed
May 5, 2018
To the Editor:
We enjoyed Christopher Walsh’s April 26 article about Dr. James Meyer, a large-animal veterinarian in East Hampton. The article conveys Dr. Meyer’s love of horses and his commitment to scientific research. Our daughter, Sarah, is a veterinarian (in New England), so we have an idea of the hard work this profession requires.
East Hampton has a number of outstanding veterinarians, and one should be appointed to the town board’s wildlife management advisory committee. Although the town’s veterinarians are not specifically wildlife specialists, their knowledge of wildlife is often considerable, and the committee would benefit from the scientific perspective a veterinarian would bring.
BILL and ELLEN CRAIN
East Hampton Group for Wildlife
May 5, 2018
The recent anti-Montauk article by you represents the chronic mugwumps mentality that rich UpIsland nimbys profess toward change. Montauk has a tourist plan which is to create the “Premier Green Resort” on the East Coast. Montauk is the only pedestrian beach town where visitors can eat and hotel without a car. We need to improve our local public transportation and clean up our waters. The residents of Montauk and the East Hampton Town Board know this and support our plan.
Check and Balance
May 7, 2018
To the Editor:
There are big differences between businesses and government. Businesses are created to make profits for individuals and investors. There are several types of businesses, production of products, trade, occupation, commerce, and transactions by providing goods and services to a willing market. If a market does not exist or a profit cannot be made the business goes out of business. Businesses have many types of assets ranging from patents on inventions to employees. Every asset in business serves one sole purpose — to generate income.
Government is an entity that exists to govern and represent society. Government through its elected representatives develops laws to regulate the conduct of businesses and individuals, establish guidelines for society, and provide protection on the local, county, state, and national levels from those that would do society harm.
Governments do not make profits but instead generate funds from taxes and other types of fees to cover operating expenses of the services provided to the community represented. Government’s sole purpose is to strive to fulfill the needs of the community. Governments have only two assets — land held in the public trust and the employees who provide services to the community.
The checks and balances on businesses are simple: Either make a profit or go out of business. The checks and balances on governments are more complicated. Governments, for the most part, are insulated from the ups and downs of economic trends. Taxes are consistent and paid every tax day, good economy or not. As a check and balance for our form of government, society relies on the election process and community advocacy. Although imperfect, it has served us well for over 200 years since our government’s design by the founding fathers.
As a side note, I would encourage everyone to read the Federalist Papers. The Federalist Papers consist of 85 letters written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to newspapers [about the] United States Constitution.
Often maligned and under constant attack are public employees who routinely are the face of government policies created by elected representatives. The same elected representatives who through incompetence, political ideology, political ambition, and personal biases rarely have the best interests of government’s most significant assets — the employees.
East Hampton Town through the years has been no exception. Many town employees earn substantially less than private sector employees. I am told a significant portion of the town work force would not meet the minimum income requirements to be eligible for the town’s sponsored affordable housing. Currently, East Hampton Town government recruitment, retention, and attrition of employees is so severe that seasoned, experienced employees continue to leave for surrounding government jobs throughout the five East End towns, villages, and beyond.
And all the while, political ideology by our elected representatives in Montauk has destroyed the beaches and indebted the taxpayers to a yearly million-dollar beach restoration project with gravel-pit sand. Now with discussions of strategic retreat for several oceanfront businesses at some unmentioned cost to taxpayers, I have to wonder if that money would have been better spent on a crumbling, underpaid town work force. The work force that provides the services to our seniors, youth, most vulnerable, maintains our parks, our roads, our infrastructure, our public safety professionals from lifeguards to cops and the clerical/administrative staff that keeps government running smoothly.
Ideology is great and has its purpose, but practicality and common sense are what serve the community best. East Hampton Town must resolve the town employee crises soon rather than later.
May 1, 2018
The Long Island Railroad’s recent 16 failures out of 52 test runs of its mandated, potentially lifesaving positive train control system prompts the following observations:
Do any M.T.A. officials ever tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”
Board member Neal Zuckerman says, “It is better to have this (positive train control system) right than fast,” as if they’ve been purposely implementing it slowly for the 10 years since P.T.C. was mandated by the 2008 United States Rail Safety Improvement Act. Yet, by practicing procrastination and excuses, requesting and receiving extensions, they didn’t bother to award a contract until 2013, even though the system was (originally ) required by 2015.
Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi falsely claimed P.T.C. “is our highest priority,” and was thoughtless and tasteless enough to say, “We’re killing ourselves to get it done,” when in fact they virtually killed four of their customers by not having P.T.C. installed when one of its sleep apnea engineers caused four passenger deaths in a December 2013 Bronx derailment.
And Scott Rechler, Governor Cuomo’s representative on the board, claims, “I know they are making a Herculean effort.” Except that Hercules, all by himself, successfully completed and performed 12 godlike labors, and could probably have installed P.T.C. nationwide in 10 months, rather than failing to implement it on one single island over a 10-year period.
May 7, 2018
Remember when Trump urged minority voters to support him, asking what did they have to lose? We are all now learning that it is not just minorities that have everything to lose from his punitive polices.
But those most in need of protection are faring the worst. One example is telling. Callously, Housing and Urban Development director Ben Carson is ardently working to reverse policies that attempted to reverse decades of racial, ethnic, and economic segregation in federally subsidized housing projects. In making clear his enmity to desegregation efforts, Mr. Carson directed that HUD’s mission statement be revised to delete the words “inclusive” and “free from desegregation.”
HUD’s decision to abandon its core mission comes at a crucial moment. And it is one that may further disadvantage efforts to provide affordable housing to needy families, those that form the backbone of the work force. Here on the East End, our last election cycle was marked by the recognition that affordable housing was one of the most important problems facing our communities. The protection from discrimination federal law provides to the least fortunate is key to any effective affordable housing program.
Electing local representatives who embrace the responsibility of helping our local work force is not enough. We need congressional representation that is consistent with this goal. Mr. Zeldin, a Trump cheerleader, has failed to denounce HUD’s embarrassing policy shift. This fall, we get to elect a representative who will stand up to this administration’s segregationist bent. So we voters should have no tolerance for any candidate, state or federal, who demonstrates the slightest of discriminatory tendencies.
We need to replace Mr. Zeldin with a candidate who has shown concern for protecting each and every constituent in this district. I urge you to support Perry Gershon as he seeks to unseat Mr. Zeldin.
May 7, 2018
To The Editor:
With his refusal to release his tax returns, taunting of Gold Star families, ridicule of P.O.W.s, derision of the press, attacks on the F.B.I., threats to jail political opponents, demonization of immigrants, defense of neo-Nazis, disrespect for women, and so much else, Donald Trump has demolished many of the standards of decency citizens of this country once expected from their president.
Now he is pushing America toward a full-fledged constitutional crisis. In desperation to hide whatever it is he is hiding, Trump is signaling that he’ll pardon witnesses who may implicate him in crimes, refusing to testify in the investigation into Russian election interference, and maneuvering to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the leadership of the Department of Justice. His lawyers are even suggesting that because he’s the president he cannot commit obstruction of justice, and that he doesn’t have to comply with any subpoenas issued.
If President Trump is allowed to flout the law, as he has already flouted propriety, the safeguards that have protected America from tyranny for over 230 years will be destroyed.
It is a national disgrace that the Republican-controlled Congress is abetting and even encouraging the president to defy the rule of law. But it is a local disgrace that Lee Zeldin, Trump apologist extraordinaire, is our representative in that Congress. With his obsequious defense of anything Trump does or says, Zeldin is mocking all the law-abiding citizens of his district.
In November, the First Congressional District needs to toss Zeldin out of office, and vote for a Democratic representative who will defend our democracy.
May 5, 2018
In France, in the country, away from the relentless screams and harangues that are the news cycles without limits, there is a conversation about how the world struggles not to destroy itself: The collapse of natural ecosystems in the face of excessive greed and avarice. The question of natural resources and how they are used and distributed. The questions about wealth and its distribution. Employment and its limits. The need to integrate every aspect of our existence into a cohesive global plan that will not serve us as individuals at the expense of everyone else, but will provide for a global plan that puts us all into the program.
Our problem and much of the world’s is the ridiculous narcissism of our political class and the twisted perversion of men, mostly, who use power in the most obscene and perverse ways. What one might normally describe as deranged and dangerous is now classified as normal, and this normalcy is rationalized and supported by religious entities which are equally as perverted and deranged.
This toxic mix allows for the most obscene behavior like the destruction of the health-care system, white supremacist police behavior, and the destruction of the environment to be treated as actions that need to be discussed rather than as criminal acts of perverted politicians. Rationalizing obscene behavior in the name of alternative realities, and then telling us that God chose them would normally put people in the psych ward, not Congress.
From France we are so screwed and don’t seem to know. The country gets raped, and we blame it on its sexiness. Rape is the code word for narcissistic perversion.