THANKS TO TOWN BOARD
Thank you Town Board for your unanimous decision in accepting Federal Aviation Administration funding and your bipartisan efforts regarding the airport, a valuable Town asset.
Rejection of FAA funding is not a yellow-brick road to local carte blanche control of the airport as touted by a handful of individual airport opponents. Federal Regulations usurp that false notion. The airport has been, is and will always be subject to Federal Regulations and Constitutional obligations. To claim otherwise is just downright misleading and disingenuous to everyone who supports the airport and wants real noise abatement programs implemented.
It's clear from the Town's expert council and leading authority on aviation law, Mr. Peter Kirsch, that the Town's ability to address safety and noise issues is directly affected by the degree the FAA is willing to cooperate with the Town.
Previous Town Boards cowered to a small, vocal and litigious special interest anti-airport group creating an adversarial Town/FAA relationship, which actually prevented the Town from implementing effective noise abatement programs. They're still at it with an Article 78 proceeding against the Town challenging the recently approved ALP/Master Plan. They ill-represent those who truly desire sound solutions without ulterior motives of airport closure or go on personal attacks, like bullies do, aimed at pilots, airport users or a 30 plus year-old aviation association that is simply trying to promote safety and achieve true noise compatibility operations at a properly maintained airport.
This Town Board is actually working and doing their jobs and have zeroed in on short and long term solutions to the noise issues. The Town Board has realized that a good working relationship with the FAA is vital in accomplishing the end goal.
To set the record straight here are facts to keep in mind: 1. Pilots and airport users HAVE paid fees to generate a $1.5 million surplus (which is currently paying for another three-year noise study so that's why this surplus won't cover expenses for a perimeter fence and repairs...), 2. Pilots HAVE paid hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last few years as a fuel surcharge when they fuel their airplanes, 3. Pilots HAVE paid tens of thousands of dollars in leases and tie-down fees, 4. Pilots DO pay Fixed-Based Operator payments and aircraft storage, ground leases and real estate taxes, 5. Transient day or overnight pilots DO pay landing and parking fees. Any suggestion that pilots don't pay their fair share is just nonsense.
As pilots and community members ourselves who also want to attack noise issues, it has everything to do with taking care of business at the airport, which translates into substantial rewards for the entire community in safety, operations, meaningful noise reduction and obviously, finance.
One thing that is certain is that continued special interest-airport opponents' litigious reactions are costly to taxpayers (hundreds of thousands if not millions over the years). We all deserve goals, efforts and Town dollars focused on a well maintained, safe, secure and noise compatible airport
We need to work together to implement solutions. Cooperation with the FAA is key.
V.P. East Hampton Aviation Association
FLYING BACKWARDS IN TIME
To the editor,
My wife and I have owned property at 59 Lily Pond Lane in the Village for the past 15 years.
We have followed the controversy surrounding funding for the maintenance and improvements at the East Hampton Airport and are gratified that the town has finally and sensibly approved FAA funding for this necessary project. The town's approval and vote has our full support. That approval was a considered one, rendered after a December 1 public hearing in which all interested parties apparently had a chance to participate.
What seems to have been lost in the kerfuffle is the understanding that the town lacks the funds derived from its own already inflated tax revenue necessary to accomplish the needed improvements. The town now has difficulty maintaining its dilapidated road system. How could it be expected to maintain the Airport?
In other words, absent federal funding, there will be no modernization and less safety at East Hampton Airport. Who can rationally oppose the modernization program?
If federal funding for modernization were not to be accepted, the airport on which our lives in certain circumstances may depend, will surely close, just as Runway 4/22 at the Airport was closed some time ago due to neglect and failure to maintain.
Our airport infrastructure in the United States is a national disgrace. Former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski recently flew from Beijing to Dulles, and said that the experience was like going back in time 30 years. To fly into East Hampton Airport today is like going back in time 50 years.
The Town should resist political pressure from special interests and accept the funding without further inquiry, understanding that the improvements are in the public interest and a necessary step forward for our East Hampton community.
JAMES D. ZIRIN
SUFFERING FOR SCHUMER
To the editor,
Senator Charles Schumer is the personification of the Nanny State. His latest cause is requesting that the Transportation Security Administration hire "Passenger Advocates" at hundreds of airports around the nation to assist those who may have problems with airport security. A handful of people each day may have problems, while millions of other Americans put up with this inconvenience in the name of our national security.
Schumer, as usual never mentioned how many millions of dollars will have to be found to pay for training and reassigning hundreds of TSA employees. Next step, will be to hire hundreds more who can speak foreign languages. Voters need a "Taxpayers Advocate" assigned to Schumer 24/7 considering the frequency of his standard Sunday news conferences and introduction of Congressional bills, which continue to pick our pockets for even more money to fund his many useless proposals. With a $15 trillion long-term debt at $48,000 per citizen or $134,000 per taxpayer -- haven't we suffered enough?
QUIETING THE NOISE
Letter to the editor,
As a private pilot and a resident of Amagansett I support the maintenance of a safe airport, but I am appalled by the amount of unnecessary noise created by aircraft over residential areas. This noise can be mitigated by a cooperative effort between the flying community, Airport Management, the FAA and residents most affected by the noise. We know this because it has been done effectively in thousands of communities all over the Country. Voluntary curfews supported by residents and pilots do work. Community requests for aircraft to fly higher and on routes designed with residents in mind can work.
Unfortunately this cooperation cannot take place in the hostile environment created by those who have hidden financial and other interests that would be served by minimizing or eliminating airport traffic. These people disingenuously raise environmental issues and use procedural and bullying tactics to try to choke the financial lifeline of the airport.
They falsely claim that the expiration of grant assurances will allow them to make local rules that they can't make now. This is simply not true. In fact, waiting for four years (or 20 years) will give them no more authority than they have now. All it will do is delay the realization of the noise control that they say they desire.
In this season of good will a coming together of all parties with honest motives to create mutually beneficial solutions is completely possible and would be welcomed by all. It would be a wonderful way to quiet all of this "noise" about East Hampton Airport.
STEPHEN M BECKERMAN
GROWING WEALTH GAP
Letter to the editor,
There was a letter in your 12/14 Indy, "Flat Lined" by Zizelis was very poignant and in fact raised questions that I also had queried. Why in the world would those who are also victims of the vast inequity between them selves and the one percent feel the need to champion and legitimize their deviously gotten gains. Obviously it is as the writer suggests; transference. They enjoy fantasizing that they are somehow related to the one percent, which they deem successful because they have accumulated great wealth, regardless of how it was accrued. OWS has recognized the damage being inflicted on our country by the one percent and their claques and are acting on it throughout the United States.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) just released its "Society at a Glance 2011" report and when it comes to income inequality, the United States is looking poorly indeed. Out of all the countries gauged, only three — Turkey, Mexico and Chile — have a more unequal income distribution than the United States.
The United States also has an unusually high amount of people in poverty (17.3 percent, compared to the OECD average of 11.3 percent) for its relative wealth, with an average household income of $31,000, second highest in the world. Even that does not look great when you consider things like the cost of healthcare and education make that $31,000 barely enough to get by for a large portion of the population. It has consistently been proven that such income inequality isn't good for anyone, including the rich. The fact that the top one percent of the U.S. population rakes in about 21.3 percent of the national income doesn't bode well for the country's future economic prospects and political stability.
Another problem is that while two of the countries ahead of us, Chile and Turkey are steadily reducing their income inequality, their economies grow, whereas the wealth gap in the United States is actually expanding every single year. Don't these would be one percent letter writers ever read the papers or listen to the news? Not FOX where news goes to die, but news based on fact rather than politically motivated conjecture.
AT THE CROSSROADS
Letter to the editor,
Finally our troops are out of Iraq without the oil, which precipitated the phony invasion, and without the lives of our 4,000 boys and girls unknowingly fighting and dying for it. We eradicated the Equalizer in the region, Saddam Hussein, we made Iran powerful and victorious, we allowed our War in Afghanistan to languish and it only took nine years.
What could possibly go wrong? Well at least Cheney's Halliburton did well, as did the private contractors. Obviously Cheney still feels there is profit to be made from this fiasco since he wants us to stay there, as does his Mini-Me daughter. If Cheney thinks it is wrong to leave Iraq, judging from his past misjudgments, it must be right.
Let us hope that come 2012, voters remember the "Comedy (read: Tragedy) of Errors" that out present administration inherited from the previous. We have the opportunity to end the futile struggle in Afghanistan, save our country from the disaster of an ever increasing inequity of wealth, closing loopholes, insure fair share tax implementation and eliminate a host of other destructions heaped upon our country by that previous administration.
The alternative is continued tax breaks for the wealthy on the backs of the middle class, bye-bye Medicare, Social Security and Education Aid, all programs necessary for the middle class to rise. We are at the crossroads of our country's future. Either we relinquish all to the benefactors of today's version of the Republican Party and the Conservative Supreme Court's invention of the "Corporate People" or stand firm for the real "People, People." The choice is in the hands or more accurately, the votes of the Middle Class.
NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT
Letter to the editor,
This letter liberally references Brig. Gen. Jim Cash's article entitled "Another Government Cover-up" in the January 2011 edition of Military. I agree with his assessment that the contrail observed off the coast of California in November 2010 resembled a missile launch contrail, not an aircraft contrail.
In the 1980's Brig. Gen. Cash was a command director and assistant director of operations for the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD). NORAD is responsible for the detection and reporting of aircraft and missile threats to the President for action. Brig. Gen. Cash was a USAF fighter pilot for over 25 years.
Why did the Obama administration put out information that the contrail recorded off the California coast was made by an aircraft? My initial reaction was the contrail came from an inadvertent launch of a missile by one of our Navy's surface ships or a submarine. Although this continues to be a possibility, I believe the likelihood of this event is somewhat remote because of the number of people who would have been aware of this occurrence. The other possibility is the launch came from a foreign submarine, probably Russian or Chinese, which went undetected across the Pacific Ocean to our coastline.
If it was a missile launch from a Russian or Chinese submarine, it calls into question our ability to detect the approach of potential threats to our national security and our ability to defend this country. It should also alert our President, the Secretary of Defense and Congress to the increasing capabilities of foreign militaries, especially Chinese and Russian armed forces, and the need to maintain a strong U.S. military establishment. We should not be cutting back our military forces in the face of a threatening environment.
I agree with Brig. Gen. Cash. The integrity of our administration is under scrutiny and "once again the leader of this nation chose to disguise the truth and keep the American people in the dark on an issue that possibly constitutes a major threat to the entire U.S. population."
DONALD A. MOSCOWITZ
THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT
Letter to the editor,
On behalf of the members of the Springs Fire Department I would like to thank Luis DeLoera from Michaels Restaurant along with his staff and all who made donations to provide the department with a wonderful holiday party for the members and their spouses to enjoy. Thank you all for your continued support.
JOHN CLAFIN II
Springs Fire Department
A SLOW BOIL
A friend who is also concerned about losing freedom at the hand of government used the cooking frog analogy to describe our present predicament. Put a frog in boiling water and the frog will jump out of the pot. But if you put the frog in the water and heat it gently, the frog will not realize what is happening and only too late will it realize its peril.
As far as American freedom is concerned, we are in hot water. Whether doing the peoples' bidding or its own, the federal government has a reach into our lives that would surely dismay our Founding Fathers. They would understand that what is gained in authority by the government is a lost in freedom for the people.
Freedom is precious and it can be lost. Do you know, really know, that our precious freedom can be lost? We have taken it for granted for so many decades; we do not even recognize that it is being killed by the slow boil method. How could citizens who call themselves Democrats and liberals so want all of us to give up more of our freedom and the government to continue to grow at our expense? Seems like treason to me, fair reader, seems like treason to the founding principles of our country.