Source: The Independent

September 04, 2013

Disgusting Condition

Letter to the Editor,

Bravo! Someone has finally looked at Fort Pond House outside the prism of politics and come to some very undeniable conclusions: “If there is blame to be placed, place it on those who voted to buy it and then looked the other way – and those who used and abused it.”

You are to be congratulated on your editorial of 8/28/13, where you lay out the facts as they have existed at least since June 2010, when I gave my presentation to the town board.

The current administration had no choice; the house could not continue to be used by the public once the board was informed of its disgraceful condition, a condition that clearly existed long before the start of the Wilkinson administration. Wilkinson had only been in office for less than six months when I made my trip to the house and presented my findings to the full board.

An inspection by the fire marshal was the only option the board had at that point, followed, upon his report, by closure.

I was never able to convince anyone of the disgusting condition of Fort Pond House, not community organizations that were, in my view, responsible for the deteriorating structure that became Fort Pond House, and not campaigning politicians who ultimately won seats on the board. Why worry about facts when the mantra is politics before people?

Thank you, Rick, for finally looking at the situation with an apolitical eye and telling it like it is – not that it will make any difference!


The Truth

Dear Editor,

Good and valid editorial Rick; when will the truth ever win out? Best regards.


Reasonable And Defensible

Dear Rick,

In response to your editorial on Fort Pond House, whenever the town board wants to initiate controversial actions, it should, early on, bring the potential critics into the decision making process. It is especially important to hear the views of the most knowledgeable and interested citizens.

Besides hearing from individual residents, the various advisory committees, such as the Nature Preserve Committee and the Citizen Advisory Committees of each hamlet, can serve as the eyes and ears of the community. If they are well organized and well run, these committees can also provide collective wisdom to the board in each committee’s area of expertise.

Differing views should not be avoided. The honest appraisal of all views should be seen as a positive development that allows all sides to reach compromises or, at least, to adjust their positions to be the most reasonable and defensible before any controversial action is proposed in the more aggressive form of a town board resolution.

If the above suggestion had been followed, the proposal to sell Fort Pond House (and the Montauk Town Docks) would have been halted before the flawed idea ever reached the general public.


No Excuse

Dear Mr. Murphy,

On August 11, the New York Post published an excerpt that described a political theory relevant to arguments made by The Independent against Tim Bishop for allegedly circumventing procedures to allow a campaign donor to display fireworks near an environmentally sensitive area.

The theory published under the heading “Baseball and Egypt” goes like this: If a leader is allowed to ignore procedures of the law, then the leader is sovereign, not the people.

Furthermore, in a Democracy, popularity is no excuse for circumventing procedures. As an example, Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst circumvented procedures to close Town Hall on July 5. While popular, the decision wasn’t really fair since it awarded one day off regardless of the amount of extra overtime worked.

In a similar vein, Ms. Throne-Holst’s pattern of circumventing campaign financing procedures was validly questioned by Linda Kabot in her letter to the editor published August 28.


An Eye Opener

Dear Rick,

Thank you for your long track record of informing and entertaining your readers. I have been reading your paper for many years even though I live Upisland, currently in Riverhead.

I am not a Hamptonite, or a potential Hamptonite, or even a wannabe Hamptonite, I still confess to having the same infatuation with the rich and famous that most of the country is mesmerized by - the Cult of Celebrity. Be that as it may, I am now suspending this obsession and appealing to your paper to devote one upcoming issue entirely to non-celebrities, non-national politicians - who are not members of the Intelligentsia, who are not rich, nor famous, essentially - ordinary working class members of the East End community. I guess this is sort of a challenge to you.

Are you brave enough to produce one edition of the Independent - off season, or shoulder season is OK - that does not include a single reference to Christie Brinkley, Alec Baldwin, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Howard Stern (or his wife - who I really like!) Richard Gere, former President Clinton (or Hillary - who I also really like!) current President Obama (I am a supporter), Mayor Bloomberg, (or any other non-local elected official or politician - in office or out of office), Nile Rodgers, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Collicchio, Bobby Flay (or any celebrity chefs) Ron Perelman, any hedge fund owner, any big time banker, any CEO, any well known artist, any famous sport star, any well known restaurant proprietor, any TV or movie stars, Nathan Lane (or any Broadway personalities), Chuck Scarborough, Matt Lauer, any other well known TV newscasters or reporters, any published or famous writers, Bay Street Theatre, the Parrish Art Museum, Guild Hall, any famous models, any gallery openings, and any mention of a fundraiser associated with a celebrity?

If you choose to not take up the challenge then my only other option would be to pray to God, which is a long shot since I am an atheist, that an earthquake occurs that breaks off the South Fork of the East End of Long Island right at the border of Hampton Bays (Hampton Bays has never been part of the Hamptons anyway) and floats it to either the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where it truly belongs, or has it run ashore off Smith Point, thus becoming an extension of the Mastics and Shirley.

This geological event would allow the former residents of the Hamptons to see what much of America is like. Hamptonites would now have to live out of the bubble they currently reside in. It would be a true eye opener for these folks. I would pay to see them shopping at Pathmark in Shirley with the great unwashed masses that live in the real world!

On a positive note, Riverhead, where I live, could be the new “Hamptons” and the place to be on the new East End! I can’t wait.


All The Ranting

Dear Editor,

It was disgusting to see the full-page ad signed by Jerry Della Femina on page seven of last week’s edition. What a cheap shot at Eliot Spitzer! As the bible says “Let he without sin cast the first stone.” After all the ranting by Wall Street types and other tycoons, I believe they are afraid he would go after their misdeeds again like he did when he was New York Attorney General.


We Can Help

Dear Rick,

Kudos to East Hampton and Southampton for taking the initiative on the plastic bag problem. Yes, they stay in the environment forever. This is not a good thing!

We can do this, folks. We can help. We must take the responsibility to help Mother Earth. Remember -- her love is unconditional.


Higher Fees

An Open Letter To Independent Readers,

Suffolk County is home to more mobile home parks that any other county in the state.

Let me tell you about the one I live in: the state holds the mortgage. Even though the payments are being made, our park administrators have ignored the mortgage retirements for over two years.

The STAR program has also been mishandled for two-plus years. This in turn causes residents to pay higher lot fees than they should be paying.

Some residents have had to go to Southampton Court to fight evictions. Fortunately no one has been evicted yet. Some of the cases were dismissed: the resident showed proof that payments had been made, or they produced documentation that the administrators had refused the payments – this is proof of their mismanagement.

Local officials should look into this matter.