Source: The Independent

October 16, 2013

Before It’s Too Late

Dear Rick,

I would like to commend you on your Editorial entitled “Saving Montauk” that appeared in the October 9 edition of the Independent.

Your assertion that “we are graced with a once in a lifetime opportunity to address the problem (coastal erosion) in Montauk” rings true, as does your concept of a reinforced dune (a theory expressed by the Army Corps) to hold back threatening waters from repeated nor’easters and major hurricanes.

First off, business owners in Montauk should not be ridiculed by outside “professionals” for wanting their commercial properties near the dune line overlooking the ocean. The very term “beach resort” (a part of Montauk tradition) implies structures at or near the beach, where visitors can come to stay or dine. Take away the ocean view and proximity to the sea, and Montauk tourism loses its distinctive appeal.

Second, Category 3 Hurricanes have little regard for enhanced dunes and/or sand replenishment. During the Great Hurricane of 1938 (our most recent Category 3 event) then-Town Supervisor Perry Duryea had to be towed across Napeague to Montauk by Ferris Talmage’s tractor, because the storm surge had seriously broken through the dune line. Remember, this happened over 70 years ago, when dune structures on the East End were considerably stronger than those of today.

Every commercial operator along Main Street in Montauk should be taking an active interest in the coastal erosion issue, and should be calling for prompt and effective remediation procedures. Absent a hardened structure along south side beaches, downtown Montauk can, and will be flooded by the next major hurricane. Time is not on our side and we must act before it is too late.

Perry Duryea III

Quality Qualifications

Dear Rick,

Fred Overton’s opponents question his qualifications for Town Board -- tout their “experience” while demeaning his! In reality, their “experience” pales by comparison to the hundreds of fiscal and policy decisions Fred has made in and out of government. For openers, Fred Overton, as Town Clerk, for almost 14 years, has been in charge of an office that today generates over $1.2 million yearly, about 20 percent of the non-tax revenue collected by the Town. No other Town department single-handedly, directly collects that kind of revenue.

What is a Town Clerk? Briefly:

Fred must know the permits, fees and licenses required under the regulating provisions of our complicated Town Code. To this end, Fred initiated systems and policies of procedure, allowing his staff to serve the public in a more efficient, effective manner.

Fred processes all bills for payment directed to the Town, by reviewing them along with supporting data for correctness, prior to payment. When needed, he creates abstracts and draws warrants. Municipal bill paying comes within the parameters of State law, requiring Fred to be totally familiar with procurement rules and policy. He must also understand the operation of Town funds and accounts.

As custodian of the Town’s books, records and papers, the Town Clerk is mandated to attend Board meetings and keep complete records of the proceedings and all resolutions adopted – making Fred the curator of the Town’s history of governance.

Clearly, Fred knows the Code, relevant State law and the Town’s history!

After attending more than 800 Board meetings, Fred has heard all sides of every issue. It is not unusual during a meeting, for a sitting Board member to lean over and ask Fred for information on procedure or advice on policy matters. Fred’s opponents cannot match the incredible “institutional knowledge” he possesses.

Fred has used the experience gained from participating in the preparation of 14 Town budgets with 7 different administrations, and preparing 14 budgets for his department, to introduce management policies into the Clerk’s office resulting in dozens of initiatives.

Always committed to building a better, safer community, Fred became a charter member of the Springs Fire Department in 1965; later rising through the ranks to Chief. He’s a member of the Board of Fire Commissioners, Commander of American Legion Post 419 and past President of the Lions Club. During 48 years of public service, Fred spent 25 years as an elected official. No matter what the task, Fred serves with honesty, efficiency and dedication to the Town and to the people. In each of his elected positions, Trustee, Assessor and Town Clerk, he has always put people before politics.

Fortunately for us, Fred’s public service and volunteer experience, have given him a vast knowledge of government operations, working relationships with State, County and local officials, hands-on experience writing legislation and developing budgets, involvement in policymaking for organizations and government entities, and understanding of government employee contracts.

Fred’s credo, if elected, is to continue working to serve the residents of East Hampton with fairness, civility and the respect they deserve, regardless of party affiliation. Can there be any question that Fred Overton is the most qualified candidate running for Town Board and deserves your vote on November 5th?


Safe Sailing

Dear Jim,

We just finished reading the article on “Welcome to the 21st Anniversary” Congratulations to The Independent for an outstanding 21 years!

On behalf of the USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 18-02, Tisha and I would like to extend to you and your staff a big ‘THANK YOU’ for all your work in supporting our organization’s public events, boating safety courses and columns by our District Commander, Vincent Pica.

At the recent Sag Harbor Harborfest, a woman expressed her appreciation of The Independent’s running of these articles. We are sure there are several readers who have benefited from The Independent’s concern for safety on our waterways!

Wishing everyone at The Independent many more years of commendable service to our community! Semper Paratus!

Maria Bouboulis, FC

Tisha Bouboulis

USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 18-02

Fractious Town

Dear Editor,

To the jerks running over my election signs:

Thanks so much for the feedback. Since I started writing about the East Hampton Trustees and their activities, and became a candidate selected by the Democratic Party, though I am not registered with any party, I’ve had nothing but positive comments -- until I put up signs asking people to elect me on November 5, and to check my website, to find out more about me.

Since you’ve been taking the trouble to knock down and remove my signs, even from in front of property that I own, I’ve come to realize that it’s not just my friends who are paying attention, but also apparently supporter(s) of one or more of my 17 opponents. (* Solution below) How cool is that?

Now, instead of just continuing to think I was a lonely voice in the wilderness of our town’s fractious (sorry if you have to look that up) political scene, albeit one calling for neighborliness, cooperation and respect for each other in terms of the inviolate (another vocabulary word) right freely to access our beaches as we choose, protect the environment that makes us all “local by choice,” and bring the Trustees to the position of respect and authority they deserve by tradition and action, I realize that some of the less evolved of our community are taking notice, however negatively. I am happy to be making you nervous.

*9 Democrats +9 Republicans=18 candidates, take away 1, me, leaving 3 fingers or toes for most people, depending on where on your digits you started counting, so, 17.

Keep on trucking, really.


Missed Opportunities

To the Editor,

An argument made by the Throne-Holst administration is that the Supervisor can’t influence the Planning and Zoning Boards or the Highway Department. However the Supervisor appoints board members and does have some budgetary and zoning authority. The following management principles are applicable to any project.

In a follow-up letter regarding The Independent’s interview with incumbent Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor and himself, Dave Betts wrote that Mr. Gregor spent a large sum on a drainage project that doesn’t work. It’s important to note that the project’s flaws aren’t the fault of any vendor but rather the fault of unwise management decisions.

So Mr. Betts is correct when he argues that the Highway Superintendent must function as a manager to properly serve Highway Department staff, property owners, and taxpayers.

This function also falls to the Supervisor because where Mr. Gregor’s responsibility ends, Ms. Throne-Holst’s begins. For example, if Mr. Gregor planned to tear up private property without notice, which he did, Ms. Throne-Holst could have intervened to protect property owners. Yet she did not.

Mr. Betts also discussed the importance of financial management. Mr. Gregor allegedly paid for the project using a combination of cash and sand removed from the site “in lieu of cash.” This practice is fraught for many reasons: how did the project go out to bid; was the vendor fairly paid; should the Town be using assets to pay vendors? Ms. Throne-Holst prides herself on her budget expertise yet bartering for services is a dated concept that is difficult to audit.

Finally, an important consideration in any project is ongoing maintenance. A manager typically factors in the extent to which maintenance falls upon his staff. In more than one instance extra time-consuming activities were added to the Highway Department workload along with a questionable activity that should have concerned the Supervisor.

Mr. Gregor has from time to time involved private citizens in the maintenance of his projects. I have no idea how arrangements were made, nor whether any liability exists, but taxpayers should be uncomfortable with private citizens being asked to help the Highway Department.

In summary, Ms. Throne-Holst has an array of opportunities at her disposal to manage projects, opportunities that appear to have been missed.


Pet Precautions

Dear Editor,

A good scare on Halloween can be fun, but no one wants to be haunted because their beloved animal companion was sickened, injured, or even killed during the festivities. We can ensure that Halloween is a treat, not a trick, for our cats and dogs by taking a few simple precautions.

Many animals can’t resist sampling treats - wrappers and all, that contain toxic ingredients such as chocolate and xylitol. Keep all candies and other treats out of reach of animals, and do the same for candles and jack-o-lanterns, which can cause burns and fires if knocked over.

Dressing up isn’t always fun for animals, because costumes can impair their ability to see, move, and breathe—and some are simply just uncomfortable. Animals can also choke or strangle if they chew small parts from their costumes or become entangled. Leave dress-up to the kids and let animals be their naturally adorable selves.

Costumed visitors at the door can make even the friendliest animals skittish and prone to bolting or biting. Stay with your animals in a quiet room, away from the door, and ensure that they are microchipped and wearing collars with current ID tags, just in case.

For more ways to protect animals, visit



White House Thugs

To the Editor,

Are you outraged yet? Who are they calling extreme? Who are really the extremists? Those shutting down privately funded memorials and businesses; arresting citizens expressing their civil right to demonstrate peacefully; allowing the NSA and IRS to know all of our medical history (hint: “We may share information provided in your application with the appropriate authorities for law enforcement and audit activities.”)?

Yes, this current, overbearing administration is the name calling bully, the thug, forcing citizens to purchase government mandated insurance, they are the enemy of liberty. If we stand up against any policy, will they cut off our antibiotics, our medical care?

History validates it could happen under this type of domination. There is a culture of fear permeating from those who would love to silence dissent. It’s not anarchy to peacefully disagree with policies, we honor just laws.

This partial shutdown, just 17 percent, is broadcast as catastrophic, though most of us see no problem with the government cutting some fat; in fact, a LOT of fat, from their budgets. House Republicans present bill after bill, funding essential research, programs and budgets, but will not give in to the tax and spend Democrat controlled Senate.

Just this week they spent more than $47,000 for a mechanical bull! During the shutdown?! Is nothing beneath them, nothing too extravagant? The Obamacare website was to cost $93 million but three years later it cost $634 million and it still doesn’t work.

How can we continue to spend what we don’t have and must borrow? We must demand Congress reign in spending and borrowing. The nearly $17 trillion deficit is double what Obama came to office with, the very thing he decried while running for the office of president.

Each month, we pay $18 billion of interest on the debt, and we don’t even bring in enough to pay that and all the entitlements. Somehow, he feels stating “I won” to the Republicans entitles him to carte blanche through our pocketbooks.

There is too much power in the hands of government, just what the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Amendments tried to prevent. Unfortunately, it seems so few even know, let alone obey their pledge of office, based on those founding documents, and we are losing our country to another system we would never accept outright. If they had just proclaimed the planned “fundamental change” – oh yeah, the Obama’s did, and you were asleep. Maybe that is why his approval rating has fallen to 37 percent. Maybe that shows people are waking up.

Watch the citizens, not the politicians, if you want to see the power of liberty through the rule of law. We will not comply with thuggery from the White House.


Great Publicity

Dear Indy,

We thank you for the care you took in placing the ads for this years San Gennaro Feast. Special thanks for the great  publicity from The Independent, which all helped to make this year’s Feast the best yet.

Let’s look forward to next year.