Letters August 28


A Nourishing Place


To the Editor,

So sad to read that there doesn’t seem to be a buyer for the Sag Harbor cinema. Sag Harbor is the first place I take my house guests, not only to brag about how the town has resisted expansion and commercialization, but also to praise the arts cinema and its uniqueness in a small country town. Might there be such a thing as a bond issue to preserve this theater that so many of us love.

Losing a cinema for the town would be tragic, but keeping it and turning it into a multiplex that features only popular commercial fare would be equally sad…

I add my voice to those reaching out for support from perhaps members of the entertainment industry.

There need to be places where cinema art is held dear and where the influence of art films can make a difference in many lives. Sag Harbor is home to a large arts community, and it is also a town that draws visitors who work in the arts and are drawn to this experience. It is also a destination for many who work in other fields, but whose hearts are nourished by arts films.


Elinor Felcher



Unfair Hiring Practice


Dear Bryan,

For those of you who don’t know, the August 14 editorial in The Express was pertaining to me. My name is Cheryl McMahon and for the past five years I have worked as the front door security monitor at the elementary school. As a fourth generation native of Sag Harbor I felt like I really knew everyone who walked into that building. More importantly, I knew all of your children. In fact, when people would ask me how many kids I had, I would tell them that I had one of my own and 410 adopted children. That school became such a family to me, but unfortunately after five years I was still making under $13 an hour with NO benefits. Last September when monitors were up for their raises, we were told that the Board had tabled them for the time being. One of their reasons was because one of our monitors who worked at the high school for 20 YEARS was making $20 an hour, and they needed to look into that. Well, she should make that after 20 years of service. I just couldn’t afford to continue working for so little. In the beginning of June, I wrote a letter to the principal and vice principal explaining my position. Nothing was ever said to me by them. I also wrote to Kathryn Holden who did call me and tell me how sorry she was to see me leave and that she understood why I was, and thought it as unfair as I did. I now find out that the person who is replacing me (which by the way is already getting a pension from the school district as a retired employee) is starting out at $20 an hour. How can that be? I was never asked to take any kind of security course, which I would have been happy to take. With the cost of living and my years of service, I really feel that the Board should have put a lot more thought into this.


Cheryl L. McMahon

Sag Harbor

P.S. I really like the person who is taking over at my desk. In fact, I would even call him a friend. This is strictly to do with the administration and has nothing to do with him. I’m happy for you Mike.


An Axe To Grind


Dear Bryan,

My opinion-while my hearing is failing, my eyes still see clearly how unfair your paper and an ARB board member is trying to make Mr. Paris Fields of Sag Harbor uncomfortable as per your one-sided accounting of his recent review.

I have known Paris’s family most of my life and when Mr. Fields returned to the Hamptons, we rejoiced that we would get to experience him as a grown adult and we would get to see still in our lifetime, here, what preservation work he would contribute to the community. He comes from a long line of Kottler benefactors, and I am proud to say that his grandmother, Sandra, and I had been good friends since we met in Europe while touring in the 1930’s, both of us freshly married.

As I have read through your various articles, Mr. Tortora (whom I do not know) is a local developer, he has a history of building pre-fabricated houses and then he gussies them up. He also in the past has been successful in re-dividing up parcels in the Village, not such a good faith practice.

It seems obvious to me that the Fields’ house is the one that got away from him. It had three original parcels now combined, although he did buy the small Fields’ house on Glover Street, which he enlarged and put in a pool. Such a tiny parcel, even so.

So if trying to rub Mr. Fields’ nose in the dirt about cutting down a weed tree, which was diseased, and which was dangerous- is still a Tortura concern, then please let him sit on a Tree Board, rather than an Architectural Review Board. Or better, to put a tree where his mouth is. Mr. Fields has planted six trees along the streets of Sag Harbor, three in loving memory to his deceased parents- as everything has a life span, so even does a tree. And so, let the axe fall.

Thank you,

Sara Schermerhorn Peele



Bogus Environmental Claims


Dear Editor,

Could you please have your reporters check their facts before they regurgitate in print the propaganda of the special interest groups. Your reporter, Catherine McNamara, takes the party line of the Sag Harbor CAC in reference to the Reid Brothers property as “The Gospel” (according to Priscilla Ciccariello).

What industrial nightmare could the CAC be possibly thinking of? To them a car wash is probably the answer. For 98% of our population a needed convenience creating a cleaner environment and less traffic.

What is the much ballyhooed environmentally sensitive area so sacred to the special interest groups? Ligonee Creek has not been a year round running creek in over 30 years. It has been a dry ditch 95% of the time. I didn’t know that alewives bred on dry land.

We had more than three inches of rain last week so I called your paper to have your reporter come and explain to me how come a dry creek bed could be an environmentally sensitive waterway or refresh my knowledge of the breeding habits of alewives and other aquatic endangered local species.

Someone must stop the spreading of antidevelopment poison by the Ciccariellos of our area in the name of the environment or workforce housing or the spotted (mail-order fish bait from Texas) salamander. Why is it that the only publicized viewpoints are those of the antidevelopment special interests. Your paper could investigate these bogus claims — isn’t that what journalism is about?

The special interest groups are those who already have all they want and the rest of us be damned. They let government expropriate by regulating property without compensation.

Robert Reid

Reid Family

Sag Harbor


Dangerous Conversations


Dear Bryan,

Yesterday was Monday. On my way home from work I saw, through the bus window, a young woman in dark sunglasses and a silver Volkswagen bug yakking into her cell phone as she exited Mashashimuet Park. Later that day a bespectacled, middle-aged woman in a van only just stopped at the last second for my son who was ahead of me in the crosswalk at T.J. Maxx in Bridgehampton. She too was busily chatting into her right hand. This morning, at a little after 9:00 a.m., as I crossed Ocean Road in Bridgehampton, I watched a white Blazer with the Southampton Town seal on its doors and “OFFICIAL USE ONLY” written underneath pull up to wait at the light. You guessed it, another right-hander locked in conversation. No doubt this man’s conversation was “official”. Shame on you all. Traffic conditions are dangerous enough without this distraction.

If you live and walk in the villages out here you see many cell phone abusers – and many near misses – daily. I know of five people who have been struck by cars in Sag Harbor. Frankly, at this rate, we are overdue for a fatality. Of course I’m most upset with the chronic abusers, but if you’re thinking about picking up that phone even once while you’re driving, please don’t. University of Utah psychologists have published a study showing that motorists who talk on handheld or hands-free cellular phones are as impaired as drunken drivers. The many accidents caused by cell phones are completely preventable.

I applaud Sag Harbor’s enhancement of crosswalks and sidewalk repairs. I hope that the village and town can isolate the funding to do a lot more. I would welcome increased enforcement. It would be great to have an additional officer in the village whose only job was to issue citations to cell phone drivers. His (or her) salary could be paid by offenders whose penalties double and triple with repeated offenses. I would bake cookies for that cop and take him an umbrella when it rained.

But the simpler answer lies with the individual. If you’re using a cell phone and you plow into a tree and kill yourself I really would not care. I do care about your passengers and the world outside of your four doors. Don’t you? Stop and think. TURN OFF THE RINGER when you get behind the wheel. If you know you can’t control yourself, also know that most vehicles now have a special compartment called a “trunk” – TOSS IT in there.

Studies show that when we talk on a phone our minds picture the person we are speaking with – not the reality of the road. The high cost of gas has had a positive impact on highway fatalities – they are way down as a result of drivers cutting back on their driving. Imagine cell phone minutes are up to $4 each. When was the last time you had a cell phone conversation worth $4 a minute?

For the love of my child, for the love of your child, for the community at large, HANG UP AND DRIVE.

Stacy Dermont

Sag Harbor


Beach Warning


Dear Mr. Boyhan:

Please print this letter to Mayor Greg Ferraris.

Dear Mayor Ferraris,

My family has been part time residents in Sag Harbor for 35 years. On August 21st, my daughters and I took five children to Havens Beach. The sign said “swimming prohibited – no lifeguard on duty.” This presented no problem, the children are young, we three adults would watch them, and as we all know, one can walk a great distance at Havens without any depth. I reasoned the lifeguard situation came about because of a lack of funds or help, with the college students returning to school. The beach was populated with young families enjoying the water. At one point, a large dog became a problem, no owner in sight, the police were called. The patrol car responded promptly and we had a pleasant conversation with the officer as he loaded the dog into his car. We saw the officer drive by twice more during the day.

The following day, I read Dan’s Papers regarding possible contamination.

I am outraged that not a word was mentioned by the police to warn us. I would never have subjected any child to such risk, and as it happens two of the children with us are medically fragile and as such have greater potential for problems.

How dare you place people at risk because of greed or ineptitude of village officials.

Claire Kirkwood

Sag Harbor