Letters to the Editor: 10/20/16


Don’t Risk Students’ Health

To The Editor

It is a misnomer that a synthetic Turf Field requires little to no maintenance when in fact the maintenance is quite extensive. The following equipment will have to be purchased at significant cost to the District:

  • Drag brushes and drag rats and nets
  • A road sweeping brush for brushing the infill material into the turf system.
  • A high pressure cleaner (wet cleaning)
  • A sweeping  and suction machine.

The turf needs to be brushed at least once a week and watered frequently. Yes, “watered”. It may not be alive but it needs water to lubricate the surface and stabilize and reduce migration after heavy rain. On extremely hot days it will need to be watered more to keep the temperature down so children don’t burn themselves when falling on the turf. Fill will have to be replaced regularly as it washes away. Many infill products contain zinc, which is harmful to aquatic life.

Contamination of the product is also at issue. No food or beverage can be allowed on the field. Equally problematic is chewing gum, which sticks to the surface. All organic matter such as leaves, soil, seeds, etc. must be removed immediately otherwise algae, moss or weeds will grow. As you can see there is as much maintenance, if not more, to a synthetic turf field as a natural field.

In addition a synthetic field has a life span of 8 to 10 years and will need to be replaced entirely. Has the district considered what that will cost? A natural surface improves the environment by removing carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the air while producing large quantities of oxygen. Grass absorbs water and pollutants from the air and filters them through its blades and roots. Effectively cleaning the air and ground water. It also helps prevent erosion with its roots by acting as a binder for the soil.

The benefits of a natural surface is clear, to risk the health of the environment and the children is neither wise nor fiscally prudent.


Thomas Jones

Sag Harbor


No Tax Cut

To the Editor:

I must take issue with your presentation of the front page story, “A Tax Cut is Coming” on the front page of the 9/29 Express, regarding the Southampton Town budget for 2017.

In fact, a tax increase is coming, but you choose to report the opposite.

According to the Southampton town web site, property taxes are going up 6.1% in 2017, comparing the Tentative 2017 budget to the 2016 amended budget.

That is $1.3 million dollars more.  That is an INCREASE.  In terms of journalism, that is the headline.  That is what matters.

Your headline refers to the tax RATE.  The tax RATE on property is going down, but assessments are going up.  And so taxpayers will pay 6.1% more.  You can’t eat a cut in the tax rate, but a cut in taxes will put food on your table.

The important item is the total amount Southampton raises from citizens.  Referring to a “tax cut” is misleading.  Headlining the item as a “tax cut” is inaccurate.  Even Mr. Schneiderman’s budget statement called out the difference between total taxes and the tax RATE.

Taxes are up.  The tax rate is down.  If you want to spin for Mr. Schniederman, you can do so by writing a headline, “Tax Rate Declines”.  That would still be deceptive, because TAXES ARE GOING UP.  And they must, because employee salaries are increase 5% and benefits increasing 6%.

The Express has frequently confused total taxes and the tax RATE in the past.  I choose to believe it is due to a lack of knowledge and precision with language, rather than an intent to deceive, or shill for our politicians.

Sincerely Yours,

David Nelson

Sag Harbor


On the Passing of Klaus Kertess

To the Editor:

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Klaus Kertess. Klaus’s brilliant curatorial eye shaped a strong curatorial voice at the Parrish during the 1980s and 90s, when he served as the Robert Lehman curator (1983–1989) and continued as an adjunct curator and articulate advisor, ultimately serving on the architectural search committee that selected Herzog & de Meuron to design the new Parrish. Even a short list of the many exhibitions he organized for the Parrish gives a vivid picture of his wide-ranging tastes and distinctive approach:  Marin in Oil (1985), the first scholarly study of John Marin’s paintings; Painting Horizons: Jane Freilicher, Albert York, April Gornik (1989), a cross-generation look at landscape painting on the East End; and Alfonso Ossorio: Congregations, the first survey of this influential yet under-recognized artist’s radical  assemblage. Most importantly, Klaus was an eloquent champion and loyal friend of artists, who universally held him in high esteem. We mourn his loss but cherish his memory, knowing that his legacy will endure.

Terrie Sultan, Director

Alicia G. Longwell, Ph.D., The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Chief Curator

Parrish Art Museum


Encouraging Wellness

Dear Editor:

As we welcome a brand new school year and the renewal it brings, I wanted to tell Sag Harbor parents about a new village wide effort. It aims to reduce the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs by encouraging wellness through healthy lifestyle choices by our youth.

The newly-launched SAFE in Sag Harbor, which stands for “substance-abuse-free environment,” is the public face of the Sag Harbor Coalition, created four years ago to address a substantial drug and alcohol problem among Sag Harbor youth. There is no way to sugarcoat the numbers — teens in Sag Harbor are nearly twice as likely to abuse prescription drugs, alcohol and marijuana as their peers nationwide.

As representatives of every segment of the Sag Harbor community, we at SAFE want you to know we care and are promoting wellness and health by supporting fun activities for Sag Harbor youth throughout the school year. But the success we can realize will be limited without your help; to truly succeed, we need the full involvement of Sag Harbor parents, irrespective of whether you have kids in or nearing the prime risk years for alcohol and drug abuse. We need every bit of support we can get from as many parents as possible to ensure that all Sag Harbor kids meet their full potential.

We hope we can count on your support. We meet monthly to better understand the root causes of substance abuse in Sag Harbor and to develop lasting solutions. If you’re interested in joining the Coalition, participating in SAFE in Sag Harbor activities or if we can answer any questions for you about our upcoming events, please feel free to email us at coordinator@sagharborcoalition.org.

Thanks for your help in supporting Sag Harbor kids,

Michelle Wilks

Project Coordinator


Intelligent Conversation

An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton and Anna Throne Holst About Guns

Dear Madame Secretary Clinton and Anna whatever you think you are:

Let’s have “an intelligent conversation about guns.”

You speak about “gun violence” at every turn.

You and the President remind us about “a gun epidemic.”

Incidentally, that’s the gun epidemic that, according to statistics from the FBI, cut violent crime across this nation to one third of what it was under your husband‘s tenure.

It was the decline in gun violence after firearms laws were rapidly being liberalized and many states adopted “shall issue” pistol permits.

The only epidemic Madame Clinton, Anna Throne Holst, are people buying guns legally in fear of your ultimate goal of confiscating the very first human and civil right of self-defense. The other right the Second Amendment defends is the First, so I could write the truth about you here.

I’d bet neither of you know anything about guns, nor have ever picked one up.

Meanwhile, neither you nor the president have ever made an effort to confiscate the guns of thugs on the streets of Obama’s home town—or New York City, as your party regularly opposed frisk laws and supported Black Lives Matter, members of whom are shooting, in addition to each other, innocent law enforcement officers doing their job on the streets.

You talk about background checks, as if gun buyers in this nation can buy a gun without background checks. No Madames, they cannot! No dealer will sell a gun without permission via the FBI’s NICS “instant background check system.” In other words Madames, you are lying to the people with a phony issue to redirect from the real issues facing this nation. The economy for example. And foreign wars the two of you had supported.

Only the thugs you have supported buy guns without background checks.

When you speak about gun violence, you never speak about the gun violence killing the innocent voters in the communities who might back the two of you.

You see, legal gun owners are not shooting each other in the suburbs.

Your fans are, in the towns controlled by only Democrats.

You want to have “an intelligent conversation about guns?”

Well Madame secretary, I also want to have an intelligent conversation about guns, so let’s have one.

President at the time—Mass Shootings (Defined as 4 or more deaths)

Ronald Reagan (2 Terms)—11

George HW Bush (1 Term)—12

William J. Clinton (2 Terms)—23

George W. Bush (Jr) (2 Terms)—20

Barack Obama (1.75 Terms)—162


Andrew Benjamin

New York, NY 10017