Just Say No
I couldn’t believe what I was reading in your paper about the Noyac Civic Council’s meeting regarding the proposal for a SUV to transport out-of-district students (Sagaponack) because the Sagaponack school district board requested it so their students could be picked up at their door because of long driveways? How did the Sag Harbor School board even entertain this idea? It also sounds like they want to sneak it in the “transportation” budget so if you vote yes to replace the older school bus, the SUV gets approved as well.
The answer School Superintendent Graves gave was Sagaponack students bring in good revenue, so why not cater to them. Here’s a thought, why don’t Sagaponack students just attend Bridgehampton School? If those parents can pay out of district tuition, they can pay for their own car. I can’t believe this is even legal. I wouldn’t care if there was no increase in the budget, I still wouldn’t vote for this ridiculous request.
Why Is the Express Anointing Perry Gershon?
I was saddened to read the latest story, “Gershon Set for Rematch with Zeldin in 2020” by such a well-respected media publication. In particular, because the story was written by the editor and co-publisher.
Maybe it was a mistake? An error? I hope so.
Initially it reads as a front page, below the fold advertisement for Gershon.
Last time I checked – even though we have a totalitarian in the White House – America is still a Democracy.
And in our Great Democracy we still hold primary elections. And it’s quite saddening that in Sag Harbor (arguably the greatest town in America) we have a media outlet that is anointing a candidate in the Democratic primary.
As the story reads: “Perry Gershon announced Saturday that he will seek the Democratic Party nomination to run for Congress in 2020, setting up a rematch between the East Hampton resident and Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin…”
Gershon announcing does nothing of the sort.
If, and only if he makes it through a primary election he will face the Republican nominee (if and only if Zeldin too makes it through the primary.) Granted Zeldin will likely be the nominee as an incumbent. But why discourage a plethora of good candidates who are seeking the Democratic nomination to Congress.
Having worked with and for the 44th President of the United States for three years I can tell you that Gershon is obviously a flawed candidate (why he lost the first time.) The last thing America needs is another elitist multi-millionaire representing a multicultural Democratic party that is the champion for the working class and diversity.
The district is gerrymandered for a Republican to win anyway – and the only chance the Democratic party has is nominating a candidate who can engage both the Hispanic community, the working class and the younger generation.
A vote for Gershon is essentially a vote for Zeldin and Trump.
To the Editor:
At the Clean Water Panel hosted by The Express on Friday, I suggested that all the waters inside the Sag Harbor bridge be converted to a marine reserve. My interpretation from the esteemed panel’s response was that the subject of marine sanctuaries in our shared tidal reach is a hot potato and a third rail politically. I said it out loud anyway. I said it as a ‘citizen scientist’, (which does not mean I’m a scientist), but by way of my unique qualifications I’m at least a stakeholder. I ran into regulatory risk with the DEC as I hosted a zero harvest oyster rearing program in the largest red zone for five years with local permissions (which included a $1 million liability policy). I believe we did well with this but I did not have New York State Department of Environmental Conservation permits, so the farm closed. I just never asked them for a permit. I negotiated the safe release of the 3,500 3-4″ adult oysters, and while there’s five times more to the story, it’s all underwater now. I’ve seen water quickly clear up around our cages and reefs, enough for shrimp, fish and crabs to quickly come back. These were tidal waters, surrounded by marinas, under the shadow of the sewage treatment plant, and our oysters thrived. Nobody ever took any of our oysters, and as far as I know they’re still filtering and reproducing in various inside waters.
As a local real estate broker I’ve been walking on private and public waterfront, docks, bulkheads for more than 30 years, for 20 years before that I’ve been on the water fishing, clamming, swimming and taking photos. Local baymen have harvested a variety of clams, scallops, oysters and a shrinking species list of finfish successfully for at least the same 50 years on the water. These baymen would have valuable input as stakeholders, and certainly more valuable than my own thoughts on the subject, but we both draw a living from the water as long as it is clean. I think we can all agree that outdated and inefficient sanitary systems, ramped up development, excessive use of pesticides, fertilizers, irrigation, combined with some fishing practices, have degraded the water quality around us, and underneath us. All our water is connected. If I’m right, (I’m right), that brings everyone else in as stakeholders: kids, families, business owners, investors, developers and everyone in government. Reasonably, everyone can agree that clean water is the very basis for our entire economy and our quality of life.
I imagine the simplest of scenarios where local baymen stop harvesting for a stretch, and the Community Preservation Fund can be used to pay them to work the waters. The best analogy I can think of is that farmers rotate their crops, and occasionally plant fields and plow under the benefit crop to balance the soils for future harvests. A clean tidal reach is a benefit to all, and a balance worth working for. “Bayscaping” isn’t a new term. In part, it could mean replicating historic oyster reefs, generating eel grass meadows, mussel beds, rippled bay floors, and other initiatives determined and right-sized by regulators, marine biologists, scientists and fishermen alike. There is enough data to know where the hotspots are, and enough people know that the red uncertified entrance is the perfect region to convert to green reserve, as it is the tidal gateway. I’d structure the pay for this rebuilding out of the CPF, determined by baymen’s recent gross for loss of shellfish harvest income. All the stakeholders reap the benefits, and the baymen can be paid well to skip a few seasons. To strengthen the ecosystems ability to rebuild and battle color tides, encourage homeowners and businesses to limit or eliminate pesticide and fertilizer use, require irrigation systems to be regulated to have timers with targets and rain sensors, suggest native plantings which simply need less. I believe the benefits will be very gratifying and in short order, we will all see new colors on the inside waters really fast. Given some time, squaring off pockets of permanent reserves or sanctuaries, and restricting some fishing practices like using outboards for razor clams, draggers, and the use of scallop drails that mow the bay bottoms into deserts.
Conceptually, rotating crops in the bay to harvest cleaner water for everyone is not so crazy. However, the regulatory process includes the approval if not the endorsement of our Southampton and Sag Harbor Trustees, The Harbor Committee, Southampton Town Conservation Board, The NYS DEC, The Suffolk County Dept. of Health, The Community Preservation Fund, Suffolk County Supervisor’s Office and NYS Governor offices, probably The Army Corps of Engineers, Fisheries at NMFS, NOAA, and I have it in writing that we also need the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA. Everyone has to not say no. That does seem crazy.
I am challenging Jay Schneiderman on the Independence Party line because I can do a better job of running our Southampton Town. As a public servant who has consistently stood up for the interests of my constituents, I’m throwing my hat in the ring so that the voters can have a real choice. My record as highway superintendent speaks for itself: for the past ten years, I’ve fought tooth and nail for resources in the face of cynicism and complacency. I’ve maintained our roads on an austerity budget as the private jets fly over, and begged for money to fill potholes in Hampton Bays as the Ferraris roar by to Bridgehampton. Meanwhile, over and over, our current supervisor has demonstrated that, whether it’s giving away a town road to the Shinnecock Golf Course, or, in the case of Rose Hill Road, ceding a town park to a private entity, he’ll side with the wealthy and connected over the regular folk who put him in office.
Governing isn’t about prancing for photo ops at construction sites in a brand-new hard hat, or making backroom deals, or putting politics over principle, or sucking up to the rich. The rich don’t need any more favors. They’ve turned our town into their private playground, pricing working people out of their homes, raising the taxes that they themselves don’t pay, trying to restrict access to beaches so that they alone can enjoy them, and when the season’s over, clearing out and leaving our local businesses to struggle through the winter. I’ve lived here all my life, and in that time, I’ve seen our town change from a middle-class community to a resort for the one percent and their flunkies, among whom Jay, ever alert for the next opportunity, figures prominently.
Real life isn’t a reality show, or a party in Sagaponack that cost more than what I make in a year. It’s hard and unrelenting, and more and more, it’s not fair. I’m running to restore the balance. I’ll work for you, not the few.
Government Shouldn’t Be in Real Estate Business
To the Editor,
On Tuesday, April 9, 2019, Supervisor [Jay] Schneiderman and his three Democratic cohorts spent $1.06 million to purchase the Bel-Aire Cove motel in Hampton Bays. Despite numerous warnings from the Suffolk County Planning Department and the Southampton Town Planning Board regarding the overdevelopment of this small parcel, the supervisor seemed pleased with his “out-of-the-box” approach. Several Hampton Bays residents addressed the town board with their detailed concerns, but even their fellow Hampton Bays resident, Councilwoman Julie Lofstad, appeared to take her marching orders from the supervisor.
If the supervisor wants to roll the dice, perhaps he and his Democratic board should play Monopoly, rather than secure a loan of $1.2 million from the town’s general fund. Motels seem to be a favorite of the supervisor, but Hampton Bays is not Montauk. If and when 12 condos or a 22-room hotel are built, in place of a small park, the supervisor has forced all our taxpayers into the real estate business. In my opinion, this is poor public policy, and it was done using the Urban Renewal law, a strange label for a Hampton Bays project. Real estate development belongs to the private sector. Our town should focus on enforcement of our existing laws, before a place becomes a blighted eyesore in our midst. Once again, Supervisor Schneiderman has found another way to throw money at a problem.
Republican candidate for
Southampton Town Supervisor