Letters to the Editor: 7/2/20

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Another Option

The Express News Group rightly denounces Congressman Lee Zeldin for not wearing a mask at President Trump’s Tulsa rally [“Just A Face In The Crowd,” Editorial, June 25], writing: “It was a stellar opportunity to show courage and leadership in the midst of a public health crisis. Instead, Lee Zeldin was just another face in the crowd.”

A week before President Trump’s sparsely attended Tulsa rally, a Fox News poll found that, “by a 36-point margin, voters say presidential candidates holding large political events and rallies is a bad idea.”

In their vernacular, Fox News might say, “Some are saying that the Tulsa rally has the potential to be a super spreader.”

In the medical opinion of Dr. Megan Ranney, emergency room physician and associate professor of emergency medicine at Brown University, “If there were even a couple of cases in the arena last night, we’re most likely going to see a spread among folks that attended. And then they’re going to go back to their states and it’s going to spread further.”

Let’s imagine an alternate universe where Congressman Zeldin possesses the courage and leadership that the editorial finds he so sadly lacks. In that imaginary setting, Lee Zeldin is in Tulsa wearing a mask, and is belittled by President Trump for being weak.

Zeldin, with his spine stiffening, responds: “Mr. President, I represent people who took the coronavirus threat seriously. They adhered to public health guidelines advocating social distancing, staying at home, frequent hand washing and sanitizing — and, on top of that, they wore masks. The people in my district did the right thing.”

Ya coulda been a hero, Lee Zeldin, but you were just “another face in the crowd.”

Mike Anthony

Westhampton

Mr. Anthony is the former chairman of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee — Ed.

Amounts To A Ban

It is understandable that the Village of Sag Harbor is strictly enforcing its residents-only permit for Havens Beach and not issuing non-resident permits as one way to reduce the daytime beach population, and with it the risk of coronavirus transmission.

However, collateral damage are the people who for decades have used the rear park area to exercise their dogs, as well as themselves.

For the 38-plus years I’ve lived in Sag Harbor, more than half of those years have been in the village itself, the other years right outside — such as now, in Bay Point. Obviously, it was no problem to walk my dogs in the Havens park area when I had a village beach permit, but it was also no problem when I didn’t, because I was not about to park at or use the beach, plus I’d be gone in less than 30 minutes. Attendants simply waved me through, and that had been true of others, too.

Now, however, I am effectively banned from the Havens park area. “It’s because of COVID-19” was the blanket explanation given by the youngsters at the entry booth, who have been unfairly put in an awkward position.

This is a hardship for dog owners who are often older and who don’t want to risk the hazards of busy village streets and may not have any other options for the next two months. And it just doesn’t sit right that we are no longer welcome at a local park.

Again, I completely understand a desire to reduce the virus risk. But it seems like overreach to prohibit dog owners from spending 20 to 25 minutes in the relatively remote park area where we are not 6 feet but 100 feet apart.

There are also local people who are not specifically village residents who like to stroll through the park area, especially now, when beautiful yellow flowers are blooming on the cactus bushes. Let me emphasize that I am not calling the area a “dog park” but a park that traditionally has been open to both people and dogs. The village obviously understands this or it would not erect signs acknowledging it and provide dog-waste bags and a garbage can.

We do not wish to use any beach facilities — picnic tables, bathrooms or the beach itself. Is the “village taxes” distinction really fair?

On this issue, let’s not have COVID-19 divide the local population along village and the rest of 11963 lines. It is a very simple matter to instruct beach attendants to allow users of the rear park area for the 20 to 30 minutes they and their dogs are getting fresh air and exercise away from the summer crowds.

Tom Clavin

Noyac

Pierce The Bubble

My name is Zoe Diskin and I graduated from Pierson High School in 2015. My friend and former classmate Maya Buckner brought to light a shared feeling that many alumni have, and suggested we do something about it.

Many members of the Class of 2015 are asking the Sag Harbor School Board to listen to the following message:

With all of the upheaval in the country and throughout the world right now regarding racism and systemic oppression, we have found ourselves thinking back to our education and experience at Pierson Middle-High School and Sag Harbor Elementary School.

Growing up in an area with such privilege and very little diversity, we have found that we are woefully uneducated when it comes to topics of prejudice, privilege and systemic racism. It was not until we left the safety bubble and area of extreme privilege that is the East End of Long Island that we even began to understand the true power and significance of language used against the Black community, as well as the struggles that Black and Indigenous people of color experience every day.

We greatly enjoyed our experience at Pierson Middle-High School but, upon reflection, cannot think of one time when we ever read a book written by a Black author, discussed race, Black history, or even heard the terms “systemic racism” or “redlining.”

With this said, we are writing to ask that Pierson Middle-High School incorporate lessons about anti-racism, systemic oppression and Native American history into the school’s curriculum. These are not topics that can be covered in one or two assemblies but instead must be incorporated into the curriculum as a whole.

​It is never too early to begin discussing these topics with students, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel at times.

Zoe Diskin

Sag Harbor

The letter also was signed by Maya Buckner, Emily Morrissey, Meg Schiavoni, Audrey Owen, Olivia Caligiuri, Rebecca Dwoskin, Shane Hennessy, Molly Vorhaus, Micaley Nill, Annabel DeGroot, Jake Kushner, Shannon Keane, Theo Gray, John Chisholm, Rachael Miller, and Zoe Vatash — Ed.

A Big Thank You

To Austin J. McGuire, chief of police in Sag Harbor Village: I wanted to commend you and your Traffic Control Officers for the exemplary job they are doing in the village in these challenging times.

We recognize that keeping order in a normally chaotic summer season is challenging enough. Now these fine young men and women are having to keep order when people are under the additional stresses of a global pandemic and social unrest. And they have to do it while wearing a face mask!

I’ve been a fan of, and respected, TCOs since I was a young man and listened to stories my cousin would tell me about his TCO job in Westhampton Beach. It’s clearly a thankless job, and I wanted to take this time to send a big thank you to each one of them!

While I live in North Haven, I have been working in Sag Harbor Village as a real estate agent for 20-plus years. I get my fair share of parking summonses, and know that I deserve every one I get!

Stay safe out there and keep up the great work!

Michael Daly

Sag Harbor

He Has To Go

An Associated Press photo immortalized Lee Zeldin sitting without a mask at Trump’s Tulsa rally. This newspaper, on viewing it, dubbed him “just another face in the crowd” [“Just A Face In The Crowd,” Editorial, June 25].

The live feed of the event provides a larger perspective. Zoom out: There Zeldin is, not “socially distant” with safe politicos as he claimed, but smack in the middle of a back-slapping, whooping, hoo-hah cluster around Trump’s pitbull, Jim Jordan. Zeldin may be just another bare-face in the crowd, but the spittle-spewing, malevolent Jordan has been elevated to the face of the crowd.

The editorial muses on Zeldin’s lost opportunity to make a statement by wearing a mask (“[it] would have spoken volumes”) while side-stepping the “volumes” that his going unmasked clearly did speak: Loud and clear, it says that he is a loyal lap dog. And, as is well demonstrated, loyalty to his chosen moron-mentor Trump must be total.

So by his choice to join Trump, Pence and other flunkies in not wearing a mask, Zeldin signals his obsequious endorsement of Trump’s policies and actions, including but not limited to: Trump’s denial of the pandemic’s death toll and continuing rise, his weaponized stupidity, his nepotism, his lack of accountability, his destabilization of the political process, his dangerous lies, his pathological psyche, his destruction of the rule of law, his defecation on the Constitution, his racist rabble-rousing, his appointment of the ill-fit to sensitive public office, his emptying of the diplomatic corps, his willingness to sell out the country, his humiliation of the country across the globe, his demeaning of the intelligence community and armed forces, his criminal use of military force to attack peaceful protesters, and, most of all, his fealty to Putin, etc., etc., and so forth.

So, no: it is never about a “personal choice” (based on a First Amendment right?) for a politico to wear a mask or not at this moment in time and in defiance of the public welfare for political allegiance. And pie-in-the-sky hopes that Zeldin would seize the opportunity to oppose Trump and miss that moment of being greeted from the stage are daft. He could just as soon have come out as a Democrat then and there.

Instead, his unmasked face places him squarely in the circle of the cynical, debased Republican camp followers seeking favor or a nod from a blubbering mountebank — or, at best, not banishment nor a nickname.

Too bad, Zeldin seems like a nice guy, but that can’t mask his political choices, and he can’t be separated from his political choices. Like his mentor, he has to go for the good of all.

Frances Genovese

Southampton

Missed Opportunity

I have been following with great interest over the years the succession of plans for the former United Methodist Church on Madison Street in Sag Harbor. Finally, the current owners seem to have come up with a creative and innovative use for the building. The reconstruction of the building is even proceeding at a pace that appears to have a good chance of reaching fruition.

Therefore, I was quite shocked to pass by recently and see all the newly planted sod. Evidently, the owners did not get the recent email from the Suffolk County Water Authority regarding saving water, much less the memo about global warming.

Where are the creativity and innovation when it comes to landscaping? This would have been a perfect opportunity to practice xeriscaping.

Glenn Stancroff

Sag Harbor

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