Letters in the East Hampton Star of July 9th, 2020
July 5, 2020
I have been in and out of politics and government, at every level, for over 40 years. As for political ads, I am not easily shocked. But I was both shocked and saddened to see the full-page ad posted by the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott. On the Fourth of July weekend, the message appropriated the style and structure of the Declaration of Independence and used it to launch a vicious personal attack on Peter Van Scoyoc, East Hampton’s thoughtful and soft-spoken town supervisor.
The allegations, intended to make the case for the creation of a new village government for Wainscott, were numerous, and either totally false or grossly misrepresented the facts. At this perilous time for our nation when we should all be seeking ways to unite our communities, it is disappointing to see good people of Wainscott manipulated by a handful of super-rich summer residents in order to stop an underground utility cable that would deliver clean, renewable energy to 70,000 South Fork homes and businesses, benefiting us all. And they have added to their list of grievances their opposition to a modest affordable work force housing opportunity that would be located on Route 114 (closer to my home in Northwest Woods than to the mansions on Beach Lane).
Their latest goal is the incorporation of Wainscott as a village with boundaries that run all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the south side of Route 114, and from Division Street in Sag Harbor to Stephen Hand’s Path in East Hampton. Taxes would be increased dramatically on the homes and businesses within these boundaries to pay for the services and administration of a new village.
This small group of self-interested, part-time residents has created a fearsome false narrative on the perils of the South Fork Wind project, and are asking hundreds of Wainscott residents to foot the bill for the Nimby protection of their exclusive enclave. I hope the good people of East Hampton will not be taken in by this shameful campaign.
Former East Hampton
July 6, 2020
Wainscott will be forever changed not by the installation of an underground electric cable to deliver much-needed renewable or by a much-needed mall affordable housing development of new neighbors. It will be forever changed by residents who have decided to sever connections to the community of East Hampton. They want no part in solutions to the needs of the community or responsibility for their contributions to the problems of our town.
However, the deepest tradition of the hamlet of Wainscott is of neighbor helping neighbor, no matter in what part of town help was needed. When the townspeople were beset by a natural or man-made disaster, they did their part to help those in need. They pitched in with all they could. That is the tradition of Wainscott.
Now these town traditions are threatened by an attack-marketing campaign touting creating another layer of government to be controlled by the few. Yes, an incorporated village will be controlled by the few. They say the government positions will be nonsalaried. Ask yourself this question. Who can afford a job with no salary, no benefits, no retirement plan? Do you have the money it takes to campaign against their choices in future village elections? The teams of lawyers and national marketing agencies and engineers that they can afford cost more than yearly salaries for some. Will you forgo your equal representation in town government? Petition: “Signer Beware.”
This campaign began last year with personal attacks on a neighbor whose reputation in this town has been built upon a lifetime of community service and a town leader who has been appointed and elected to your own government for decades. Peter Van Scoyoc is a town leader who refuses to put the power of a few over the needs of the many in his job as supervisor. We have known that for decades. Peter and his family are a part of the fabric of this community, whether you agree with his politics or not. Try as hard as money will buy, they could not redefine Peter, and he won Wainscott by an overwhelming majority in 2019.
The group who have appropriated the name of preservers of what is Wainscott will be the ones who forever change the fundamental core of this entire town. We work together for the good of the many, and not the power of a few.
Good people of Wainscott: It is you who now must preserve the traditions of your community and our town by rejecting the false product you are now being sold.
At It Again
July 6, 2020
Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, or C.P.W., is at it again. Don’t let these wealthy self-centered people fool you into doing something that will not benefit you.
In the beginning, C.P.W. was all in favor of the South Fork Wind Farm but now it is not. Initially, C.P.W. did not want a cable buried under Beach Lane on its way north to the L.I.R.R. right of way. C.P.W. raised big funds from the wealthy few involved and hired teams of lawyers, engineers, P.R. firms, etc. C.P.W. waged battle on the Article Seven front with the various New York State agencies, such as the Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Public Service, Department of Transportation, and Department of State. C.P.W. fought against the East Hampton Town Board, East Hampton Town Trustees, and a variety of other organizations that wanted the best decision for the 70,000 residents who would benefit from the South Fork Wind Farm.
Apparently, C.P.W. sees the handwriting on the wall that few of the 70,000 beneficiaries are on its side. So, C.P.W. upped the ante, and now says that renewable energy is not good, and even if it is, it should be brought in from UpIsland. C.P.W. knows that this would be very expensive since the current infrastructure would need to be replaced to carry the increased load. C.P.W., seeing failure looming, has now hired another law firm to lead the charge to incorporate Wainscott as a village.
C.P.W. makes numerous false allegations against East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc that exist only in the minds of C.P.W. Peter Van Scoyoc has treated this whole process as a fair and thoughtful arbiter of the many issues and concerns around the South Fork Wind Farm. He has been very patient in listening to all sides and giving all sides an opportunity to be heard. Peter Van Scoyoc represents all the residents of East Hampton Town, and C.P.W. is right about one thing: only a small number live in Wainscott. The South Fork Wind Farm will benefit every resident of East Hampton Town, not only with adequate electric power but with cleaner air and water, not to mention bluer skies.
C.P.W. then attacks Peter Van Scoyoc for selling Wainscott’s legacy by burying an electric cable under its roads. I am not sure what legacy they are talking about, but I note there was no complaint or reference to legacy when Peter Van Scoyoc and the East Hampton Town Board provided Suffolk County water to many Wainscott residents. Please note, these water pipes were buried under Wainscott’s roads.
C.P.W. then complains that Peter Van Scoyoc hasn’t reduced the noise sufficiently at East Hampton Airport. C.P.W. knows full well that the airport situation is now controlled by the Federal Aviation Administration, and not by the East Hampton Town Board.
C.P.W. and its wealthy sponsors, who, by the way, are involved in New York City with organizations to help minorities and the disadvantaged, are alleging that Peter Van Scoyoc has failed to control multifamily housing by proposing to build affordable housing on Route 114. The one thing East Hampton needs is affordable housing for its many workers.
C.P.W. is stretching to find any reason to justify incorporating Wainscott. Incorporation will cause taxes to go up in Wainscott and will not give any leverage to Wainscott in the airport noise discussion.
C.P.W. claims its new Wainscott village board will serve without compensation: You get what you pay for.
Wainscott will need to reimburse East Hampton for the millions it spent on the water pipes, and it will need to contract for police, fire, schools, highway maintenance, and all the other village services now provided by the Town of East Hampton.
The South Fork Wind Farm will eliminate the fossil fuel-fired “peaker plants,” which are used in the summer months to meet the increased demand for electricity. These “peaker plants” may get more use now that the pandemic has caused an increase in East Hampton’s population that may not go down in September. These “peaker plants” foul the air and water with CO2, causing air and water pollution to the detriment of humans and fish.
Don’t let these wealthy, self-centered people fool you into doing something that will not benefit you.
JEREMIAH T. MULLIGAN