Tower Not Controlling Noise
It is no surprise to those of us who have maintained that an airport control tower would not abate aircraft noise, that the now functioning control tower does not abate aircraft noise.
Town board member Dom Stanzione, the airport manager, and the control tower manager now say the purpose of the control tower is to promote safety and efficiency NOT noise abatement. Also, it seems the control tower will have no influence over the routes the pilots choose or the altitudes they fly.
So where does that leave us?
Obviously the first thing to be done is for East Hampton to not take any FAA funding and retake control of the airport. The current obligation to the FAA expires in 2014 and provides a rare opportunity for East Hampton to do just that.
The over commercialization of the airport as everyone knows only benefits a few while disrupting the well-being of thousands of the greater population well beyond the East Hampton area.
I’m compelled to think there is a bit of arrogance on the part of the aviation community. Because they have a passion to fly doesn’t make them sacrosanct. I have a passion to play music but I’m not allowed to rehearse my band or even play publically in any way that disturbs others.
There really is no difference. Why in the world should pilots be exempt from the norms of governance to which all others must abide. Why is it that the authorities go out of their way to insist that pilots can continue to negatively impact the east end. Where is the moral imperative?
It is time for East Hampton to forego FAA money, regain control of the airport and then lets all come together and manage the airport in a fair and just way.
“I’ll Buy A Vote For $1.50”
With the sudden resignation of Walter Wilcoxen from the debilitated Sag Harbor Board of Education, the citizens of Sag Harbor now have the opportunity and the responsibility to vote for a new board member to replace him. Unfortunately, the Board of Education seeks to abrogate our right to choose our own representative by peremptorily declaring their intention to appoint Wilcoxen’s successor at their next meeting on August 13. This is an unacceptable power-grab.
Perhaps the majority of the board does not realize how dearly Americans hold their hard-won right to vote. It is the linchpin of democracy. It is perhaps the most sacred and indefeasible right that any American has. Why is the Board of Education trying to take it away from us?
The clearest answer I have received is that the majority of the board does not wish to spend the sum of $7,600 in order to conduct the special election. They consider this to be too costly on our behalf. Yes, for a mere $7,600 — about $1.50 per registered, tax-paying Sag Harbor voter — they think we can be bought off.
I fully understand that boards must reserve the right to make appointments. But the spirit of that reserved right demands that they do so only on an emergency basis. Perhaps a power-grab would be justified if there were a large-scale wildfire raging in Sag Harbor, such that the voters could not get to the polls within the 90-day time frame required for a special election. The board could reasonably argue that public safety concerns prevented them from holding an election. OK. Or perhaps a board in a bankrupt district could reasonably argue that they indeed could not afford the $7,600. OK again.
But Sag Harbor is not a bankrupt district engulfed in wildfires. We have a rainy-day fund balance of over $1,000,000. Surely we can spend $7,600 of that in order to preserve democracy.
The fact that this dysfunctional board (or a majority thereof) failed to retain the district’s business administrator, superintendent of schools, and a long-serving board member all within the last 10 weeks should only add to the voters’ ire. This group is not presently equipped to accomplish anything, let alone unilaterally appoint a new board member.
I know that some members of the board are likely to argue back on several fronts. One is that they are only seeking to innocently appoint an interim member pending the annual budget/board vote in May, when the appointee would have to stand for an actual election. We should not accept this line of thought. The power of incumbency is such that up to 90% of sitting officials are voted back in. The board therefore should not be scheming to hand-pick their own ready-made incumbent. That is our job.
The board might also be tempted to argue that the runner-up candidate in last year’s board election, Tom Gleeson, should be appointed because he got the next-highest number of votes (he came in last place). We should condemn this position, too. Mr. Gleeson was rejected by the voters, and the voters’ expressed wish should prevail. Mr. Gleeson can easily run again if he so chooses.
The board has received multiple letters of interest from candidates seeking to fill the empty position – some of whom might have run last year had they not supported Wilcoxen’s candidacy. These candidates — whose interest is deeply appreciated – should be filling out the required election petitions. The board needs to set an election date now so that they may do so.
As for the voters, we should all save some change and send in $1.50 each to the Board of Education in order to assuage the concerns about money. My right to vote is worth as much as last year’s cup of coffee. Yours is, too.