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Follow-up Letter to East Hampton Town Board

July 20, 2011

Dear Mr. Wilkinson and Town Board Members:

Approximately 10 days ago I sent an email to several of you, including Mr. Wilkinson, Ms. Quigley, and Mr. Brundidge with a host of pertinent questions regarding the ongoing helicopter debacle at our airport. The only response I received was from Ms. Quigley (thank you). She admitted that she knew none of the answers, however–and did not volunteer to research any, either. Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Brundidge simply ignored my email. I would respectfully remind you that I am a longtime resident taxpayer in East Hampton, thus I pay a portion of your salaries. I believe that any public servant is obligated to respond to any honest inquiry regarding affairs under that person’s supervision. As a teacher at Southampton High School, and thus a public servant myself, I would never simply ignore a reasonable query from a parent or other taxpayer. It would be entirely unprofessional.

Upon visiting the Town of East Hampton website one finds a plethora of references to environmental care and quality of life, with scads of committees established to maintain East Hampton’s natural beauty, livability, and charm. And our elected leaders are unanimous in your purported desire to do all that you can to keep our town so wonderful. Yet on that same website, there are also all manner of references to airport noise problems, going back many years. (I note: Is it a bit odd that many items related to airport noise, including the “Airport Forms” button, are inaccessible for some reason?)  Thus, with all the public relations hoopla regarding preservation of our “quality of life,” airport noise volume and frequency escalates exponentially. For some reason, helicopters blasting over residents’ rooftops at all hours of the day and night are not considered environmentally damaging. As referenced in my first email, EH Town officials apparently care more for wild turkeys than for our residents. What gives?

I am only asking one question in this email, so perhaps you could give me an actual response this time. Why are you, our public servants, allowing helicopters to destroy the emotional, physical, and economic (yes, helicopters screaming overhead dramatically reduce property values) quality of the lives of the year-round residents of East Hampton, and beyond?

I await an answer to this perfectly fair question–one that is being asked by hundreds, if not thousands, of local residents, and one that has been left unanswered for years, as you allow  (encourage?) these horrid helicopters to proliferate, while our once-lovely summer outdoor time disappears forever.

Barry Raebeck, Ph.D.

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