Firsthand Knowledge – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, July 15, 2013

Dear David,

In last week’s East Hampton Star, Joanne Pilgrim wrote an informative article on the East Hampton Airport manager, Mr. Jim Brundige’s, report to the East Hampton Town Board this past Tuesday, July 9. In that report he stated only one aircraft operation was reported early Monday morning before 7 a.m. on July 8.

Coincidentally I wrote a letter to the editor published in the same issue of The Star citing data from a log I kept on aircraft operations that very same Monday morning on July 8. I reported 10 aircraft operations before 7 a.m. In fact, when you read my letter you will get a completely different picture of the oppression brought upon residents of East Hampton and Southampton by dirty, noisy helicopters and other aircraft operations at the airport than what was reported by Mr. Brundige.

Did Mr. Brundige lie to the town board? I don’t think he is lying. I believe he simply wasn’t present at East Hampton Airport and he has no firsthand knowledge of what was going on. I am sure he was just reciting data received by the machines, systems installed at East Hampton Airport to track aircraft operations. I am sure it is safe to say no employee of the town was present before 7 a.m. I assure you I was present in my home, and each aircraft operation I logged is a real event.

Last week on July 12 I wrote a letter to the East Hampton Town Board giving notice to this anomaly. Since I received no response to the letter, I am assuming it is true that the machines utterly failed. If it is true, then the data collection system tracking operations at the airport, that town taxpayers paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to install, is grossly flawed. Then no data originating from the airport can be trusted or used in any manner whatsoever. Then all installed systems at the airport are a total waste of money and someone needs to be held accountable. Then the town is missing massive amounts of income relying on this data for landing fees. As a businessman, knowing this, I would immediately throw out all systems, demand my money back, and install a responsible person to collect data during airport operating hours, which seems to be 24/7 as reported by Mr. Brundige.

Since Mr. Brundige cited statistics in his report to the town board it would be silly not to conclude this letter with statistics based purely on logic: Since the error of machine-collected data at the airport versus actual human data collection is 10 times what Mr. Brundige reported for a specific period of time, then the town board must correct all data in Mr. Brundige’s report by multiplying the figures by 10. All findings and conclusions should be revised accordingly.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” — Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881); Mark Twain (1906).

If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.