Good News, Bad News – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, April 20, 2015

Dear David,

For seven years I actively sought relief from dirty, noisy helicopters at East Hampton Airport, first as founder of East Hampton Helicopter Noise Coalition and then as a co-founder of the Quiet Skies Coalition.

First the good news: The East Hampton Town Board made a historic decision to implement noise restrictions at the airport. It must to be congratulated since it took guts, courage, and determination to see it through.

There are a lot of questions about the impact of the restrictions, reduction of helicopters, and how the town or the courts will enforce them. Any projections on the reduction of helicopter traffic is pure speculation. One thing is for sure, by Labor Day weekend we’ll know perhaps a little better, hopefully a lot more than we know today about how effective the three restrictions were.

I’m certainly willing to give the restrictions a chance to prove themselves, purely out of respect for everyone who worked very hard to make it happen — all the folks who served on the committees, Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez who worked tirelessly and showed incredible courage, and the East Hampton Town Board for taking the historic first step in the right direction to bring long-sought relief of helicopter noise in the region.

Now the bad news: Folks who are “tortured and tormented,” in the words of Senator Charles Schumer and former Representative Tim Bishop, want the torture to stop, not just become less intense. For us folks who have been tortured far too long by dirty, noisy helicopters, pulling the weekend ban on helicopters was extremely disappointing and hurt terribly. It hurt because there was promised hope when the restriction was proposed.

We finally had hope the torture would stop, at least for the weekends. That hope was dashed when the proposed restriction was pulled in the last minute. Torture should never be taken lightly, and it seemed it had. It seemed like the bullying tactics were successful.

We hope for the sake of the good people on the town board that the restrictions will be more successful than projected. If they are not, that hurt will certainly create a tremendous backlash. For the moment, I pledge to hope for great success.