Helicopter Routes – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, May 12, 2013

Dear David,

NOMBY (Not Over My Back Yard) is the divisive tactic used by helicopter proponents and certain members of the East Hampton Town Board to change helicopter routes, intended to divide and conquer helicopter opponents by instigating disputes between various community groups. The leadership of these community groups has fallen into the trap of deception, wasting precious energy and political capital to relocate helicopter routes over their neighboring communities. Clandestine secret meetings and closed meetings held by invitation only to members who toe the line of helicopter proponents’ propaganda are used to create an appearance of cooperation and consensus, when in fact it is a deception created by elected officials to force disruptive helicopter operations down the throats of the residential community at large.

The belief that transparent, open government exists, allowing for full participation and debate by all citizens affected by helicopter noise abuse, is a fantasy. The belief that local elected officials have an obligation to serve the people, a duty to keep people safe and protect people from harm, is a fantasy. Noisy, dirty helicopters flying dangerously and recklessly low over residential neighborhoods are permitted to land at a town-owned facility. That facility is in the care and control of the East Hampton Town Board, no one else. The town board ignores the problem. It fails to act, based on the insane reasoning that the use of the facility by a few trumps the thousands tormented by noisy, dirty, and unsafe helicopter operations.

This town-owned facility can be shut down any time, solely by an act of the town board. These operations appear to exist due to the dereliction of duty and nonfeasance of certain elected officials. This is an outrage. People should rise up to demand change and exercise their rights on Election Day. This should serve as admonition to all candidates seeking elected office. The slogan for concerned candidates or parties could be “Government For the Many, Not the Few.”

NOMBYs are silly to believe changing routes will solve the problem. The NOMBYs under the Jessup’s Neck route saw helicopter traffic relief for a couple of years, then it returned with a vengeance last year. It is silly for these NOMBYs to waste precious resources by changing the route over Sag Harbor and Northwest communities, believing it will not return again some time in the future.

Quiet Skies Coalition wisely withdrew from the secret negotiations, because it understood it was silly to help some members while at the same time causing torment to others, thereby dividing the group. All NOMBYs unite! This is an election year and an excellent opportunity to make meaningful and transformational change. If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.