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Mar 6, 2012 4:11 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Residents Turn Out To Protest Overcrowding In Springs

Mar 6, 2012 5:59 PM

They call themselves the Unoccupy the Hamptons movement. And no, they have nothing to do with Wall Street.

An impassioned contingent of Springs residents appeared before the East Hampton Town Board last Thursday to express frustration over illegal overcrowding, an ongoing issue in their hamlet that they feel is largely being ignored by town officials.

About 10 people spoke at last week’s meeting on the issue, some calling for the Town Board to hold a summit at which the town’s Ordinance Enforcement Department would be on hand to field concerns about quality of life issues that they claim have become a part of everyday life for the community— large numbers of cars parked at properties, an unsafe number of residents packed into homes and the high enrollment at Springs School that has led to an explosion in school taxes. The group was organized by David and Carol Buda, two Springs residents who have largely led the charge on the issue.

“What happens with the overcrowdedness is that the quality of life is really changing,” said Irena Grant, the wife of John B. Grant, the vice president of the Springs School Board. She spoke about the transformation of her neighborhood, from a community with neighbors who knew each other to one full of “shadowy persons.” She claimed it has led to an increase in crime in the area, specifically an increase in the number of DWIs.

“I don’t know how many more accidents it’s going to take, how many more broken bones it’s going to take, before something is done about that,” she said.

Mr. Buda, who coined the phrase “Unoccupy the Hamptons,” reminded the board that he suggested some approaches that could address the issue, including strengthening ordinances so that voluntary inspections and judicial warrants are more easily attainable. He also has suggested dedicating a work session or workshop at which Public Safety Administrator Patrick Gunn and Code Enforcement Director Betsy Bambrick are on hand to field public concerns, and “where there would be an opportunity for elected officials to respond.”

Ms. Buda, who called the situation a “crisis,” echoed those concerns.

“The community has questions,” she said. “We’d like answers. I’m personally a little stunned it’s been two weeks. I thought it was a fairly simple request.”

Another resident, Bill Bates, said several years ago when he was a volunteer firefighter he recalled a particularly tragic case of a fire at an overcrowded home in Springs where children died. He said he can still hear their screams.

“I don’t want to hear that at night,” he said. “I don’t think any one of you want to hear that at night.”

Tina Piette, of Springs, said she was concerned about the “spying” on neighbors that has occurred in Springs. She also said she felt the town has already addressed the issue of illegal overcrowding through its Ordinance Enforcement Department. “I am truly uncomfortable, and I’m sure I said this a year ago, with this being spying on your neighbors, taking pictures of your neighbors,” she said.

At the end of public comment period, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson ticked off the number of Ordinance Enforcement cases last year in Springs. He said 111 cases had been opened and 94 of them eventually were heard in the town’s Justice Court. He said 974 code violations were written— on average about 10.3 per case.

The day after the Town Board meeting, Mr. Wilkinson said he got about seven phone calls from constituents who said they were upset about the way the group was talking about those people—often illegal immigrants—who are primarily the residents in the overcrowded homes.

“I was embarrassed that expressions like ‘those people,’ ‘these people,’ ‘pandemic’ were used,” Mr. Wilkinson said. “It’s pretty disturbing to me that there are some undertones to this that are not very nice … I don’t like the dynamic. I don’t care for it. I’ll clearly support us not getting to those types of personal confrontations. It’s disturbing.”

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I suggest you all watch the film TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, then go to the Town website and watch last Thursday's (March 1) Town Board meeting. For a minute I was expecting Gregory Peck to take the podium to defend those who were accused of creating a pandemic. A pandemic? Too many immigrants? Overcrowding? Families that are too large living together? Someone actually said she saw some ONE being picked up in front of their house to presumably go to work and that he should be reported to the police! ...more
By hellothere (10), springs on Mar 6, 12 10:26 PM
2 members liked this comment
About 3 weeks ago a Hispanic man tried to kidnap a woman in Noyac. Last week a Hispanic tried to kidnap a woman in Hampton Bays. These people are still at large. I've never heard of such things happening in all the years I've lived here. Carry pepper spray or hair spray works in a pinch. Watch your back.
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Mar 6, 12 11:00 PM
And I'm assuming that no other crimes (or alleged crimes) worthy of mention happened in that time, right? All the while folk around were duly obeying the laws, right?
By tm (174), mtk on Mar 7, 12 1:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
No but it was 2 Hispanics that tried to kidnap the 2 women. They haven't been caught so be careful. Also when you drive watch out for drunken drivers who may not have a licence,registration or insurance. Also many Hispanics who are here illegally are already criminals for invading this Country. That's not prejudice just the truth.
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Mar 7, 12 2:48 PM
3 members liked this comment
people of all walks of life commit crimes. I assume you are just as steadfast in keeping people aware of any perceived dangers, and not just those alleged to have been comitted by hispanics. I am probably wrong in this assumption however.
By tm (174), mtk on Mar 8, 12 10:16 AM
2 members liked this comment
Tiana Bob, You've really never heard of anything like that in "all your years"? I put the word "rape" in to the search bar right above this article. We got all sorts of fine upstanding citizens as hits....some are even your neighbors!
By Hambone (514), New York on Mar 8, 12 11:12 PM
Now how the heck would I ever know if a drunk driver has a license registration and insurance? Your post implies it's much better to get hit by a drunken ol' fart who has a lots of insurance and is properly licensed. Maybe it's me but it hurts to get hit no matter who is driving.
By Hambone (514), New York on Mar 8, 12 11:14 PM
I had a very drunken Hispanic hit my car in Southampton. He sped away. I called the Police and gave them the plate number. They never caught him and my car sustained one thousand dollars worth of damage. We were lucky not to be injured. Hambone do I really have to explain the difference of being insured or not being insured?
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Mar 10, 12 9:24 PM
You can explain insurance only if you think it'll help you figure out it has nothing to do with the article above. Do I need to explain "Facetious?"

By Hambone (514), New York on Mar 10, 12 10:47 PM
By tm (174), mtk on Mar 7, 12 2:19 PM
Let's speak some unvarnished truths. EH town can cite Enforcement statistics all day long but clearly there still is overcrowding. Evidently the enforcement actions aren't resolving the housing problems. Why is that? The longer the town takes to solve the Springs issues the more frustrated residents become. Who can blame them?. There's no excuse for overcrowded housing. It's dangerous for those who live in the house and for neighbors. Once the economy picks up again the problems will just get worse ...more
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Mar 7, 12 3:56 PM
Harbor - to solve "the Springs issues" 1. schools would have to consolidate
2. zoning would have to be changed places for true commercial business in Srpings, and 3. a reassessment would have to take place. Numbers 2 and 3 are the "hard" issues that the Board could look at but mostl likely would be booed out of existence if they tried to implement them. And we all know 1 is the hardest issue which the Board has no control over. Going after Latinos and painting "them" with a large brush ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Mar 7, 12 4:43 PM
Not sure why we are looking backwards but I do agree that the prior Dem administration also was ineffectual. It certainly isn't ideal for neighbors to be spying on each other but that's what happens when gov't fails to address a community's honest concerns. I blame the landlords not the tenants for the circumstances though the tenants are responsible for any misbehavior. Not sure what your numbers 1 and 2 have to do with overcrowding unless you are saying that the solution to the overcrowding is ...more
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Mar 7, 12 8:51 PM
Not at all.
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Mar 7, 12 9:05 PM
How dare you blame the poor illegal aliens who live 15 to a house for the problem. Illegals are breaking the law no one invited them here. They have cost the East Hampton school district over 100 million in extra teachers and expanded school buildings. Don't compare Irish and Italian immigrants to the baloney that is going on now. This country is well on it's way to a third world society.Don't blame hispanics because this editor will remove your opinion. Remember freedom of speech thats what a newspaper ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Mar 7, 12 7:16 PM
Clue us in, Chief - how can you tell who are "illegal aliens" and who are here legally? Is it a specific hat they wear, a tee shirt? Do the Eastern European and Irish illegals get identified the same way as the hispanics?

Is it the jobs they do? Restaurant bars and dining rooms, okay; restaurant kitchens, no good? Framing carpenters, no good; trim carpenters, okay? Or do you have a problem with all immigrants, or just those who speak foreign languages, or English with an accent? ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Mar 8, 12 3:07 PM
Ok I will clue the clueless in. I am pro American citizen I think we should send any illegal back to their country if they are here illegally no matter their ethnicity. This country spends 700 billion a year for theft of services from illegals. I have nothing against Hispanics I knew some liberal no nothing would try to throw in the race card. Time to get your head out of the sand?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Mar 8, 12 9:22 PM
Come on Chief, which is it that is the problem? The "hispanics" you talk about or "illegal aliens"? Do you just assume that they are one and the same? Irish and Italian immigrants are different than "the baloney that is going on now" - how so? HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT PERSON IS HERE ILLEGALLY? Why focus on hispanics?
By VOS (1241), WHB on Mar 9, 12 11:48 PM
How big is the education budget if they've spent over "100 million in extra teachers and expanded school buildings"

By Hambone (514), New York on Mar 11, 12 11:05 PM
Anyone notice that Illinois and South Carolina are the 'new' New York license plates in our area? Notice who's driving those cars?
By frances (4), hampton bays on Mar 7, 12 7:33 PM
2 members liked this comment
new mexico & texas too
By coxie1 (37), southampton on Mar 7, 12 7:44 PM
From what I have been made to understand, is that it is VERY easy to obtain insurance cards, and a registration in Illinois.

In fact, that information came straight from a "horse's mouth"...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Mar 9, 12 2:40 PM
At least there are no stabbings or shootings like in Riverhead. Yet
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Mar 8, 12 10:22 AM
Now people go from abhorring an ethnicity to an entire township? I hope you really hate Riverhead when you patronize our stores and plunk down the cash at the registers.
By Allergic2Stupidity (77), Riverhead on Mar 9, 12 4:54 PM
The larger issue in SPRINGS, from what I see and hear, is how to lower school taxes (Wilkinson did that with the Town). It is being suggested by a group of concerned citizens that if you just get rid of "them and their kids" that would happen. I wrote about this a long time ago. If 50 of "those kids" all of the sudden left Springs the Springs school budget would not change one iota. The question has been posed to Mike Hartner and he agreed. Openly trying to link "overcrowding" with rising school ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Mar 8, 12 11:23 PM
You rembarassing fealty to Republicans is clearly corroding your brain. First, the overcrowding issue isn't simply a school tax issue. If you believe that you haven't been listening to the community's complaints. Second, your school tax math fails to account for the substantial costs associated with bringing ESL kids up to required school standards. Ask the school district how many kindergarten and first graders receive special learning assistance. Those are bucks not going to enrichment programs ...more
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Mar 9, 12 7:25 AM
I thank "hello there" for that choice of words to describe the attitude of the accusers, which is actually promoted and condoned by self-proclaimed educators and some very bright people who seem to be taking the easy road to promote their own back yard agendas rather than looking at solving much bigger community issues.
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Mar 8, 12 11:31 PM
Ahhh Harbor - now your true colors and agenda are showing! I am not a "Republican", simply an observer. First, it is others who seek to simply tie the "overcrowding" to school taxes, not me. I am simply pointing out the fallaciousness of that attempt. Your second point intrigues me. Taxes go to schools to educate children. I believe education is very important to us as a society, as I'm sure you do. Who are you, Harbor, to say that teaching "ESL kids" in order that they may aspire to to educate ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Mar 9, 12 12:06 PM
It disturbs you that he pointed out that these programs cost taxpayers a lot of money? Or that money is being taken away from other programs? Or maybe overcrowded rental homes that have illegal non citizens living in them don't add much to the taxes that fund thee programs? There is a difference between prejudice and facts. The district and town will suffer if the issues are ignored for fear of being called a racist.
By jams (129), hampton bays on Mar 9, 12 1:42 PM
First, the issue is overcrowding not illegal immigration. Second, the twenty-somethings are living in a house with rooms that violate town housing code; whether they are illegal immigrants I don't know and don't care. Third, you wrote "If 50 of "those kids" all of the sudden left Springs the Springs school budget would not change one iota." I gave an example of why you are wrong. I'm not advocating shipping anyone anywhere. My simple point is that if housing codes are enforced then overcrowding ...more
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Mar 9, 12 2:28 PM
So - if you get rid of a few of them "illegals" more Latino kids who have overcrowded classrooms (this/they are the "root" of the probIem no? Simple math) will benefit?? I defer to you on this issue, Harbor, you're right. Your assertion that "If housing codes are enforced then overcrowding diminishes to the benefit of all" is correct - but it implies current code enforcement staff (and the Town Board) is not doing their job (call in the POLICE) to YOUR satisfaction. You are right on so many ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Mar 9, 12 8:19 PM
Do you know what happens when you put a dozen rats in a cage, then don't feed them?

It ain't pretty either...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Mar 9, 12 1:56 PM
It costs about 14 thousand dollars a year to educate each student. Texas ranks 50th among all the States in education. I wonder why?
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Mar 9, 12 2:22 PM
Maybe the people in Texas are dumb...just saying....
By Hambone (514), New York on Mar 10, 12 10:51 PM
Sure just ignore the problem that Springs is overcrowded with illegals. Yes I actually like and respect Hispnics for being hardworkers and generally nice people. But the dance is over Suffolk County is broke our schools are broke, and we can't afford to contribute for people who don't contribute tax dollars. Ignorant people continually say I'm racist for saying this I'm actually a realist. The jokes going to be on us

Just ignore the problem the schools and Suffolk ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Mar 9, 12 10:17 PM
I didn't call you a racist Chief - we are talking about a very specific problem in Springs where the former school board members/some teachers, and maybe this school board want to BLAME their own inablility to meet a budget, and now want to pierce a cap (how about just vote no?) on "the illegals". There is no factual basis (number wise) that anyone can point to that says "get rid of 100 of "those" families" and school taxes will go down. ILLEGAL overcrowding (i.e. a group that is more than four ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Mar 10, 12 6:44 PM
"Illegal friends" Chief? -- is that an attempt at humor or sarcasm? Or is is just someone just showing their true motivations?
By hellothere (10), springs on Mar 11, 12 2:25 PM
Springs has just gone awful in the past 10 years.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Mar 13, 12 8:29 PM
By the way, I have noticed that the comments are turned off sometimes, mostly concerning crimes involving Hispanic surnames. Please explain.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Mar 13, 12 8:33 PM
Funny part is Hispanics are the biggest racists out here
And the illegals break the law every day they are here and laugh in your face about it. Then you give them a free lunch and that just brings more into the area....which is why 15 people to a house is normal now
No one seems to care about the american tradesman,who has to deal with squashed wages and underbidding going on by companies who hire illegals,don't pay the workmans comp. on them,which is required by law,and dodge the irs all ...more
By Kaiser Sozay (31), east end on Mar 14, 12 4:00 AM
1 member liked this comment
I hope EH's Contractor Law begins to address some of this - and certainly when EH Village PD just sat and took down the license plates of contractors who picked up people at the train station -- some of what was going on stopped for a while. I agree with you in theory on this Piehole - and then you just can't help youraself and get carried away and scary with this:
"Illegal Aliens are mostly lawless people from lawless countries and they will break any law they stands in their way"... and you ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Mar 14, 12 11:41 AM