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Oct 6, 2009 7:55 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton GOP candidates win critical endorsements

Oct 6, 2009 7:55 PM

The Republican candidates for East Hampton Town Board scored three key endorsements this week. State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle have backed the entire GOP slate while the East Hampton Police Benevolent Association has endorsed GOP supervisor candidate Bill Wilkinson.

Mr. Thiele is a former Republican who joined the New York State Independence Party last week, and his support for the Town GOP slate carries extra weight since he has held joint press conferences with Democratic Town Supervisor candidate Ben Zwirn and had, up until last week, maintained a neutral position on the East Hampton race.

“This is the team who told you two years ago that the town was in financial trouble,” he said at a press conference at the GOP’s Newtown Lane headquarters on Monday afternoon. Mr. Thiele highlighted Mr. Wilkinson’s insistence in 2007 that East Hampton’s finances were a train wreck.

“When nobody else was recognizing the problems, he understood and brought it to the town’s attention. He is joined by a qualified and knowledgeable team,” he added. “What we need here is a whole new everything.”

Mr. Thiele had equally kind words for Republican Town Board candidates Theresa Quigley and Dominick Stanzione.

“I’ve known Theresa Quigley my whole life,” he said, adding that he admired Ms. Quigley’s work as an attorney. “Dominick Stanzione, I didn’t know from Adam when I first met him a year ago. ... He has a creative outlook and he’s willing to think outside the box. He’s got people skills, and politics is a people business.”

Mr. Thiele also praised Highway Superintendent candidate Thomas Talmage, who currently serves as the East Hampton Town Engineer and whom Mr. Thiele had hired as Southampton Town’s first engineer when he was the town supervisor there in the early 1990s, saving the town a great deal of money in engineering consulting fees.

“I really like Fred. I think he’s a terrific public servant,” said Mr. Zwirn, who learned of Mr. Thiele’s endorsement from a reporter Monday night. “I respect his decision. Everybody makes their choices. I look forward to working with Fred on statewide help for the town. This will not affect our friendship or our professional relationship. I’ve got some good endorsements.”

Mr. Zwirn received endorsements from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the Long Island Federation of Labor and former Sag Harbor Mayor Gregory Ferraris, a Republican, earlier this year. He said that he was not surprised that Mr. LaValle endorsed the Republicans, since Mr. LaValle is more deeply entrenched within the Republican establishment than Mr. Thiele.

Mr. LaValle joined the GOP candidates at their East Hampton headquarters on Thursday, October 1.

“It is a great, great slate. In my career I don’t remember someone running for highway superintendent who had a professional engineer designation. This is probably the most qualified slate of candidates in any town,” he said.

Mr. Wilkinson also received the PBA endorsement, though Mr. Zwirn said that he was disappointed that the PBA had not even chosen to extend an offer to meet with him and learn about his positions before endorsing Mr. Wilkinson.

“I will still keep the door open to them so we can talk about the issues,” he said.

“At this time of crisis in our town’s history, with ethical questions swirling around town hall, it is particularly gratifying to have the unqualified support of the law enforcement community,” Mr. Wilkinson said in a statement Monday. “The members of our PBA are law enforcement professionals interacting hourly with our residents and visitors. They, like our other town employees, are our town ambassadors to the public, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with each of them.”

Carabine in question

Prudence Carabine, who is running a write-in campaign for a Town Board seat, will not be permitted to participate in a League of Women Voters debate on October 15, she said this week. Ms. Carabine said that the league’s national policy is to not include write-in candidates, since technically, anyone can be a write-in candidate.

She said that she will be able to participate in a candidate forum sponsored by the Concerned Citizens of Montauk on October 18 and another forum in Springs on October 20. Ms. Carabine is planning to host an informational forum with the other Town Board candidates on affordable housing on October 28, after hosting two forums on communications and the environment earlier this fall.

“I’m going to try to keep the forums apolitical. The institutional knowledge is going to be gone with this new board, and the candidates are trying to educate themselves,” she said.

Ms. Carabine is also planning a musical event to raise awareness of her Bonac Beach Party at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett on October 30 at 7 p.m.

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Thiele says he is leaving the Republican party and the endorses the entire republican ticket while endorsing the dems in Southampton?
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Oct 6, 09 5:02 PM
He has endorsed Anna, and no one else on the Democratic ticket.
By Terry (380), Southampton on Oct 6, 09 5:24 PM
It is time for Ms. Carabine to drop her write-in candidacy -- which is a losing proposition -- and to endorse candidates who actually have a chance to win the race. Her endorsements for supervisor and for town board seats will definitely influence some undecided voters in addition to the small group that is loyal to her; she will be doing the town a favor by backing candidates who most represent her philosophy and her vision for East Hampton.
By P.A.B. (23), East Hampton on Oct 6, 09 5:33 PM
Thiele and LaValle are obviously huge endorsements for the Republicans. These are the two individuals East Hampton will depend on to help secure the additional financing from the State the town will need to cover the additional $10 million of the Democrat deficit that will be identified by the end of the year (in addition to the original $15 million). I wonder how former Sag Harbor Village Mayor Ferrarris is feeling these days after reading the Theile quotes above? Ferraris may be the only east ...more
By truthinbonac (46), Amagansett on Oct 6, 09 11:08 PM
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