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May 16, 2018 2:07 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Meeting Halted, Police Called To East Hampton Town Hall Tuesday

Martin Drew
May 17, 2018 12:10 PM

The East Hampton Town Board abruptly halted its work session on Tuesday and called police to the Town Hall campus after a Springs resident refused to cede the speaker’s podium during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Martin Drew—who takes the podium at almost every Town Board meeting to speak on a variety of subjects, usually with a wholly critical view of town government—had been speaking for about five minutes when Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc first asked him to wrap up his commentary, which on Tuesday was focused on whether the hamlet of Springs should be referred to as “The Springs” or not.

After Mr. Drew had continued to speak for another two and a half minutes, Mr. Van Scoyoc again told Mr. Drew that he needed to give up the podium.

“There is no one else in this room and I’m going to continue,” Mr. Drew said. Town historian Averill Geus was, in fact, waiting to speak after Mr. Drew.

“No, you are not,” Mr. Van Scoyoc countered, at which point Mr. Drew raised a book about the hamlet of Springs and began referring to citations that used only the term “Springs,” not “the Springs”—a colloquial debate that has been at the top of Mr. Drew’s list of gripes over the last year and a frequent subject of his ire at public meetings.

Councilwoman Sylvia Overby offered a resolution to declare Mr. Drew out of order, which board members all voted in favor of. When he still refused to step away—shifting his focus from the Springs name issue to board policy on time limits for public speakers and seemingly looking to test what the board would do if he remained resolute—Mr. Van Scoyoc adjourned the meeting.

All five board members voted in agreement and left the dais for about 10 minutes.

Mr. Drew left the building, when he was met by two East Hampton Town Police Officers, who had been called by other Town Hall staff. Mr. Drew was not charged with any crime but was asked to leave the town property.

It’s the second time that police have been called to Town Hall because of Mr. Drew. Last September he was arrested and charged with harassment after reportedly head-butting Town Trustee James Grimes during an argument in the parking lot.

It’s also the second time that police have been called to a government meeting this month, after police were called to a Southampton Town Trustees meeting on May 7 when a speaker refused to cede his place at the podium during a public comment session.

Much as then-Supervisor Larry Cantwell declined to have Mr. Drew barred from Town Hall after the incident in September, Mr. Van Scoyoc said that his actions on Tuesday would have no bearing on Mr. Drew's future participation in meetings.

"We always welcome the public and just because someone is angry doesn't mean they will be barred from speaking, but we do require that people respect others in the room and give others the opportunity to address the board as well," Mr. Van Scoyoc said. "We show some [time] flexibility but when clearly a point has been made we need to move on with the meetings. As long as people conduct themselves with the required decorum, it doesn't mean that they can't be passionate or angry. You just can't hijack a meeting."

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Freedom of Speech is limited to 3 minutes evidently on the east end while these losers RIP us off in crazy spending and dishonesty.
By chief1 (2518), southampton on May 16, 18 8:33 PM
Martin Drew has been doing this for more then 15 years, I think he needs the spotlight constantly ...
By Mate (27), Southampton on May 17, 18 6:46 AM
Where's Al Pacino when you need him?!
By Mr. Z (10415), North Sea on May 16, 18 8:44 PM
Cheif1, I have no love for the East Hampton town government, believe me...But there are well-established rules governing allotted speaking times, which are totally reasonable. If everyone could get up and ramble on, we’d be there all night. And even at a low-attended meeting, the rules stiil need to apply. If anything, it should keep the speaker concise and on point. Freedom of speech is not the freedom to hold a Town Board verbally hostage.
By TheWaterMillian (33), Water Mill on May 16, 18 8:56 PM
MD name is VERY well known in EH...he has an history...
By Mate (27), Southampton on May 17, 18 6:48 AM
I'm surprised. Until now, the EH Town Board has been delighting in the Buda/Drew battle of THE because it creates a nice diversion. While those 2 prattle on, it takes their constituents attention away from the Board's: reckless and wasteful spending; lack of oversight in crucial Divisions; allowing dunes to be leveled - then paying exorbitant amounts of $$ for dirt to take place of said dune; hiring of cronies to do expensive "studies" that do nothing more than validate their misguided political ...more
By dogtired (21), north sea on May 17, 18 10:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
Why are you concerned with EH government when you live in North Sea? Just bored?

No person enjoys the sound of their own voice more than Martin Drew. Guy needs a job and a hobby.
By harbor (365), East Hampton on May 17, 18 3:39 PM
I'm so impressed with the ever-so-civilized way the Board eases a recalcitrant, cantankerous and boorish citizen off the podium.
By Jolly Roger (18), Southampton on May 17, 18 11:23 AM
martin drew has a right to comment and so what if he goes for longer than 3 minutes many others do i personally think the board find his intellect too challenging, the previous week Si from Wainscott spoke for at least 10 minutes they didnt dare tell him to stop, and as a result of his extended dialogue something is finally in the works to do something about the water in Wainscott, so the squeaky wheel prevails, also thanks must extend to Rona Klopman in EH Star for addressing the fact that the ...more
By poppy (2), east hampton on May 17, 18 4:19 PM
martin drew has a right to comment and so what if he goes for longer than 3 minutes many others do i personally think the board find his intellect too challenging, the previous week Si from Wainscott spoke for at least 10 minutes they didnt dare tell him to stop, and as a result of his extended dialogue something is finally in the works to do something about the water in Wainscott, so the squeaky wheel prevails, also thanks must extend to Rona Klopman in EH Star for addressing the fact that the ...more
By poppy (2), east hampton on May 17, 18 4:58 PM
Your sentences run on longer than Drew’s diatribes.
By harbor (365), East Hampton on May 17, 18 8:03 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Rich Morey (329), East Hampton on May 21, 18 12:01 AM
harbor hot tubs,