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Oct 28, 2015 9:47 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Republicans Run On Experience in Southampton

Oct 28, 2015 10:42 AM

The Southampton Town Republican Party ticket is bolstered by incumbent Town Councilwoman Christine P. Scalera, who is leading the charge up to Tuesday’s election.

Ms. Scalera has been joined on the Republican ticket by political newcomer Damon Hagan, for Town Board, and supervisor candidate Richard Yastrzemski. During their campaign, all three candidates have emphasized the need to carefully review the current Planned Development District laws, which allow zone changes in certain instances in favor of community benefits, saying the effects of development in Southampton Town can permanently alter Southampton life.

For Mr. Yastrzemski, a Southampton Village native who has served as the village’s deputy mayor for the past eight years, the campaign has been focused on his local roots, with the supervisor candidate saying he is best fit to serve Southampton Town because he knows the issues firsthand.

“Community service is very important to me,” Mr. Yastrzemski said at a debate in the village on Thursday night, October 22, sponsored by The Press, the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons, and Rogers Memorial Library. “I have hands-on experience with handling personnel matters, budgetary issues and all other day-to-day issues. Village and town government is the last true local representation that you have.”

A key topic in Mr. Yastrzemski’s campaign has been the Tuckahoe Center, a proposed supermarket and shopping complex on County Road 39 at Magee Street that Mr. Yastrzemski says will create too much traffic.

“It is not about whether we need a supermarket or not, it is about whether it should be there,” he said. “I know there are people who are for it, but my current constituents pleaded to vote and talk against it. It was out of our jurisdiction [in the village], and, speaking as a concerned neighbor, I have already taken a stance against it for that reason.”

For Water Mill-based attorney Ms. Scalera, the only incumbent running for the Town Board, the hope is to be able to continue several projects she has already started, including efforts to improve water quality and strengthening code enforcement. Ms. Scalera said last week she is running based on the merits of her record on the Town Board, and that she has successfully helped create a septic rebate system to help homeowners.

One of the things Ms. Scalera said she hopes to continue is improving the process for creating legal rentals within the town. The candidate said that significant strides have been made in the last two years, but that it is not enough.

“There is always room to improve things like the zoning code,” she said. “With the rental registry, we brought it out of the Building Department and into the code enforcement office. You want to streamline things and get it easier for people to do them. While I think there is always room for improvement, we have made modifications that will improve the process.”

Her running mate Damon Hagan of East Quogue said it is his passion for the community that inspired him to make his first bid at public office. Also an attorney, Mr. Hagan said he is a member of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians in Hamptons Bays, as well as the Masons in Sag Harbor and Southampton, and that whet his appetite to do more.

“I have always been active in my local community, and when I moved out here it is because I wanted to be more active in my community,” he said. “I have had an opportunity to deal with a number of municipalities and it makes you want to step up and do things better.”

A significant stance for Mr. Hagan is his view on the controversial PDD proposals that are currently before the board. According to Mr. Hagan, the best option is to handle each application on an individual basis, not to just eliminate all PDDs altogether. He added that the key will be to better define community benefits so that developers are not just walking all over town zoning.

“The question will always come down to whether it is a tangible community benefit,” he said. “You have to make the tough decisions. You have to be open and receptive to each project and look at each individual proposal. If it is a good thing, you say ‘yes,’ and if it is a bad thing you have to say ‘no,’ not put it off for a year.”

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Now the question Mr Hagan needs to answer is, is it a good thing or bad thing to accept campaign finance donations from those seeking approvals from the Town Board for things like PDD's.

If he answers it isn't perhaps he will explain why he has already started accepting such pay to play donations.

If Mr. Hagan responds no its not a bad thing, then we can understand why he did accept PDD developer contributions.

Not that that has anything to do with his opposition to a ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Oct 28, 15 11:39 AM
Developers and Contractors that have Donated to Jay Schneiderman:
MARK HISSEY (From the Hills Project), NELSON POPE & VOORHIS, LLC(Aren’t they involved with the Hills Project), MITCHELL RECHLER, DIFAZIO POWER & ELECTRIC LLC, ENCORE PROPERTY CONSULTING LLC, DME ELECTRICAL CONTRACTING SERVICES INC., FARAD CONCRETE CORP, OCEAN BAY MANAGEMENT INC, RACANELLI CONSTRUCTION CO., D. F. STONE CONTRACTING LTD., VICTORY CONTRACTORS CORP., LOMBARDO ASSOCIATES INC, P.W. GROSSER CONSULTING ENGINEER,CAMERON ...more
By farmlocal (83), Southampton on Oct 28, 15 12:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
Schneiderman accepted Money from Mark Hissy, in August. But we won't mention that. We only mention the fact that Mr. Hagan took money from developers.
By Draggerman (933), Southampton on Oct 28, 15 1:08 PM
Actually we mentioned that in the article about the Democratic Party slate of candidates. And raked him under the coals for it.

By NTiger (543), Southampton on Oct 28, 15 9:59 PM
.... It is futile to points fingers at candidates - as these developers contribute to all of them. Contributions should be made anonymously.
By William Rodney (552), southampton on Oct 28, 15 2:47 PM
It may be frustrating but it is certainly not futile to point fingers at candidates and elected officials who accept payments that put their integrity and ability to make unbiased determinations in question.

As to contributions being anonymous, gad no. The point is to allow the public to see who is giving donations so we and the U.S. Attorneys Office can make up our minds as to whether the recipients of this financial largese are having their principles compromised or just the appearance ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Oct 28, 15 10:06 PM
Hot Tubs,SALE, Southampton Village, SouthamptonFest weekend