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Mar 13, 2019 9:31 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Board May Add Member To CPF Advisory Committee To Include Shinnecock Representation

Mar 13, 2019 12:11 PM

Bruce Doscher, a member of the Southampton Community Preservation Fund Advisory Committee, which compiles a list of potential properties for the town to preserve, resigned from the board earlier this month, lamenting the absence of Shinnecock Indian Nation representation on the committee—and suggesting his seat be filled by a member of the tribe.

But Mr. Doscher, a Hampton Bays resident, is back, after being told by officials that they hope to add an eighth spot to the seven-member committee, specifically for a member of the Shinnecock Nation.

Mr. Doscher, who has served on the committee for nearly three years, submitted his resignation to the Town Board on March 7. In his letter to the board, he said he attended a committee meeting on February 27 where properties identified for preservation by former CPF Manager Mary Wilson and members of the Shinnecock Nation were discussed.

“While everyone was interested in doing something worthwhile for the Shinnecock Nation, nobody had any good idea why these particular properties had been identified,” Mr. Doscher said in his letter. “I looked around me. There were 10 of us, all of European descent; nine men and one woman.”

How anyone with European background could understand what is and is not preservable in an area that was populated by Native Americans, Mr. Doscher said, was a concern. Also of concern was that not one member of the Shinnecock Nation was on the committee that decides what should be preserved.

Mr. Doscher resigned from his position on the board with the wish that his seat be filled by a member of the tribe.

Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said he spoke to Mr. Doscher before he sent the letter, and that he was sad to see him leave the committee but thought the reasoning behind his decision was laudable.

“I don’t think it’s a bad suggestion,” Mr. Schneiderman said at the time. “They were here first. All this land, they consider, to be their land.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Doscher said he had since withdrawn his resignation from the committee. “I was told by a number of people on the Town Council that they are setting up a permanent seat for the Shinnecock Nation,” he said.

On Wednesday, Mr. Doscher said he spoke to Town Board member John Bouvier, who told him adding an eighth person to the board would require a modification to the state law that mandates the seven-member committee. Mr. Bouvier on Wednesday confirmed the plan.

When Mr. Doscher joined the committee, he said he wanted to serve the community. At each meeting, the committee looks at multiple properties for preservation, he said. Some fit the guidelines and some do not.

While the committee is made up of various experts in a number of fields—such as agriculture, soil and endangered species—no current member is an expert on the history of the area, pre-European settlers.

“We have no idea what’s in our backyard, but there are people who do,” Mr. Doscher said. “I’m happy that I’m going to be able to stay, because I want to find out about the stuff.”

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Congratulations to Bruce Doscher, a real standup guy, for putting his Board seat where his mouth is. Can’t recall anyone else ever doing anything like that around here. Congratulations also to the Town for getting Mr. Doscher back and working to create a new seat for the Shinnecock Nation. Right solution all around.
By Turkey Bridge (1927), Quiogue on Mar 14, 19 10:57 AM
2 members liked this comment
Special interest being served again. Wait till there is a spot and appoint some one. Accept his letter and appoint someone.
By knitter (1624), Southampton on Mar 18, 19 1:51 PM
Hmmm putting someone on the board because they are a certain race? Considering they pay no taxes and don't contribute where are we going with this?
By chief1 (2637), southampton on Mar 21, 19 4:08 PM
This is the same guy who wanted to save the CPI and close Tiderunners, a nice waterfront reassurance with plenty of parking because they were near his house. Now we will have 37 Boat Houses polluting our bays and the restoration of that CPI dump that should have been condemned. Jay should have accepted his resignation.
By Ernie (84), Hampton Bays on Mar 23, 19 5:06 PM
This is the same guy who wanted to save the CPI and close Tiderunners, a nice waterfront reassurance with plenty of parking because they were near his house. Now we will have 37 Boat Houses polluting our bays and the restoration of that CPI dump that should have been condemned. Jay should have accepted his resignation.
By Ernie (84), Hampton Bays on Mar 23, 19 5:06 PM
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