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Jul 18, 2011 7:16 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Independence Party Chairman Endorses Wilkinson

Jul 19, 2011 7:20 PM

In a reversal that stunned local officials, Suffolk County Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay on Monday chose East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson to run on his party’s line, after local party officials had previously supported his challenger Zachary Cohen.

Mr. MacKay authorized Mr. Wilkinson, a Republican, to run on the Independence line with paperwork he filed at the Suffolk County Board of Elections on Monday morning, according to Mr. Cohen and Elaine Jones, the chairwoman of the East Hampton Independence Party. The move represents a split between Mr. MacKay and Ms. Jones, whose committee nominated Mr. Cohen as its candidate in May.

As a result of the filing, Mr. Wilkinson will now appear on the Independence Party line this November, instead of Mr. Cohen.

“Our party line has been kind of like stolen, and we don’t have a chance to have a primary,” Ms. Jones said.

Mr. MacKay did not answer his phone on Monday or Tuesday, and his voice mailbox was full.

An authorization known as a Wilson Pakula is needed for a candidate who is not a member of a party to run on that party’s line. Both Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Cohen, who is not a member of a political party but has been endorsed by Democrats, needed such authorization from Mr. MacKay to run on the Independence line. If both had received the authorization, a primary would have had to be conducted.

Monday was the deadline for the authorization, leaving no time for local officials to attempt to force a primary.

Ms. Jones and Mr. Cohen were not alone this week. In Southampton Town, Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, a Democrat who is running for reelection this year, also did not receive the Wilson Pakula she had expected from Mr. MacKay. It was granted instead to one of her opponents, Republican Christine Preston Scalera.

“I don’t know whether the leadship of the party overrode local decisions elsewhere, but it really looks like the leadership has really been acting as an extenstion of the Republican Party throughout the county,” Ms. Fleming said on Tuesday.

Ms. Jones said she had been assured by Mr. MacKay that he would follow her committee’s endorsement and file a Wilson Pakula for Mr. Cohen, but learned on Monday morning that he had apparently thrown his support to Mr. Wilkinson. She said she could not reach Mr. MacKay on Monday.

Ms. Jones also said she would continue campaigning for Mr. Cohen.

“We have our candidates on the Independence Party line,” she said. “Whether or not we’re happy about what happened, we will work for them and I will work for Zach Cohen.”

Mr. Cohen said on Monday that he had heard the switch was the result of a backroom deal between Republicans and Independence officials, which he said could backfire on Mr. Wilkinson, although he said he had no proof of such a deal. He also noted that Mr. MacKay chose not to allow a primary by signing Wilson Pakulas for both candidates.

“I think the thing there is they don’t want a primary because I’d probably win a primary,” he said.

Mr. Wilkinson said on Tuesday that he has still received no formal notification that he will be allowed to run on the Independence line, and denied that any deal took place. He said he did not have know ahead of time that he would receive the nomination.

“I don’t make deals, I don’t know how to make deals,” he said. “Politics isn’t my thing.”

Mr. Wilkinson said he solicited 83 signatures from Independence Party members for a nominating petition in June, even after Mr. Cohen was endorsed by the local committee, because he felt the party was too important to not actively court. He said he had no specific intention to force a primary at the time.

“I didn’t even think that far,” he said. “Again, it was a group of people that I had in the past. When I ran last time, I had Republican, Conservative and Independence support, and I thought it was too big a group to omit this time. It was that simple.”

Ms. Jones said she received about 80 signatures for Mr. Cohen. Forty-seven signatures of East Hampton Town’s 944 Independence Party members are needed for a candidate to run on the party’s line.

Other Independence Party candidates for East Hampton Town Board will remain the same. Bill Mott, who is running for a Town Board seat, is a member of the party, and did not need a Wilson Pakula. And Mr. MacKay signed a Wilson Pakula for Marilyn Behan, a Democrat whom the East Hampton Independence Party chose to run on their line for another council seat, Ms. Jones said.

Mr. MacKay did not authorize Mr. Wilkinson’s Republican running mates, Steven Gaines and Richard Haeg, to run on the Independence line, she said.

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Is it permissible to use words here which rhyme somewhat with horse, oar, eerie, fellow and oratio?

You can't make this stuff up!

Is the MTK music concert still on for a few weekends for now at the EH airport, with or without the approval of the EH school board's approval for the off-street parking?

Send money ASAP to your favorite oar!
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jul 18, 11 8:09 PM
Now that's funny!
By zaz (197), East Hampton on Jul 18, 11 8:11 PM
2 members liked this comment
I don't find anything funny about this . . . other than Elaine Jones, who had her own personal agenda happening at any given moment in this "candidate selection process". The whole endorsement of Zach Cohen for her personal "enemy du jours" and reasons was unfortunate from the get-go. The primary will be telling . ..
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Jul 18, 11 11:19 PM
Oops - just re-read - if there is one??? A line "stolen"? From Elaine Jones?! No doubt we will har about this for years to come no matter what the truth is . . .
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Jul 18, 11 11:22 PM
Thats what's funny. I'd give anything to have seen the look on her face when she was told.
By zaz (197), East Hampton on Jul 19, 11 12:37 AM
1 member liked this comment
Shouldn't the East Hampton Independence Party dissolve now that Suffolk County Independence Party pols have nullified its choice of candidate? Is there any purpose in the existence of a local organization whose decisions regarding local candidates can be abrogated at will by its out-of-town masters? Moreover, is not a party that embraces such autocracy at ANY level repugnant to every democratic republican?

R.I.P. Independence Party - - - whatever the hell you were.
By highhatsize (4216), East Quogue on Jul 19, 11 2:07 AM
the big question is what was promised to whom for the county independence endorsement. any theories? should be a very interesting election season. why would any local independent vote the county line after this obvious slap in the face by county officials.
By harbor (414), East Hampton on Jul 19, 11 8:36 AM
The so-called "Independence" Party is the biggest scam on the voting public since the now deceased "Liberal" Party. It was founded by McKay and some other snake-oil salesmen for one purpose only: to secure patronage jobs by providing a third-party line to candidates who run as spoilers. Most states outlaw third-party endorsements, forcing candidates to make a real choice instead of hiding behind misleading titles like "Independence". Voters should refuse to vote on the Independence party line ...more
By 16945 (15), Riverhead on Jul 19, 11 8:57 AM
2 members liked this comment
I find Mr. Cohen's comment interesting -- the reversal was the result of a secret deal between Republicans and Independence party officials - but he has no proof. That seems par for the course from what I hear from my friends who pay attention to local government in east Hampton. Mr. Cohen is good at flinging our claims and accusations and in the end he has no proof or support. That is a dangerous trait for someone who aspires to be the leader of a town government - can east hampton again afford ...more
By Yesouthh (21), water mill on Jul 19, 11 5:06 PM
Don't confuse "Independence", with "Independent".

Snake oil, and wolves in sheep's clothing. Leopard's don't change there spots, and sewage still stinks, even when you call it honey.
By Mr. Z (11830), North Sea on Jul 19, 11 5:33 PM
The Independence party has far more in common with the republican right that it does with Independents.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jul 19, 11 6:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
I don't agree with that assessment. The main for the independence party was due to Elaine Jones' utter hatred for McGintee (who admitedly was a democrat). However, I believe in her mind the fact he was a democrat was irrelevant. She and her sons had many run ins with him and most people in the town were extremely disatisfied with him.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Jul 20, 11 9:06 AM
Ms. Jones says she received "about 80 signatures for Mr. Cohen." I would hope she knows exactly how many signatures she submitted. The fact that it was "about 80" tells me she got less signatures than were obtained for Mr. Wilkinson -- how pathetic for the town "leader". Maybe McKay saw how much Wilkinson valued the Independence line and how much effort it must have taken to get the signatures. While Mr. Cohen lobbied and cajoled Ms. Jones for her endorsement, Mr. Wilkinson took it to the members ...more
By hohum123 (91), springs on Jul 19, 11 9:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
to hohum123:

Maybe events occurred as you hypothesize following the word "Maybe" in your post (ALL of what followed) - - or - - maybe Almighty God appeared to Frank MacKay and told him that his political sagacity eclipsed that of mere mortals in he party and that he should ignore their wishes.

Maybe Wilkinson crawled on his belly in supplication to MacKay to obtain his endorsement.

Maybe Zach Cohen lost MacKay's endorsement when he told him defiantly that he was an American ...more
By highhatsize (4216), East Quogue on Jul 20, 11 11:00 AM
Actually I did get 78 signatures and don't really care how many Wilkinson got. I only needed 47 and that's how its done. I could have gone and got a hundred. You have to get 5% of your voters in the party. Actually some of the people who signed Wilkinsons would have signed mine but can't sign two petitions. Bill didn't have to worry anyway. I was told he led some people that signed his to think that there was going to be a primary. Guess we'll never know if he would have lost. I also wonder ...more
By housewife (79), east hampton on Jul 20, 11 1:54 PM
Elaine Jones loved Wilkinson - up until the time he publicly told her that he expects every town employee to work hard, be respectful and abandon the past practice mentality that some have clung to dearly. Her response was to withdraw her support. While she was right about McGintee, his demise empowered her to the point where she began to act as if she were the elected official. She has made it abundantly clear that it is her way or the highway. I for one, am proud of our Supervisor for standing ...more
By blanketsmama (6), Springs on Jul 20, 11 10:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
Elaine Jones loved Wilkinson - up until the time he publicly told her that he expects every town employee to work hard, be respectful and abandon the past practice mentality that some have clung to dearly. Her response was to withdraw her support. While she was right about McGintee, his demise empowered her to the point where she began to act as if she were the elected official. She has made it abundantly clear that it is her way or the highway. I for one, am proud of our Supervisor for standing ...more
By blanketsmama (6), Springs on Jul 20, 11 10:13 AM
Folks Bill Wilkinson only cares about himself. Actually I was told that he got the Jonas brothers for Fank MacKay at Oheka castle and that Frank and Bill are good friends. It doesn't matter that he sgned a wilson pakula for Bill Wilkinson, he should have signed one for Zack to allow a primary. I did like Bll Wilkinson until he lied about the employees being his ambassadors and he would not lay off people, he wanted the trustees to make a deal with Silverman for the beaches, wanted a concert in ...more
By housewife (79), east hampton on Jul 20, 11 1:10 PM
Ms Jones: After reading all the articles and quotes and expanations my conclusions are:

1. Mr. McKay did not want a primary. He had the sole power to decide. Wilkinson could only submit petitions. I seriously doubt Wilkinson told McKay, who I believe is the NATIONAL leader of the Independence Party, what to do. If he did then Wilkinson must be a pretty powerful guy.
2. McKay did the same thing in Southampton in 2009 when he supported the Republican candidates over the selection ...more
By factsandtruth (42), East Hampton on Jul 21, 11 11:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wow! More then anything this episode asks and answers some questions and proves the charactor of the man (Wilkquig). It seems the Independence Party isn't as independent as the name implies but it also seems its a real political party and not just an Elaine Jones ego platform. Otherwise why would Wilkquig be so furious and steal a nonscence endorsement from a political opponent? We all know a favor that essententaly emasculates the local party isn't free,and make no mistake this is a big favor. ...more
By facts man (148), east hampton on Jul 20, 11 5:06 PM
2 members liked this comment
Hoping Behan and Mott get in. Everyone I have talked to is voting for them. Republicans included. We need decent, caring people in office. People who will look after our budget and treat everyone with respect. We need people who will listen carefully to the issues, think about what best serves our taxpayers then make informed decisions. Someone has to start caring about our locals and ask them what services they are willing to pay for etc.....No doubt a deal was made here. Hopefully that ...more
By disappointed (96), wainscott on Jul 20, 11 5:35 PM
Housewife Elaine - while I admire you coming out and defending yourself - you are all about "rumor has it" . . . those words say it all - and most begin with you!!! 70% of the Town elected Wilkinson -- who now works for all of the Town - not you! Your egocentric view (and that of Mr. Behan) belie party politics at their worst. You may have causes you are for or against - that's your right . . . but rumors, speculation, name calling, your personal like or dislike of someone (and talking about ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Jul 20, 11 8:55 PM
Oh come on Board Watcher who has to be a close ally of Wilkinson, I said I was told which means from a good source. John Behan has been a respected leader in East Hampton since he worked with Perry Duryea and Bill Wilkinson has trashed everyone so don't talk about name calling. Problem is in Wilkinson's and Quigley's world it is their way or no way. I am proud of the work I have done for my community and will continue to work in any way I can. What would have been wrong with a primary? We've ...more
By housewife (79), east hampton on Jul 20, 11 10:39 PM
Housewife, I too respect your personnal opinion and the fact you have come on and defended yourself but throwing personal issues aside we can not overlook the fact that Wilkenson has cleaned up a lot of the McGintee mess. Are we so short sighted that we forget where we were two years ago. He said he was going to have to make some unpopular decesions and he has. I'm sure that if elected Cohen would do something that you would not approve of as well
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Jul 21, 11 11:10 AM
You got that right razza5350! I didn't see Wilkinson come out and trash Elaine personally or professionally - he just does what has to be done - finally Bub!
By BonacP (22), East Hampton on Jul 21, 11 1:01 PM
Razza we shouldn't forget where we were 2 years ago but we should really think about where we are today. Yes we all got a lower tax bill but that means diffrent things to diffrent people. To get here we had to pay a price and I believe Wilkquig and his rich pals payed very little. Does he care if the dump fee is higher and the dump is closed on Wed? The rich pay private carters. The fishing docks are of no use to him. The rich pay for guided charter fishing. The higher dock fees are the same as ...more
By facts man (148), east hampton on Jul 21, 11 1:14 PM
"Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV,
And you think you're so clever and classless and free,
But you're still f****** peasents as far as I can see..."

~ John Lennon, Working Class Hero (1970)
By Mr. Z (11830), North Sea on Jul 21, 11 5:22 PM
Ok Facts Man, lets tell it like it is - I challenge you to review the list of contributors to the EH Conservators and Democratic Committee. As you review the list put check marks next to the people who have flown in or own helicopters, have nannys for their children or their grandchildren, have their garbage picked up by private haulers, have their OWN sport fishing boats, send their kids or grandkids to private summer camps at $4,000 per week, own $100K+ automobiles, vacation six to eight weeks ...more
By factsandtruth (42), East Hampton on Jul 21, 11 5:36 PM
"Democracy comes not from the top, it comes from the bottom."

"The people in power would like us to believe we have the same interests. We don't. There's the interest of the President of the United States, and there's the interest of the young person he sends to war. There's the interests of Exxon, and the interests of the ordinary worker. And, they use words like "national security, as if security meant the same thing to everybody. For some people, national security means having military ...more
By Mr. Z (11830), North Sea on Jul 21, 11 6:01 PM
Yup! There's many contributers to the Dem party who are rich and pay for nannies and garbage pickup and got an advantage from Wilkquigs fee hikes and service eliminations because they don't use them either. But I know of few who advocated for the drastic and painful abuse Wilkquig heaped on those who can't afford it. And most real Reps. and real Dems. were working toward the same goal of fiscal sanity. It was McG. who offered the first "retirement incentive" got cheaper insurance coverage, eliminated ...more
By facts man (148), east hampton on Jul 22, 11 9:12 AM
You always make me laugh non-facts man! I see factsandtruth doesn't write often but when s/he does it's always spot on and logical. Your politics (now congratulating McGintee for all of his "acheivements" to fix the hole he was digging) are so obvious and skewered that we all know your vitriol isn't based on facts - but your own "feelings". This community helps its own in ways I've only seen here . . . and what this administration is focused on is keeping local people here - whether you can see ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Jul 22, 11 9:41 AM
Factsandtruth is a man as the avatar indicates. It shows it's just one more example of how you close your eyes to facts. I'm not praising McG. I'm stating as FACT three things he did in an attempt to get the the finances under control. I agree this community helps itself in many ways. My point is that Wilkquig does not help anybody but himself and those who aren't a burden on his tax bill. Prove me wrong and list three things Wilkquig has done that has helped those in need that hasen't been of greater ...more
By facts man (148), east hampton on Jul 22, 11 11:41 AM
facts man, You can't be serious? This isnt about class warfare. When McGintee left office the administration was ripe with Fraud, their was gross mismanegment, their were several questionable back door deals (Keyes Island ect) and the town was left in a massive defecit hole. Wilkenson changed all of that and you want to cry because you have to pay a higher dump fee and pick up your leaves. Give me a break!

FYI I' don't think you would want to see this town without all the rich people. They ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Jul 22, 11 3:08 PM
Facts man must be a former Dem office holder trying to rationalize his/her behavior and the total ineptitude of the McGintee administration. Read the reports Facts Man - it is easy by searching Wilkinson articles on each newspapers' website. Here are some real facts.

1. Wilkinson does not take town health insurance ($20,000 savings to town at his expense -- Quigley doesn't take it either, so that's about $40,000 or the salary of one person) they pay for their own own private insurance. ...more
By factsandtruth (42), East Hampton on Jul 22, 11 9:30 PM
Waiting for that apology facts man. I have a feeling I'll be waiting a long time
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Jul 22, 11 9:48 PM
Since Elaine Jones is so "up front" on everything and represents the people and accuses of others of making political deals that she never does herself, I have a question.

Someone who works for the town told me that early on in the process an offer was made by Elaine to the Democrats that if they did not nominate Scott King for Highway, she would endorse Zach Cohen. There may even be a paper trail to support this, and the source is pretty good and close to the situation. That is what I ...more
By formertbm (76), east hampton on Jul 23, 11 10:07 AM
Factsandtruth; Nope just a guy who knows the facts. So, #1 Wilkquig has a golden parachute from Disney Quigwilk has benifits from NYPD through her retired husband. Both plans are better then EH, can't double dip, so its better for them if they don't take our plan due to selfish selfinterest. #2, The bulk of taxes is not payed by the rich. The present tax system we use puts the tax burden on those who have less. Thats why the state is demanding EH go to taxes based on full assesed value. McG. admin. ...more
By facts man (148), east hampton on Jul 23, 11 11:44 AM
Facts Man - read the articles. Wilkinson pays for his health insurance (Disney does pay in full for retiree health).
Your statement that those with less carry more of the tax burden contradicts your original point that Wilkinson's higher assessment means his tax cut was more. If, as you claim he is one with more, and his assessment is more, as you also claim, then he also pays more - you can't argure it both ways. Some whose houses are assessed low get great big breaks - and some of those ...more
By factsandtruth (42), East Hampton on Jul 23, 11 5:31 PM
Theres an old saying that says "believe half of what you see and none of what you read." Your reliance on "articles" for your factsandtruth means you can't tell what facts and truth is. But theres another saying that says "believe your own eyes" and thats the one most people rely on so as the old saying goes "the truth will win out." And Wilkquig can't hide the truth forever. So I'll not argue with you any longer. I'll just put out the facts as I see them. But I can't resist. Wilkquig isn't a Disney ...more
By facts man (148), east hampton on Jul 24, 11 10:48 AM
Facts Man you are right when you say the truth will win out. We saw the truth win out when for 3 years the Democrats and McGintee said there was nothing wrong with the town's finances and that the town had plenty of surplus and everything was under control. The truth did win out. The truth came out about the Democrat/McGintee/ Loewen/Foster/Hults financial mess, the truth about the Democrats continued support (through letters and campaign contributions) of McGintee to keep him in office when the ...more
By factsandtruth (42), East Hampton on Jul 24, 11 11:07 AM
facts and truth is pretty much on the mark.There are, by my count, 11 former town board members and 4 former supervisors still living in East Hampton. Six of them still work in government. And I dare say based on my dealings with all of them they would agree (with the exception of three) with facts and truth and chuckle at Facts Man's comments. These are the people who have been there and know about all the good and all the bad. They know through experience that the McGintee group undid much ...more
By formertbm (76), east hampton on Jul 24, 11 4:17 PM
Speculate all you want as to who I am then you don't need to discuss the facts about Wilkquig. You say he was forced to make the hard choices by McG. et ala. And I'll concede the point that hard choices needed to be made but Wilkquig chose the path that caused the most harm to those who could least bear it. And to make matters worse the choices he made benifited himself and those with the ability to do for themselves. This was done,by him with full knowledge and malice. So explain just one to all ...more
By facts man (148), east hampton on Jul 24, 11 8:48 PM