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Jun 17, 2009 2:56 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Four candidates are seeking two open seats in Westhampton Beach election

Jun 17, 2009 2:56 PM

The four candidates in this year’s Westhampton Beach Village election come from all walks of life: Stephen Arrasate is a retired Southampton Town Police officer, Hank Tucker and Elyse Richman own local businesses, and Joan Levan is a retired Manhattan executive.

Given their varied backgrounds, it is not surprising that they have different opinions on village issues, such as a proposed religious boundary for Orthodox Jews called an eruv, and Westhampton Beach Police Chief Ray Dean’s expired contract. They also have one thing in common—a desire to secure one of two open trustee seats on the five-member Village Board.

Ms. Levan, 69, and Mr. Tucker, 48, are the incumbents and both are running as members of the Lightning Party, a name chosen in order to distance themselves from the First Hampton Party and Mayor Conrad Teller. Both Ms. Levan and Mr. Tucker ran on that party line in 2007, when both sought election for the first time.

Ms. Richman, 48, is running on the Shock Party, which is named after the three businesses she owns in Westhampton Beach: Shock, a women’s clothing store; Baby Shock, a children’s clothing store; and Shock Ice Cream, an ice cream parlor.

The fourth challenger, Mr. Arrasate, is a lifelong village resident and a member of the Westhampton Beach Architectural Review Board. He is running as a member of the Osprey Party.

Village Board members serve two-year terms and each earns

a salary of $5,710 per year. They can also receive full medical and dental benefits. Registered voters can cast their ballots on Friday, June 19, between noon and 9 p.m., at Village Hall on Mill Road.

Stephen Arrasate

A Westhampton Beach native already involved with multiple community groups, Mr. Arrasate said he hopes to add the hefty responsibility of being a village trustee to his demanding schedule. Mr. Arrasate, a retired Southampton Town Police officer, has served on the village’s Architectural Review Board since 2007 and said that he is prepared to relinquish that role if elected to the board of trustees.

“I like doing the ARB board,” Mr. Arrasate said, adding that Mayor Teller asked him to serve on that board in 2007. “I’ve worked on a few residences and signs and we’re trying to keep everything looking the same.”

Mr. Arrasate, the current president of the Southampton Town PAL and a member of the Westhampton Beach Fire Department for 24 years, said he has no specific projects in mind if he wins his first bid for office. Rather, he said he would work with his fellow board members to resolve divisive issues in the village.

Topping that list is the Hampton Synagogue’s withdrawn application that seeks the village’s permission to create a religious boundary in Westhampton Beach, one that would be demarcated by black plastic pipes affixed to telephone poles. The application was pulled by the synagogue in May 2008, and the synagogue has not indicated when it would refile the application.

Though he declined to state his opinion of the eruv, Mr. Arrasate said he realizes that a majority of village residents oppose the application. “I will do what the people of Westhampton Beach want,” Mr. Arrasate said, adding that he would like to do more research on the subject. “It’s not my personal opinion that counts.”

In regard to the ongoing contract negotiations involving Chief Dean, Mr. Arrasate said he would need more specifics before offering his opinion. However, he noted that Chief Dean’s total compensation, which includes a base salary of $149,624 and more than $50,000 in benefits, is on par with what other East End police chiefs make.

Mr. Arrasate is divorced and his two children—Skyler, 11, and Samantha, 9—attend the Westhampton Beach School District.

Elyse Richman

This year marks the third time that Westhampton Beach businesswoman Elyse Richman is making a bid for village trustee, even though last year’s attempt was largely derailed after her petitions were invalidated, forcing her to run as a write-in candidate.

She said she is running for trustee again because she is concerned about the current direction of the village, as both a homeowner and businesswoman. Ms. Richman has owned her Main Street business Shock for more than 20 years, and has owned Baby Shock and Shock Ice Cream for about 10 years. Her son, Maxwell, 9, attends Westhampton Beach Elementary School.

“I’m dedicated to the village,” said Ms. Richman, adding that, if elected, she would like to serve as the board’s liaison to the business district. “I want to keep the charm while, at the same time, continue the growth we need to grow and change.”

Ms. Richman, the only candidate who worships at the Hampton Synagogue, said she thinks the synagogue’s request for an eruv is a “non-issue” right now because the application has been withdrawn. She declined to give her opinion of the religious boundary.

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So where's the Press's endorsement. We need their opinion.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 16, 09 2:03 PM
EastEnd68:
Endorsements will be in this week's print edition of The Press. All editorials, columns, letters and other op-ed items are in the print edition only.
By Joseph Shaw, Executive Editor (201), Hampton Bays on Jun 16, 09 2:22 PM
Thank you
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 16, 09 2:56 PM
Correction :
I never ran on the First Hampton Party, The mayor and I ran on The New Direction Party that year.
I had no affiliation with the First Hampton Party . Come out Friday and do the right thing for this village!!!
Peace
Elyse
By shock (70), whb on Jun 16, 09 9:27 PM
Elyse: My apologies for the error. I just corrected the story and it should update shortly. Thank you.
By Frank Costanza (19), Westhampton Beach on Jun 17, 09 9:09 AM
Let's stop the division , personal agendas, power playing, headlines and all the behind closed doors politics,bring our village back to the peaceful place we were.Two candidates have run a campaign with honesty,and desire no more than to serve the village in the same manner, there has been no antics. Two candidates have been on the board and are running a campaign that has put us on the front page of Newsday,and now has brought the fear of the Erv back, though they said it would not be an issue.They ...more
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Jun 17, 09 9:32 AM
Get it straight. Arrasate is Disabled & collecting disability incomes, not retired & to date is not divorced from his second wife.
By DisablednotRetired (1), Westhampton on Jun 17, 09 9:48 AM
what has being disabled and divorced have to do with his ability to serve the village in a fair and honest way?
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Jun 17, 09 10:14 AM
Now this is ridiculous, Are there going to be new requirements to run for office in WHB , by the way I am a single mother . They keep giving the village voters more reasons to keep it real, WHB come out and Vote for our sanity !!
Peace
Elyse
By shock (70), whb on Jun 17, 09 10:53 AM
I'm with you Elyse,this is getting crazy. You have my vote, as does Arrasate,I wish you both good luck,we need you to bring back sanity to the village.
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Jun 17, 09 11:32 AM
1 member liked this comment
To DisablednotRetired:

So, unless Mr. Arrasate was widowed or had his first marriage annulled, then he was actually be as the profile states, "divorced," right?

But any of that impacts on the election how?
By Frank Wheeler (1796), Northampton on Jun 17, 09 1:10 PM
Much has been made by the Levan/Tucker campaign of the Police Chief's salary and what was incorrectly referred to as "accumulated overtime" in their campaign letter of June 12.
What they should have said was "accumulated comp time."
For a fuller explanation of the comp time issue please follow this link:

http://whbqt.info/template_permalink.asp?id=784

Yes, the Chief is paid a lot of money, but it is only about 20% more than are the Sergeants with their overtime. I doubt ...more
By Victor Levy (5), Westhampton Beach on Jun 17, 09 5:19 PM
On Tuesday of this week a local blogger who vociferously supports the election of Stephan Arrasate stated that the Press had rejected an advertisement that had been submitted by a person who supports the incumbents in this election. That was reasonable under the circumstances as explainded by Mr Shaw:

“The Press did, in fact, refuse to accept an advertisement, ostensibly from the First Hampton Party, for the current (June 18) edition--but only because the party placing the ad refused to ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jun 17, 09 6:09 PM
publius
I directed readers to the blog because I didn't want to break your record for the longest posts. While I may disagree with some points, you are always civil in their presentation.
I did not intimate that others are carrying time over their contract limitation, I stated it. I also stated that village department heads have been paid for comp time which exceeds their contract limitation, and then the accumulated comp time is reduced by th amount paid or "burned up" . Reread what I ...more
By Victor Levy (5), Westhampton Beach on Jun 17, 09 6:35 PM
Mr. Levy,

you have argued that comp. time can not just disappear. In truth, it can. Employees in all walks of life have contracts that provide if you don't use vacation time in a calendar year, it is lost. The limitation on the accumulation of comp. time is the same. The better practice for good employee relations would be for management (in this instance the Mayor) to stay on top of the issue, address it immediately, and make sure an employee was not surprised when excess comp. time ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jun 17, 09 7:25 PM
Wow, this section seems to have suddenly been comandeered by a couple of long-winded gas bags -- except Mr. Levy upon examination has way less gas than substance while the Commenter who posts as "Publius" has over the past several days, in the colloquial of the day, "lost it."

After Publius' increasingly disjointed Comments which led to the appearance of Mr. Shaw, it appears that Mr. Shaw acknowledged that a political campaign advertisement intended for publication this week WAS rejected ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1796), Northampton on Jun 17, 09 10:02 PM
Mr. Wheeler and all others who post:

I would like to issue a friendly challenge that we all post comments that are constructive, thoughtful and made with every effort to be polite. The Press has afforded us a forum with their online paper that is valuable to everyone.

Maybe in doing so we can model more decorous behavior for those who run for public office, and at the same time discuss issues with a reasonable measure of civility.

I know it is easy to fire off an e-mail ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jun 17, 09 11:03 PM
Pulius,I find your four paragraph doe-see-doe suggesting an enhanced decorun for those who post here as a possible model for political candidates, completely non-responsive to the question directly posed to you.

I'll refrain from speculating why you didn't wish to answer, but your disinterest in providing a straightworward "yes," "no" or "partly" disappoints, and you have enhanced the Beach blog's credibili, while down-grading your own.

I can only hope that you have not run Mr. ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1796), Northampton on Jun 18, 09 1:26 AM
Mr. Wheeler,
do you remember the commercials years ago "When E.F. Hunton speaks everybody listens." They knew that people like to take mental short cuts. Many people want to rely upon a persons reputation (hearsay) when they decide whether to accept an argument rather than wade into the nitty gritty. I am not going to offer my personal standing (or lack of it) as a yard stick to measure my arguments. The use of pen name eliminates the short cut, my posts should be taken at face value for ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jun 18, 09 8:06 AM
¡Olé!
By Frank Wheeler (1796), Northampton on Jun 18, 09 4:01 PM
The Press has reported on the favorable prognosis for Mr. Tucker’s temporary eye problem. Is there a report with respect to Mr. Arrasate’s physical condition?

Is candidate Arrasate on a disability retirement from the Southampton Police Department?

Disabled people perform many important jobs and often do so better than many people who do not handicapped. That is not the question.

The real question is If candidate Arrasate is unable to perform even light duty as a police ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jun 19, 09 7:52 AM
What are you trying to imply?
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Jun 19, 09 8:02 AM
Wow!

No wonder Publius/Palmer wants to remain in the closet!

Now quaint little Westhampton Beach is anti-Americans-with-Disabilities as well as anti-semitic?

This is assuming that Publius has some 11th hour special information that no one else has. All I see in the above profile is that he is "a retired Southampton Town Police officer," nothing about being disabled.

This "partisan" supporter of the incumbents must be real fearful that his darlings are at risk ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1796), Northampton on Jun 19, 09 9:16 AM
Levan, Tucker, and their supporters sound desparate this morning
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 19, 09 11:28 AM
It is obvious that the Levan Tucker ticket is very nervous, and now that Publius has pulled out the disability card we can really see how nervous they are. Police departments usually seek to retire officers who suffer disability injuries, and in Steve Arrasate’s case it was not Steve, but the Town of Southampton who filed for his disability retirement. Municipalities have probably decided that it is cheaper to have people other than police officers doing clerical work.

He can easily perform ...more
By Victor Levy (5), Westhampton Beach on Jun 19, 09 11:36 AM
The implication is that the Press felt it relevant to speak about Mr. Tucker's health, but remained silent about Mr. Arrasate's disability as it has now been reported by Mr. Levy above. In my post I raised questions, Mr. Levy now makes assertions about the nature of the disability. Mr. Levy also states that former Trustee Mark Raynor "had a similar situation."

Why couldn't this have been addressed by the newspaper, as it did with Mr. Tucker?

Why couldn't this have been addressed ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jun 19, 09 11:57 AM
Publius,

Desperation is a stinky cologne.

Your comment as to trustee hopeful Arrasate’s disability is comical. There is a fine line between going to work each day with a gun attached to your hip and performing the duties of a village trustee. Frank Wheeler has already made the connection, but you may want to familiarize yourself with H.W.’s Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Man, so what’s next? I mean, with the path you’re travelling now, you’ll be calling him ...more
By Woody (15), Westhampton Beach on Jun 19, 09 12:09 PM
There is nothing defamatory about asking questions when no one is giving answers.

Maybe Mr. Arrasate could make a guest appearance and answer some of these questions.

The questions of the incumbents are fast and furious, and they should be. Why is someone who wants their job exempt from inquiry?
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jun 19, 09 12:28 PM
I think Mr. Levy answered your question thoroughly
By Woody (15), Westhampton Beach on Jun 19, 09 12:44 PM
Publius

You are the one who began the comment on Mr. Arrasate’s retirement that includes some disability. In rereading the interview with Mr. Tucker, I see the Press reported what Mr. Tucker related to them about his eye condition. A one minute phone conversation with Mr. Arrasate this morning gave me the exact information I posted about his retirement. Publius, you are the person who made the insinuation that there is some evil connection between a disability retirement from a police officers ...more
By Victor Levy (5), Westhampton Beach on Jun 19, 09 1:11 PM
Mr. Levy,

between your posts on Mr. Speir's webpage and here, it appears you have no objection to paying employees for comp. time carried in excess of that permitted by their respective contracts. You also argue that a "retirement that includes some disability" is not a matter for public inquiry.

You contend by asking question I "made the insinuation that there is some evil connection between a disability retirement from a police officers job and running for trustee." That could ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jun 19, 09 2:56 PM
The point is, some people hold themselves to higher standards than that.
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jun 19, 09 4:45 PM
Certainly you don't mean to imply that Hank and Joan hold themselves to a higher standard! Talk about questions, why were they afraid to debate in public,why was Joans' name on that check, and on and on! You are desperate, trying to bring in a disability into the election,how do you suggest he wouldn't be able to perform as a trustee,you make no sense! He is an honest candidate,more than I can say for Joan and Hank,perhaps dishonesty is their disability!You have Vic Levy telling you the facts you ...more
By curious (77), westhampton beach on Jun 19, 09 6:33 PM
well ... the results are in ....
Arrasate - 182
Richman - 140
Levan - 332
Tucker - 380
INCUMBENTS ARE BACK
By T.J. (29), WHB on Jun 19, 09 10:08 PM
Good luck, Elyse!!! The town needs you on the board!!
By JulieJ (2), Westhampton on May 17, 14 11:47 AM
Do you realize this article is almost 5 years old?
By PBR (4872), Southampton on May 17, 14 12:56 PM
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