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Jun 2, 2010 1:42 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

League will host Westhampton Beach Village candidates' debate on Monday, June 7

Jun 2, 2010 1:42 PM

For the first time in five years, there will be a debate among candidates running for seats on the Westhampton Beach Village Board.

The League of Women Voters of the Hamptons announced this week that it will host a public debate for the five candidates—three for trustee and two for mayor—at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 7, in the auditorium of Westhampton Beach High School, 49 Lilac Road, Westhampton Beach. The election is Friday, June 18.

The mayor’s position and two trustee seats, all two-year terms, are up for grabs this year, and all five candidates are expected to participate in the debate. Mayor Conrad Teller will face his challenger, Village Trustee Hank Tucker. Trustees Toni-Jo Birk and political newcomers Charlie Palmer and Leola “Sue” Farrell also will attend.

Mayor Teller, who is running on the Village Unity Party line with Ms. Birk and Ms. Farrell, said he isn’t much of a debater but he is “willing to give it a whirl.” He participated in a debate in 2005 when he was making his first bid for trustee.

Mr. Tucker, who faces his first debate, said it is important for people to attend “so residents can hear what I have to say and make an informed decision.” Mr. Tucker’s term as a village trustee does not expire until next year. He is running by himself on the Lightning Party line.

Ms. Birk and Ms. Farrell said it is important for all of the candidates to participate. “I hope people can come and I hope good questions are asked,” Ms. Birk said.

Mr. Palmer, an independent candidate running on the Liberty Party line, said he is going to make himself available after the debate to answer any other questions residents might have. Even if residents don’t ask questions, Mr. Palmer said, it is good for them to come and listen. “It’s a good informational venue,” he said.

The debate is being organized by Anne Marshall, the league’s chairwoman of voter services. The format will included opening and closing statements from the candidates and questions from a panel appointed by the League. Audience members will also be allowed to submit questions. League member Joy Lupole will moderate the questions, and President Carol Mellor will be the on-site organizer.

Ms. Marshall said any political debate between candidates running for public office is very important. “We’re always very, very pleased to organize, run and sponsor a debate,” she said.

The last debate between candidates for the Westhampton Beach Village Board was in 2005, when five people battled for two spots on the Village Board. They were candidate Teller, trustees Ridgie Barnett and Mark Raynor, and challengers Rob Rubio, Michael Chih and Elyse Richman. The debate was sponsored by The Press and the now defunct Westhampton/Dune Road Civic Association.

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Isn't the Southampton Press involved with his?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on May 27, 10 3:45 PM
What are the chances that this can be done fairly and ethically and honestly?
By barnbabe (64), westhampton beach on May 28, 10 2:23 PM
Slim
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on May 28, 10 9:32 PM
If the League of Women Voters is running the debate, there is every likelihood that it will be done fairly, ethically and honestly. They have an excellent track record.
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on May 30, 10 6:35 PM
Is Joan Levan involved with the League of Woman Voters?????
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on May 30, 10 8:56 PM
Not to my knowledge, but if she were a member, they'd wall her off, as a public official, from any involvement in the debate. They're very strict about that.
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on May 31, 10 12:34 PM
yup,she joined just in time for this election,and is allowing her boy to debate,imagine that!!!she wouldn't debate when she was running,wonder why!!!!!!!let's just hope the web of joan doesn't get to these ladies and it's a good honest debate........from the letter from steve mcmannus,the issues should be interesting.,.could even mean the truth will come out.......imagine that!!!!!!!!
By curious (77), westhampton beach on May 31, 10 12:36 PM
Well lets see what is going to happen and lets see how strict about it as"fidelis"stated
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 2, 10 9:59 PM
I am sure we can trust the League to run a very good debate without any interference from Joan. The League of Womens Voter has an outstanding reputation.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 2, 10 4:14 PM
So did your Village Board at one point. Then came Joan Levan.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 3, 10 10:32 AM
3 members liked this comment
Good point!!!
By barnbabe (64), westhampton beach on Jun 3, 10 5:50 PM
No, it's not a good point, it's just Frank Wheeler's usual trash talk. First, the Westhampton Beach Trustees didn't all of a sudden discover bickering with the arrival of Joan Levan. This sort of thing has happened on and off as long as there's been a Village, so let's not be giving them an "outstanding reputation" that they don't have.
Second, the League of Women Voters, by contrast, does have an outstanding reputation, as EastEnd68 rightly notes. If in fact Ms. Levan is a member, there's ...more
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on Jun 3, 10 10:47 PM
I will agree with you that the board has been bickering before Joan Levan but she has not helped this town in any way.
I all so agree with you about Frank Wheeler and his "end less" trash talk and that he is a bitter man but we will have to talk at another time weather he has a brain or not since I am not sure.
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Jun 5, 10 6:50 PM
sjd-in the 3rd grade I was taught the difference between whether and weather
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 6, 10 3:54 PM
Fourth grade: "also" and "all so," and "endless" instead of "end less." But why quibble?
By barnbabe (64), westhampton beach on Jun 6, 10 8:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Most boards bicker from time to time, but the level of disrespect the maverick trustees have displayed to the Westhampton Beach Mayor, the village police chief, the village attorney, and the public in general has been unprecedented. They must not have learned when they were young to play nicely and be courteous.
By Fabiola (11), Southampton on Jun 6, 10 9:39 PM
get rid of all of them and start over
By john o (34), southampton on Jun 8, 10 9:36 AM
Don't want to break my arm patting myself on the back or anything, but I was right. The debate's been held, and it was an unqualified triumph for the League of Women Voters. No fireworks, no nonsense, just the candidates airing their views, and answering audience questions. Sure, they argued and criticized each other, but it was all reasonably polite, and you could listen to the arguments without being distracted by a lot of emotional noise. Just as I predicted, the League ran it fairly, ethically ...more
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on Jun 11, 10 9:19 PM