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Developer still wants to build 60 condos in Speonk

Nellie: Same question as I posed re Terry's comment above. Do you have a specific reply to my specific comment, or are you just going to go on about "lame ducks"? " Feb 5, 10 5:30 PM

Mr. Wheeler: [1] "Unanimous public outcry" is the correct term -- look at the minutes of the relevant Town Board meeting. [2] Stop toying with my screen name, Petey. [3] You're quite wrong about my voting record. [4] If you "have no idea who Bill Berkoski is", maybe you ought to study up before posting a comment, given that Bill Berkoski is the subject of the discussion." Feb 5, 10 5:37 PM

Moody's downgrades Southampton Town's bond rating

This is the legacy of years of fiscal misrule by the Heaney and Kabot administrations, one more bit of fallout from the financial disaster caused by their inattention and incompetence. It's what happens when either party holds power for too long. The important thing now is for Southampton voters not to prolong the agony by giving the Republicans a 4-to-1 Town Board majority in the March 9 special election. A vote for Bridget Fleming, endorsed by the Democrats and the Independence Party, will give us a badly needed new voice in Town government. Let's not reward the people who lost a lot of our money by electing more of them to office." Feb 19, 10 4:07 PM

Southampton Town Board candidates square off in first debate

And also, where's the report on the third debate, held last night, Feb 24?" Feb 25, 10 11:07 AM

Let's look at the facts:
[1] Bridget Fleming's background is in law -- DA's office, welfare fraud, mediation, local practice. Bill Hughes's background is in the police and the military, where it's all about orders and discipline. Seems like Ms. Fleming's far better suited than Mr. Hughes to the Town Board, with its give-and-take, compromise and debate.
[2] Bill Hughes says he's a conservative, but he's not endorsed by the Conservative Party. How come?
[3] Bill Hughes is a policeman, but he's not endorsed by any police associations. (Bridget Fleming is endorsed by the Southampton Town PBA and the New York and Suffolk County Police Conferences.) How come?
[4] Republicans and Conservatives on the Town Board repudiated their agreements about a full public screening for the Planning Board and jammed their guy through over unanimous public opposition. That wouldn't have happened if Bridget Fleming had been on the Board.
[5] Republicans and Conservatives on the Town Board (Messrs. Nuzzi and Malone) incredibly declined a full grant to hire a needed Sustainability Coordinator at no cost, thereby jeopardizing the grant and depriving the Town of an important service. Bridget Fleming would have voted for it.
[6] Messrs. Nuzzi and Malone, also incredibly, abstained on the vote to re-appoint Comptroller Tamara Wright, making this excellent public servant wait to see if she'd keep her job. Had Ms. Fleming been on the Board, her vote would have carried the day for Ms. Wright in the first instance.
[7] The Highway Superintendent's request for money to pave the roads was effectively cut almost in half by Messrs. Nuzzi & Malone, forcing him to return later in the year, hat in hand, even though no one questioned the accuracy of the figure he requested or the need for the work. Ms. Fleming would have joined Anna Throne-Holst and Nancy Graboski in making full provision up front for the care of our roads.
[8] Bridget Fleming's endorsement by Congressman Tim Bishop and Assemblyman Fred Thiele is a clear sign that she has a better shot than Bill Hughes at getting federal and state money for Southampton.
[9] Besides the above, Bridget Fleming is backed by the Democratic Party, the Independence Party, Supervisor ATH, the LI federation of Labor, Trustee Bill Pell, Hwy. Sup. Alex Gregor, & the LI Environmental Voters Forum. Bill Hughes, on the other hand, claims NO endorsements outside of the Republican Party. How come?

Quod erat demonstrandum. " Mar 1, 10 3:33 PM

Moody's downgrades Southampton Town's bond rating

This downgrade shows clearly that we aren't by any means out of the woods yet on the Republican money fiasco. It really is painful to realize that we taxpayers will continue to pay for this crowd's misdeeds through increased debt service, in addition to all the other ways it continues to hit us.
There couldn't be a plainer indication that we need to elect Democratic & Independence Party candidate Bridget Fleming to the Town Board in the March 9th special election. Ms. Fleming is running against Republican Bill Hughes. She's an experienced attorney, a prosecutor, mediator, former Chief of the Manhattan DA's Welfare Fraud Unit, currently practicing in Sag Harbor. Mr. Hughes, despite a very distinguished record in the Air Force and the Southampton Town Police, is a member of the same Republican Party that put us in the hole for $5 million (whence the Moody's downgrade). It doesn't make sense to elect another one of these guys.
This may be why Bridget Fleming has a page-long string of endorsements, while Bill Hughes doesn't profess to have any endorsement other than that of the Republican Party. Though he's a policeman, none of the police unions or groups have endorsed him (they've all backed Ms. Fleming). Though he's a conservative, the Conservative Party hasn't even endorsed him. It makes you wonder about Bill Hughes's people skills.
Also, we have three Republicans/Conservatives on the Town Board now. Do we need yet another, to handicap the Supervisor completely? I don't think so. Vote for Fleming on March 9th. " Mar 1, 10 3:59 PM

Thank you, Observant, for the positive comments and thanks also for the pertinent caution that straight factual material can lose credibility if coupled with partisan spin. Along that line, I'm willing to concede that Skip Heaney bears a far larger share of the responsibility for our sorry state than does Linda Kabot, and that Ms. Kabot did take remedial steps beginning in 2009. I can't wholly absolve her, however, because at that time she had held high office in Southampton for thirteen years, first as Executive Assistant to a Supervisor (acknowledged to be Vince Cannuscio's right hand), then as a Town Board member, and finally as Supervisor herself. It seems she has to take part of the blame, if only for not discovering the mess sooner -- how large a part is an open question.
You are spot-on in describing Bill Hughes's ludicrous homage to Skip Heaney as a "cruel joke". Mr. Hughes harms his cause quite a lot by stating that he'll be guided by Heaney's example.
I said above that we don't need yet another Republican/Conservative on the Town Board to add to the three that are already there. Events of just this " Mar 2, 10 1:32 PM

Sorry, cut myself off there. Picking up from what's posted immediately above, I was saying that events of just this year furnish specific examples of why we should elect Bridget Fleming to the Town Board instead of Bill Hughes, who is more of the same Republican/Conservative obstructionism:
[1] Republicans and Conservatives on the Town Board repudiated their agreements about a full public screening for prospective Planning Board members and jammed their guy through over unanimous public opposition. That wouldn't have happened if Bridget Fleming had been on the Board.
[2] Republicans and Conservatives on the Town Board (Messrs. Nuzzi & Malone) incredibly declined a full grant to hire a needed Sustainability Coordinator at no cost, thereby jeopardizing the grant and depriving the Town of an important service. Bridget Fleming would have voted for it, while Bill Hughes has stated he would have voted with the opponents.
[3] Messrs. Nuzzi & Malone. also incredibly, abstained on the vote to re-appoint Comptroller Tamara Wright, making this excellent public servant wait to see if she'd keep her job. Had Ms. Fleming been on the Board, her vote would have carried the day for Ms. Wright in the first instance.
[4] The Highway Superintendent's request for money to pave the roads was effectively cut almost in half by Messrs. Nuzzi & Malone, forcing him to return later in the year, hat in hand, even though no one questioned the accuracy of the amount he requested or the need for the work. Ms. Fleming would have joined Anna Throne-Holst and Nancy Graboski in making full provision up front for the care of our roads. Mr. Hughes says he would not have.
It's clear from these examples that the idea of "balance on the Town Board" is more than just a nice theoretical concept; it has serious practical consequences, and we badly need it. Vote for Fleming on March 9th." Mar 2, 10 1:54 PM

Southampton Town Board candidates face off in final debate

Let me try to get us back to the main line of discussion. I submit that we need Bridget Fleming on the Town Board because the present line-up is already too heavily weighed on the Republican/Conservative side, and it will become 4-to-1 if Bill Hughes is elected. To give some idea of why balance is needed, we should be aware that, if Ms. Fleming had been on the Board this year, we would have had: an open and public process for Planning Board appointments, full up-front provision of sufficient funds for vital road maintenance, a much-needed Sustainability Coordinator for nothing (funded by an outside grant), and immediate retention of the best Comptroller the Town has ever had. As it turned out, without Ms. Fleming, but with the obstruction of the Republican/Conservative majority, the Planning Board seat went to a crony unanimously opposed by the public at the meeting, the care of our roads will be done piecemeal and possibly not completely, the grant for the Sustainability Coordinator we failed to hire is now at risk of lapsing, and the Comptroller had to wait to see if she still had a job (and might have been lost to us). Bill Hughes has indicated both specific and general agreement with the philosophy of Chris Nuzzi and Jim Malone, the present Board members responsible for these multiple mistakes. We really don't need to make it a super-majority for the crowd that has already done more than enough damage to Southampton. Bridget Fleming is clearly the better candidate. " Mar 2, 10 4:36 PM

I feel like a hall monitor here, trying to get the kids back into the classroom. Back on topic (once more), which topic is the coming special election, we've got a smart, dedicated lawyer with a splendid record (Bridget Fleming), against a strong, high-ranking police officer, also with a splendid record (Bill Hughes). There are other similarities between these two honorable citizens who want to serve on our Town Board.
There are also differences. For one, electing Bill Hughes will mean a 4-to-1 super-majority for the Republican/Conservatives on the Town Board, while choosing Ms. Fleming will mean that we'll hear some different voices and different ideas over the next four years. Before I'm accused of repeating myself, be aware that this isn't the same as saying the Republicans have done a lot of damage so we shouldn't elect another one, which I've said above. That's still true, but I'm trying to stress a different aspect of it here, a more positive aspect -- the idea that in the search for practical, down-to-earth solutions that is the essence of local government, we benefit greatly by having a mix of ideas, approaches and suggestions, and we're much more likely to get that if we put people with different viewpoints on the Town Board. Let's get Ms. Fleming in there so it's not all from the one playbook.
The other difference between these two candidates is that Bridget Fleming is publicly backed by everybody and his dog, while Bill Hughes has not gotten the blessing of anyone outside of the Republican Party. More amazing, this conservative policeman can't get the endorsement of either the police or the Conservative Party. This one, I admit, is a repetition, but it's such a strong point I believe it's worth repeating. It really raises questions about Bill Hughes's ability to work with people and form productive relationships, and if he can't do that, he doesn't belong on the Southampton Town Board. " Mar 3, 10 2:51 PM

Local politicians consider congressional campaign

Are you serious? Jim Malone is still holding on to that job? I'm shocked! Shocked!" Mar 3, 10 4:14 PM

Southampton Town Board tables hiring of sustainability coordinator

If Bridget Fleming had been on the Town Board, this wouldn't have happened. Ms. Fleming has stated that she would have joined Anna Throne-Holst and Nancy Graboski in voting for the no-brainer good deal represented by this proposal. That's a small part of why I'm backing Bridget Fleming over Bill Hughes in the March 9 special election for a Town Board seat. " Mar 4, 10 10:55 AM

Southampton Town Board candidates face off in final debate

OK, just this morning, the Southampton Press endorsed Bridget Fleming over Bill Hughes for Town Board, saying she would "provide a counterbalance on a board leaning hard to the right", and that "Ms. Fleming's focus is on creating jobs, and she has already taken steps to meet with officials at the state and national levels to talk about what can be done." Good pick.
The letters in today's Press are 7-to-2 in favor of Bridget Fleming. I'm counting Dorothy Reilly's letter in the Fleming column because Ms. Reilly begins by naming Fleming (and not Hughes) among those "understanding the issues" about sustainability, and ends by urging people to vote for someone "who understands these issues well."
Of the two letters favoring Bill Hughes, one was written by a police captain colleague of his, and the other by Republican Town Board member Nancy Graboski, who often acts independently, but is still a loyal party soldier. To be fair, one of the seven Fleming letters was by her husband.
Also being fair, I note that Phil Keith's column endorsed Mr. Hughes, but the title of that column ("Mostly Right") and its track record tell the story there.
All in all, it looks like the Press and its readers are trending toward Bridget Fleming and joining the many who have endorsed her already. " Mar 4, 10 12:16 PM

Southampton Town Board candidates square off in first debate

Hey, guess what, folks? The Southampton Press endorsed Bridget Fleming for Town Board in today's issue, and also printed seven letters to the editor favoring Fleming versus two for Bill Hughes. You can't take it to the bank, but when you add this to all the other endorsements Ms. Fleming has received, it's got to mean something." Mar 4, 10 6:44 PM

Moody's downgrades Southampton Town's bond rating

Maybe we'll actually get some small relief from the Republican mismanagement that so concerned Moody's -- the Southampton Press today endorsed Bridget Fleming for Town Board, saying she'll "provide counterbalance on a board leaning hard to the right" (amen), and "Ms Fleming's focus is on creating jobs, and she has already taken steps to meet with officials at the state and national levels to talk about what can be done."
So, there it is. The Press joins the parade of endorsers for Bridget Fleming. Endorsements don't guarantee election by any means, but if people stop and think why it is that Ms. Fleming has all these expressions of support while her opponent, Bill Hughes, has no formal endorsements other than the Republican Party, it has to give them pause.
Then, if the voters also ask themselves the common-sense question, "Why should we hire more plumbers from the same company that gave us all these leaks?", well, it becomes clearer and clearer that Bridget Fleming is the one to pick." Mar 4, 10 7:01 PM

Southampton Town Board candidates face off in final debate

Pro yes, con no. Their policy for the last issue before an election is not to print letters attacking a candidate, but they will and do print positive letters in favor of a candidate. Those are the nine letters to which I'm referring, seven of which favor Ms. Fleming." Mar 6, 10 9:31 PM

Moody's downgrades Southampton Town's bond rating

I'm puzzled by what Nellie means by "the Independent's weak endorsement" of Bridget Fleming. Granted, they mentioned a tendency to platitudes that are not always right, but they also said "there is much to like about Fleming: she's obviously extremely bright, she honestly cares about the community, and she's a hard worker." The Independent also picked up on the theme that the Southampton Press stated in endorsing Ms. Fleming, which is that she will add a different voice from that of the Republicans and Conservatives, thus providing some badly-needed balance on our Town Board. This is a strong and unqualified endorsement; to call it "weak" as Nellie does is transparent spin." Mar 7, 10 10:19 AM

Special election today for Southampton Town Board seat

The better candidate is Bridget Fleming, because:
[1] Her experience as a prosecutor, local attorney, welfare fraud fighter, and mediator is better suited to the give-and-take of Town Board business than that of her opponent, Bill Hughes. His record, though distinguished, is in the military and the police, where it's all top-down, that's-an-order interaction, not nearly as good a fit for the debate and compromise of local government.
[2] Revitalizing our economy to generate jobs is vitally important, and Bridget Fleming has good and regular contact with Congressman Tim Bishop and Assemblyman Fred Thiele, both of whom have endorsed her, so that she's in a better position than Mr. Hughes to secure federal and state funding to aid Southampton.
[3] Besides Messrs. Bishop and Thiele, Bridget Fleming's backers include the Democratic Party, the Independence Party, the Southampton Press, the Sag Harbor Express, The Independent newspaper, the Long Island Environmental Voters Forum, the LI Federation of Labor, the Southampton Town Patrolmen's Benevolent Assn., and the New York and Suffolk County Police Conferences. The only endorsement claimed by Bill Hughes is that of the Republican Party.
[4] A longtime policeman who calls himself a "proud conservative", Bill Hughes does not have the backing of either the police organizations or the Conservative Party, which raises concern about his ability to work effectively with people outside his circle, if he can't even get the support of people within his circle.
[5] Electing Bridget Fleming will bring much-needed balance to our Town Board. At present, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst is completely stymied by the 3-to-1 Republican/Conservative majority. If Mr. Hughes wins, it will be 4-to-1, and nothing will be accomplished. Ms. Fleming represents a voice other than the same crowd that has run things for too long.
[6] Republican mismanagement has put Southampton in the deficit hole by $5 million. Why hire Bill Hughes, another plumber from the same company that gave us these leaks? " Mar 9, 10 10:31 AM

Southampton Town Board candidates face off in final debate

If you want a change from politics as usual, vote for Bridget Fleming, who isn't from the same old crowd that has been running our town into the ground. Bill Hughes does give direct answers, but they're often the wrong answers. What might seem like indirect answers from Ms. Fleming are actually an honest expression of the fact that many local issues are complicated and don't lend themselves to simple Sesame Street answers." Mar 9, 10 10:42 AM

Moody's downgrades Southampton Town's bond rating

You're right in what you say in this last post, Nellie. My criticism was, as I think you know, about your speaking of "the Independent's weak endorsement" of Bridget Fleming. There, you were wrong. It was not at all weak, as I showed above, but you didn't respond to that. You tried some lame spin, and you were called out on it. No big deal. " Mar 9, 10 10:49 AM

Bridget Fleming wins vacant Southampton Town Board seat

It really had to come out this way, given all the factors we've been discussing for weeks. Warm congratulations and best wishes to Bridget Fleming on a well-earned win, and a special nod to Terry and DJ for their gracious words above. Classy comments, gents." Mar 10, 10 11:48 AM

Southampton Town department asks for money following capital budget mishap

"It was one of many errors that existed on a list of the town's authorized but unissued bonds." Again and again, we see that the simplest, most fundamental financial rules just weren't followed. It was more than a year ago that we started hearing about the damage caused by the failure to issue various bonds, and the auditors are still discovering new shortfalls stemming from this inexcusable negligence.
Before anyone accuses me of beating a dead horse by condemning the long, sad record of Republican mismanagement that has cost us so much money, just remember that the horse isn't dead -- he's still kicking us in places that we didn't know about yesterday, to judge from this story.
As far as I'm concerned, every time some new revelation like this emerges, I'm going to point the finger of blame right where it belongs -- at the sorry, cozy crowd that has run things with a wink and a nod for far too long. If the Republicans could at least manage the Town's affairs with some degree of competence, they would have that to their credit, even if it wouldn't be enough to make us overlook their cronyism, disdain for public opinion and gross neglect of our natural heritage. The sad fact is, however, that they can't even run things right. Instead, they have dropped $5 million of our money down the deficit hole, not by excessive spending, not by taking on too much debt, but by just plain losing it through inattention to basic accounting. It is a bad joke, and no one is laughing." Mar 16, 10 9:20 PM

Bishop will vote yes on health care reform bill

At the risk of putting Tim Bishop in even worse repute with the dead-enders, I'd guess it took neither the Obama carrot nor the Pelosi stick to bring him around. Tim Bishop is the kind of decent and thoughtful person who would come to supporting health care reform all by himself, because it's the right thing to do, a conclusion that the rest of the industrialized world reached some time ago.

It is time for America to catch up, and to stop letting the reactionary right act as a brake on us. Grimag speaks of "America as the greatest nation on earth", but he forgets that America got to be that by leading the way, not by shrinking back and clinging to the past. Good for you, Tim Bishop! " Mar 19, 10 4:47 PM

It's clear that there are strongly held viewpoints on this question. It's equally clear that those viewpoints are deeply divergent, demonstrating the great divide between those who care about their fellow man and those who don't. In my opinion, those who oppose this legislation fall in that second category -- they don't care about their fellow man, and in not caring, they defy all the moral and ethical teaching of Western civilization.

Among all the opponents, there are only two subgroups that I would exempt from this broad indictment: [1] Those who favor the bill, but are sincerely concerned with its cost, and they are misinformed because the cost is not as great as the unprincipled members of the opposition pretend, and it is a burden that must be borne in any event. [2] Those who believe the bill doesn't go far enough, and they are wrong to oppose it because the whole history of our democracy shows that compromise is essential to achieve progress.

There is a third subgroup among the anti's, those who believe the bill will somehow erode the prohibition against federal funding of abortion. They are now down to just a few holdouts, and I won't give them a pass, partly because I believe they're using the banner of Life to cloak a far wider rightist agenda, and partly because they have been publicly told, by a broad-based group of Roman Catholic nuns, who are on the front lines of health care, that they are wrong, that the bill is "life-affirming". To these self-proclaimed last-ditch defenders of life, I say you do not care at all about life if you do not care about your neighbor's health.

Tim Bishop does care. If highhatsize needs help carrying him in that parade, I'll be there. " Mar 20, 10 4:52 PM

Councilwoman Fleming privately sworn in Tuesday; ceremonial swearing-in planned

The comments here are (almost) all broadly positive and hopeful, and that's a good thing. We all wish Bridget Fleming well as a new Town Board member, and we all hope that partisan divisions will be subordinated to getting things accomplished for Southampton, but let's not put all the responsibility on Ms. Fleming to shed her party loyalty in the interest of harmony. It takes two to tango, right? Reaching across the aisle means there has to be someone on the other side to reach back.

So let me express the wish, not only that Bridget Fleming places the common good above strictly partisan interests, but that she finds willing partners in that endeavor. Anna Throne-Holst, with no party affiliation, should be a natural. On the Republican/Conservative side, Nancy Graboski has a proven and admirable record of doing just that, and there is every reason to hope she'll continue. Chris Nuzzi and Jim Malone, not so much. The votes of these members (in Mr. Malone's case, over just two stunningly obstructive months) give little reason for optimism.

Prove me wrong, gentlemen. No one expects you to embrace a down-the-line lefty Democratic agenda if that's what Bridget Fleming presents, but we know it won't be that. Judging by the nous of the recent Fleming campaign, we can expect practical, non-ideological, broadly supported measures to serve Southampton's common good. Join in that, give your input, help to mold it, even make it yours in a proper case. I'm not pulling a Mitch McConnell here and pretending to give you sincere, heartfelt good advice; on the contrary, I'm demanding that you do your jobs instead of continually putting up roadblocks as you've done all this year. Work with Bridget Fleming and the others, or be the Party of No. Your choice. " Mar 20, 10 5:43 PM

Reg rep, you ask for recent examples of obstruction by Messrs. Nuzzi and Malone. Here are some:

[1] They (incredibly) declined a full grant to appoint a needed sustainability coordinator at no cost, thereby jeopardizing the grant and depriving the Town of an important service.
[2] Also incredibly, both Mr. Nuzzi and Mr. Malone abstained on on the vote to re-appoint Tamara Wright as Comptroller, making this excellent public servant wait to see if she would keep her job.
[3] They reneged on prior commitments and blocked full public screening of Planning Board nominees, over unanimous public opposition.
[4] They defeated the designation of a full-time court officer for Justice Court, ignoring the expressed wish of everyone connected with that Court.
[5] They refused most of the Highway Superintendent's request for funds to pave our roads, making him return later in the year, hat in hand, though no one questioned the accuracy of the amount or the urgent need for the work.

Make no mistake, Chris Nuzzi and Jim Malone are sitting there like two old broken-down trucks in the middle of the road, blocking traffic. It's time for a tow." Mar 21, 10 11:36 AM

Bishop will vote yes on health care reform bill

"Demokrat party"? What's that about?" Mar 21, 10 4:58 PM

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