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3738 Comments by highhatsize

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Home in Mastic funded by Southampton Town Section 8 money shut down

To paulgabe1:

Agreed. Our correspondence is harmful to our characters." Feb 7, 10 9:52 PM

Questions are raised over Town Board candidate's fund-raising restrictions

'Oh, my!", he said, "How so?"" Feb 7, 10 10:07 PM

Southampton Town Comptroller Wright reappointed

To sansouci:

That much of a downgrade? What is the bond rating for the Town of Southampton at the present?

I suppose that it is possible but it wouldn't necessarily be bad for the Town. Initially, perhaps, but the shock might actually make the Town Council institute reforms in areas that have been heretofore sacrosanct." Feb 9, 10 2:47 AM

Westhampton Beach Village Board rejects all seven resolutions pertaining to two police officers

Has the report of the SCPD IAD been released to the press? (I believe that its substance was "leaked", but was it subsequently published?) It would be interesting to read its findings. As reported in the Southampton Press, the misconduct could be interpreted as malicious or simply a stupid prank that got out of hand.

I would assume that if Mayor Teller continues to move to reinstate the charges at Trustee Meetings, Toni-Jo Birk will eventually decline to second the motion in the interest of rationality. Otherwise, the inchoate resolutions will be repeated fecklessly at every meeting. So the issue will remain permanently unresolved.

If the voters had full information on the behavior of the accused officers, and that information indicated that the incident was, for instance, a macho practical joke gone wild, they might be more inclined to let the charges slide. At least, if motions were presented at the Trustees Meeting to: 1) Publish the findings, and, 2) Discuss the propriety of sanctions - the matter would be going forward.

A discussion of the findings by the Trustees would inform everyone of the nature of the misbehavior. Following such a discussion, the Trustees would be able to judge whether or not the public favored sanctioning the cops.

On another topic, several posters have recommended the disbanding of the Westhampton Beach PD.. While irrelevant to me personally because I don't live in Westhampton Beach, I think it's a bad idea. It is best to keep police forces as local as possible. If they are responsible to local elected officials, they pay attention to local problems. Residents of Greenport complain that the current Southold Town Police Department patrols are deficient when compared to the old Greenport cops but the Southold Town PD ignores these concerns because residents of Greenport are but a small part of its jurisdiction. Westhampton Beach can expect similar treatment by the Southampton Town Police Department. Nor will the Village save any money. The Southampton Town PD is ruinously expensive by comparison to the Westhampton Beach police department. Any savings derived from the elimination of duplicated facilities and services will be overwhelmed by the higher salaries.

Farcical as the Westhampton Beach PD may seem at the moment, it knows that it is responsible to a few thousand people rather than to tens of thousands. The police department needs to be professionalized, but disbanding it would be throwing the baby out with the bath water." Feb 9, 10 7:36 PM

To Publius:

Assuming that the report's confidentiality is protected by statute, could all the parties involved, (WB Board of Trustees, SCPD, and the accused WBPD patrolmen), waive confidentiality so as to make it publicly available?

I doubt if there is a legal process to compel the Trustees discipline the cops. Without full disclosure to the WB voters, the matter will fester; the accused cops remaining on restricted duty, until the seats of the Trustees in the majority come up for election. (I seem to remember that none of their terms expire soon.)

I am an outsider to Westhampton Beach so I don't know the nuances of this incident. Without knowing more, (social relationships, internal power struggles), it seems, on the face of it, as though the majority is protecting the cops from censure because it doesn't think their behavior merits the punishment that an adverse finding would cause. The facts of which I am aware, (i.e. one cop takes another cop's gun from his locker and hides it in a car belonging to the latter.), seem prankish, although darker reasons have been implied.

If this IS all about a stupid prank that got out of hand, I would like to know." Feb 10, 10 3:08 PM

To Jean:

Your reply assumes facts that no member of the public knows since no information has been released. The "leaked" information has no more substance than a rumor.

Having no connection to the Trustees, I am trying to discern WHY a majority would risk ridicule and the loss of their seats by refusing to go forward with a disciplinary procedure that has already reached a conclusion.

The argument that it would cost the Village too much is unpersuasive. There must be another reason. Would the procedure reveal facts that would embarrass the Trustees?

This confrontation will not go away. If unresolved by the next election, the vote at that time will decide whether or not to bury it. There is, I believe, one member from the majority and one from the minority up for re-election at that time.

Even so, if privacy laws still prevent the release of the facts that caused the investigation, we will still not know the reason that the accused cops acted as they did. I would much rather have all the facts revealed by waiver so that we can make up our own minds about the seriousness of the behavior." Feb 11, 10 5:27 PM

To Bayman1:

I seem to recall that early reports of this incident stated that the Westhampton Beach PD does not have an Internal Affairs Bureau and that is why the chief asked the SCPD IAB to conduct the investigation.

Many posts have implied that there is a strong political and personal antagonism between the police chief and some members of the Village Board. If true, this would explain the chief's request for an investigation from an impartial party. Had he disciplined the two cops himself, his detractors would have charged him with a personal vendetta.

I DO want to know all the facts. I doubt that anyone not privy to this case reads one of the articles about it without wondering, "What's Really going on?" I don't know which side full disclosure would benefit.

Parenthetically, before the Trustee's reversed themselves, there was an argument at a Trustees Meeting between Chief Dean and Trustee Tucker as to who had initiated the request for an investigation to the SCPD, each claiming responsibility. Now Tucker doesn't want the results of the investigation which he claimed to have authorized revealed.

This is another paradox which a hearing on all the facts might resolve whereas a by-the-book investigative report would not." Feb 12, 10 2:30 PM

To Publish:

"Ask the Mayor where he gets the right to order desk duty for the officers when the Trustees ordered that the officers be restored to full duty."

Is that what happened? I thought that the Trustees ordered the cops restored to full duty and the Chief of Police assigned them to restricted duty on his own initiative." Feb 13, 10 8:35 AM

Suffolk County announces handgun buy-back program

It would be nice if the Sheriffs department would set a date upon which it would announce the number of illegal firearms it has collected, displaying the firearms themselves and the circumstances of their purchase. We could then decide if this was a fruitful effort or an ill-conceived attempt to make use of free, (grant), money that couldn't be otherwise spent." Feb 13, 10 8:44 AM

Peconic Bay Regional Transportation Authority could be a reality, after years of dreaming

I always think that local government should be preferred generally in funding over distant government. However, it is difficult to see how a Peconic MTA would succeed. Assuming that the LIRR continues the minimal service that it proposes,the current MTA would insist that the a Peconic MTA give it all the revenues it collects because even that\
minimal service would still operate at a deficit.

The LIRR has been decreasing service to the East End for decades. (Remember the proposal to make the railroad right-of-way a paved express bus lane?) The argument is always the same, that the ridership doesn't merit the service. It doesn't take a Nostradamus to see that this will not always be the case, with the exhaustion of oil and the global warming phenomenon. However, if the MTA discontinues service entirely on the North Fork line, rehabilitating the abandoned track bed years from now will be an enormous impediment to incorporating the North Fork into the electric powered transportation grid.

The MTA is in the process of abandoning service to the East East entirely by a piecemeal process. Rather than contemplating a separate transportation district, our ligislators should be arguing the practical necessity of the LIRR continuing undiminished service for the long-term viability of East End residents." Feb 13, 10 9:03 AM

Westhampton Beach Village Board rejects all seven resolutions pertaining to two police officers

To Publius:

Thanks.

Is the mayor empowered to order the police department to do ANYTHING, sua sponte, without the accordance of the Trustees?

I address this question to you because you seem to be the poster most able to find relevant statutes.

If he is not, and that power is held only by a majority of the trustees, then the cops could be restored to full duty by a simple motion.

However, I wonder if either the mayor or even the mayor and the trustees have this power. It is the kind of order that I would think would be limited to the chief of police alone in order to insulate the police department from partisan political pressure." Feb 16, 10 8:55 PM

Indeed. See my response above to your post.

Who is preventing the cops from going on FULL duty?

If the Trustees ordered their reinstitution, I would think that that would be it. If they did, who countermanded them, the mayor or the chief?

Does the mayor have the authority to do so?

It would make sense for the chief to have ordered restricted duty if he lacked confidence in the cops' suitability. But if that is the case, shouldn't they be restored to full duty eventually after a period of assessment or until the chief brings departmental charges against them? Since the chief went to the trouble of bringing in an outside party as investigator, probably with the purpose of avoiding being charged with partisan discrimination, it would seem that his hands are tied regarding the events that caused this brouhaha.

At this stage, a plausible argument against restoring the cops to full duty cannot be made. THIS edition of the Village Trustees has decided that that's what should be done. At the next election, the new edition may decide otherwise but it is lunacy to pay cop salaries to people who are shoveling snow and taking phone calls." Feb 16, 10 9:12 PM

Local leaders speak out against MTA service cuts

Rather than creating a new transportation bureaucracy specific to the East End, we should enjoin our legislators to press for undiminished service on the LIRR based on the fact that it will become a truly vital transportation link as oil becomes scarce and temperatures warm.

These phenomena have made it clear that the internal combustion automobile is a dinosaur. We on the East End are going to rely more and more on electrically powered transportation. For long regional distances, that's the LIRR.

We have to maintain the track and infrastructure so that we will have something to build on when the automobile becomes too expensive to use." Feb 19, 10 11:35 PM

Southampton Town Board candidates square off in first debate

"It's the COPS, Stupid!", to paraphrase James Carville.

How long can candidates for Town Council continue to campaign in ignorance of the fact that we are hemorrhaging money by keeping STPD cops on the payroll beyond their twentieth year which is supposed, according to Town code, to be their final year of service?

I fear that the answer is, "Forever".



" Feb 19, 10 11:53 PM

You persist in misreading the Town code. Absent an intervening action by the Town Council, a cop's job is over on completion of twenty years. That is to say, if the Town Council does nothing at all, his job ceases to exist after twenty years. The Town Council MAY, following the date on which his job ends, according to the Town code, offer him continued employment, but he has no right so to continue. This is quite the opposite of what you state when you say the Town Council MAY retire him.

I do agree with you, however, no cop should be offered continued employment who has not shown that he merits it, (by, for instance, promotion to lieutenant or a higher position.)

We don't need a million dollars worth of deadwood on the police force, nor a police department that sees itself as superior in authority to our elected officials. " Feb 20, 10 1:31 PM

Westhampton Beach Mayor refuses to return two previously suspended officers back to active duty

What's Bo Bishop's take on this? Can the Mayor and the Chief of Police refuse to follow a directive of a majority of the Village Trustees?" Feb 23, 10 7:29 PM

I'm simply asking the question. Bishop is the Village attorney. He ought to have an opinion on whether or not the Mayor and/or the Chief of Police have the legal authority to defy an order from a majority of the Village trustees." Feb 23, 10 8:13 PM

Southampton Town Board candidates face off in final debate

Another night of Mummenschanz where the topic whose name no citizen dares breathe and no candidate dares address is unspoken, and the STPD continues to totter forward on arthritic million dollar legs.

PATRONAGE. The Town Board retains cops to the tune of $2.6M/yr., many or most of whom should have been retired on their twentieth anniversary of service as provided in the Town code.

However, if you are a candidate for Town Board, remember the fate of the last board member who brought up this topic.

If you are a citizen, remember the Town Board meeting which the STPD PBA intimidated en masse? Hmmm. Wonder if they would pull a driver over speciously just because they knew he tried to take away some of their jobs?

It's worth a couple of extra million dollars a year just to have peace of mind." Feb 26, 10 8:44 PM

Make that $3.6M/yr. Pardon the typo." Feb 26, 10 8:49 PM

Action by the STPB PBA and the NYS Ass. of PBAs is a virtual certainty, but I think that the candidates are silent for more selfish reasons.

" Feb 26, 10 9:40 PM

In case of emergency: East End SWAT teams

Terrifying! The only thing that could be more frightening is if the SC Sheriffs Department had a SWAT team. I hope they aren't issued live ammo." Mar 2, 10 11:48 PM

Local politicians consider congressional campaign

What a great idea! Nuzzi should resign as Council member to devote all his energies to his Congressional race. Jim Malone could then resign as deputy Suffolk County clerk, (as he pledged to do when running for Town Council), to pick up the extra work on the Council caused by Nuzzi's absence.

Go, Chris! " Mar 3, 10 3:18 PM

Southampton Town Board candidates face off in final debate

- - or, the candidate who made her first appearance in '60s San Francisco, "Nun of the Above"." Mar 3, 10 4:04 PM

In case of emergency: East End SWAT teams

Thank goodness! I am reassured. Carry on, Village SWAT." Mar 3, 10 4:27 PM

My comment was directed at the concept that the Village of Southampton PD is capable of creating a SWAT team. One can buy all the exotic, dark, intimidating equipment that one wants but unless the team is uniquely dedicated to incidents that require SWAT tactics, one is simply a danger to oneself and others. The SWAT team in NYC doesn't spend all its time doing DWI busts and then have SWAT training one weekend a year.

Simply, the Village PD is talking what it can't be walking. If there really is a hostage situation requiring SWAT intervention, the best thing that the Village could do is to defuse the situation until a "real" SWAT team from NYC arrives to take charge. An appearance by the Southampton Village SWAT team might mislead the perpetrators into committing some act because of a misstep by Village SWAT." Mar 3, 10 4:29 PM

Nonsense. There is no rational need for a small, local police force to undergo "intense training" in SWAT. The community has to balance the cost of the training against the need. The fact is that we cannot afford to train them adequately and inadequately trained SWAT cops are worse than plain vanilla cops in hostage situations.

While undergoing the training, the cops are still on full salary, overtime if they can get it, for a situation they will almost surely never encounter and for which they would be unprepared no matter how well trained if they have no experience.

With that in mind, would you please inform me how many hours a year the cops of the Village of Southampton PD and the STPD train in SWAT?" Mar 3, 10 5:36 PM

- - - refers to wolves, not Corgis.

" Mar 3, 10 6:02 PM

Cops are trained to do more than just arrest drunk drivers. They are SUPPOSED to be capable of dealing with hostage situations on their own without putting on all that photogenic Star Wars gear. What we have gotten for our money is a SWAT team that bears as much resemblance to a real SWAT team as a marzipan hot dog does to a genuine hot dog. Moreover, since we HAVE the gear and the team, individual officers who respond first to an incident are less likely to use their initiative to resolve the situation, and to wait while the SWAT team assembles, dresses, and establishes a command and control structure. That delay could be deadly." Mar 4, 10 4:00 PM

Southampton Village releases some secondary employment information

For goodness sake, release the records and respond to the anticipated PBA suit. Virtually no action that limits the perquisites of the cops can be taken without the PBA suing so we might as well get over it. Likewise, in Southampton Town, retire the superannuated cops and respond to the PBA & State Assn. of PBAs suit. And, in Westhampton Beach, if the reason for returning two cops to duty is really a fear of the cost of the disciplinary hearing, bite the bullet and do the right thing.

If elected officials continue to demur to the PBAs, the cops will become the aristocracy and everyone else will be a serf." Mar 4, 10 4:22 PM

Suffolk County announces handgun buy-back program

March 4:

I guess that this story is back in the news because the locations where illegal guns can be turned in has been added(?)

Nevertheless, it still omits the most important details: How much money will be disbursed per gun, and how will anonymity be guaranteed.

Nor does it include an update as to how effective the program has been to date." Mar 4, 10 4:29 PM

In case of emergency: East End SWAT teams

To K Aventi:

What can I say, you missed the joke inherent in the name.

As for the remainder of your post, it is an opinion that I do not share.

An inexperienced SWAT team is worse than none." Mar 4, 10 4:41 PM

To political pawn:

Had the perpetrator strapped Semtex around his body, holding hostage a few dozen people and threatening to detonate himself and everybody else?

Was he spraying the area with gunfire from automatic weapons?

In short, was he doing anything that the plain vanilla police could not have handled without the drama of ST SWAT?

How, exactly, was he "threatening"? I assume that he was unarmed or you would have mentioned the fact." Mar 4, 10 7:07 PM

to Bayman1:

Maazel Tov!" Mar 4, 10 7:09 PM

To political pawn:

Really! Another poster claimed to know that they were "intensely trained". Now you say that they are trained "in house", (on their own time?)

You demand research from others but offer no references yourself.

I hold a high opinion of American military personnel. Implying that the East End PDs are their equivalent is libelous. " Mar 4, 10 7:31 PM

To courtesy;

Ad hominem remarks aside, your post asserts that East End SWAT teams need to train to get better. I responded to that inane notion days ago." Mar 4, 10 9:32 PM

As I have stated, there is no persuasive argument for a Town or Village SWAT team. If it is as rigorously trained as NYC SWAT, we are spending too much money since it is unlikely to be needed. (In addition, all the training in the world without experience is useless.) If it is trained one weekend a year, then it is unqualified both by inexperience AND training.

East End cops can handle most situations without calling for specialized teams. Moreover, the PBAs will cite the additional training as a reason for higher salaries, just as teachers use post-graduate degrees to increase THEIR salary.

The raison d'etre of East End Swat teams is to provide cops with a diversion from their daily DWI grind and to boost their pay.

Cops are typical civil servants. Treat them as selfless, noble warriors and they will all drive foreign sports cars and own houses on the beach." Mar 5, 10 12:44 PM

Southampton Town Board candidates face off in final debate

What a nightmarish election. The STPD PBA endorses another Democratic poodle and the Republican candidate is a cop! KA-CHING! " Mar 5, 10 1:01 PM

Westhampton Beach Village police officers file notices of claim

Obviously, more is going on here than meets the eye. The confrontation between board members over what should have been a procedural issue is incomprehensible.

I wonder if this is a bluff by the two cops or if they really intend to file suit." Mar 6, 10 2:54 PM

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