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63 Comments by Doug Penny

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Rivercatwalk developer files $25 million lawsuit against Southampton Town

There certainly seems to be a lot of "discrimination" in Southampton since large development projects came to town. Nearly all the "suspect classifications" have been covered since Mr. Campanelli made his first big splash. While I only know of him from what I read in the papers, I know Dede Gotthelf personally. It seems to me a sad and strange combination. I hope the town aggressively defends each of these cases and actively pursues sanctions--it is the only way to level the playing field. " Nov 10, 08 3:26 AM

Contractor accuses East Hampton School District of fraud

Looks like East Hampton might want to set aside some reserves in its upcoming budget." Jan 28, 09 10:20 AM

Southampton Town officials: Capital budget is short $4.9 million

Bring back The Southampton Party!" Mar 22, 09 11:50 AM

Capital budget error bolstered budget surplus, which was used to cut taxes

Tax rates, assessments, capital budgets, operating budgets, caps on tax increases; on and on it goes--a shell game to confuse the general public and manipulated to keep existing politicians in office--especially during an election year. THERE IS ONLY ONE THING THAT MATTERS AND ONLY ONE WAY TO KEEP A HANDLE ON PROPERTY TAXES--A CAP ON TOTAL SPENDING. They will argue that necessary services will have to be curtailed; blah, blah, blah, but THE SOUTHAMPTON PARTY did it successfully during the early 90's and, if you don't believe it, go look it up. " Apr 2, 09 5:31 PM

Kabot says town in the process of correcting fiscal crisis

The earlier comment concerning the expansion of the budget during "surplus" years reveals the crux of the problem this Town has been facing since the demise of The Southampton Party (I know I keep harping on it but anyone who cares to check the record will see it is true). Increasing assessments in an active real estate market over the past decade alllowed the town to increase spending without large tax increases and ilts replacement of the "spending cap" with the "tax rate cap" alllowed the politicians to make it look as if they were being fiscal watchdogs when, in fact, the fox was guarding the chicken coop. THE ONLY WAY TO CONTROL TAXES IS TO CONTROL SPENDING AND THE ONLY WAY TO CONTROL SPENDING IS TO PASS A LAW RESTORING A SPENDING CAP. The residents of the Town will now pay the piper for many years to come as the real estate market remains flat and the budget remains bloated because the people in charge do not have the political fortitude and/or statutory authority to stand up to the special interests which drive the budget.
When you add bookeeping errors into the mix, it can become a real disaster." May 21, 09 12:40 PM

Westhampton Beach Village Board votes behind closed doors

I don't know Ray Dean, I don't know Jim Kametler, I barely know Connie Teller, I sort of know Bo Bishop (I might even be related to him) but I do know the Open Meetings Law and something about municipal contracts. If they want to validly pass the resolution--do it in open session. If they want to avoid the lawsuit--forget about it. The real problem and the real point of the story should have been compensatory time for management employees. It is pay me now or pay me later and very difficult to audit and control." Jun 3, 09 4:16 PM

Supervisor proposes $1 million in budget cuts

This budget is about to hit a flock of birds on takeoff--too bad Sully is not at the controls. There will be no soft landing in the cards for the taxpayer--prepare for impact." Jun 24, 09 6:08 PM

Audit finds numerous errors in Southampton Town's accounting practices

Although I now view the situation from afar and will probably take some heat for sticking my nose where it no longer belongs, I believe North Sea Citizen is correct. The accounting, spending and taxing problems which have plagued the town for the past decade are more directly related to the qualifications for office of the individuals holding these seats than any nefarious conduct or improper motivation. The Town of Southampton is a lot different than it was in the 50's, 60's, and 70's and the persons charged with the duty of making sure it runs appropriately need better educational and professional backgrounds to separate fact from fiction, determine the real issues to be addressed, reach the conclusions required, and have the political nerve to institute them. From what I have witnessed, much of this talent has been lacking for some time and the taxpayers are getting exactly what they deserve. It will never be fixed until the members of the town board care more about doing their jobs than keeping their jobs--but this can be said of every level of government, " Oct 27, 09 12:03 PM

After 32 years, Hampton Bays administrator retires

Congratulations on your retirement, Joe. You were a positive influence in the district for many years. While you were certainly not alone in that regard, it made you pretty special. You have earned everything you will get." Nov 6, 09 11:26 AM

Hampton Bays school budget includes 18.5 percent tax hike

The Press should be ashamed of the headline chosen for this article. It is either intellectually dishonest to get people riled up against everything they perceive to be wrong with public education and immigration; plain wrong to make passage of the school budget nearly impossible; or proof that the person who chose the headline does not understand the simple relationship between assessments, tax rates, and tax revenue. If any of these is accurate, The Press has done a great disservice to the School Board and the people in Hampton Bays and a clarification, at the very least in headline print, should be forthcoming. To make it a bit easier for you, here is Basic 101 on the topic. Assessment x Tax Rate = Amount of Tax Paid. If the assessment goes down, the rate has to go up to obtain the same amount of tax revenue. Just because the rate goes up from $9.21 to $10.91 (the 18.5% increase you headline) does not mean the tax revenue will go up 18.5%. Nothing near that percentage of tax increase will result when assessments have decreased. Deeply buried in your article, is a projected tax revenue increase of 6.7%. Your headline could have accurately stated that the tax rate had increased 18.5% or it could have stated that the anticipated tax increase was 6.7%--either would have been more accurate but still inflamatory unless these figures were also adjusted to compensate for the loss in state aid and PILOT payments to give an accurate picture of the job performed by the school board. Reporting a totally incorrect tax increase as a headline and then repeating it in the opening sentence of an article most people will not fully read and less people will understand is a shameful act and you should be called on the carpet for it. Thanks to you, it will be a miracle if the budget passes this year. You should consider a mea culpa editorial supporting the budget and urging its passage. " Apr 25, 10 5:29 PM

Fellingham's named one of America's best bars by Esquire magazine

Well deserved Joe!! I think you need to pump up the jukebox for a little "We Are The Champions" by Queen and invite the Hard Mothers over for a few beers!!" Jun 16, 10 4:44 PM

Governor Paterson vetoes bill to rename Westhampton preserve after Edwin 'Buzz' Schwenk

Buzz may have danced to the tune of the developers for many years but, in the end, he came to see the value of preservation and worked hard on it. He and Dick Amper were quite the odd couple for a while. Paterson seems prone to veto meaningful pieces of legislation for political and personal reasons. Just renew the call after he is gone and things will probably turn out differently--as they should. " Jul 23, 10 2:22 PM

William Thompson remembered by his family and friends

Bill Thompson was a great guy and the way he was treated in Water Mill was a shame. The South Fork lost an opportunity to the North Fork--Peconic Landing would have been a benefit to the area in many ways. " Jul 23, 10 6:28 PM

Court upholds Thiele Independence nomination

If this is your platform, Mr. Blumenthal, you are going to have to do better to be successful in November. To even imply the restoration of a general diploma would resolve any significant portion of the special education costs for school districts is intellectually dishonest. No special education child costing a school district 3 or 4 times a general education student would qualify for a general diploma. These are children with severe problems. The only special education student who might be able to obtain a general diploma would be those enrolled in speech therapy or something similar. Any reduction in the cost of education by dumbing down the requirements for graduation is short sighted. It is hard to believe a professional educator would even suggest such a thing. You would be well served to find a better agenda or a real platform for the campaign." Aug 25, 10 1:33 PM

An Open Letter From Gregg and Mitchell Rechler

I fully agree with the previous posting. Build whatever you are permitted as of right and stop trading on sentimentalities to obtain permission to make a windfall profit on densities far in excess of the existing code. This development strategy has been used far too often in the past and, unfortunately, been quite successful. It is time the town put an end to it." Dec 6, 10 7:33 PM

Jury Verdict In Kabot Case: Not Guilty Of DWI

Congratulations to Linda for having the fortitude to bring this case to trial and shame on anyone from the other side who had any role in this debacle. While it may not have been a setup from the start it was certainly considered a feather in the cap of both local police departments involved. The future may well show the feather to have come from an albatross--the good people of Southampton Town deserve so much better. Too bad the the District Attorney didn't see it for what was as soon as the video was viewed months ago. " Feb 4, 11 5:02 PM

Congratulations to Linda for having the fortitude to bring this case to trial and shame on anyone from the other side who had any role in this debacle. While it may not have been a setup from the start it was certainly considered a feather in the cap of both local police departments involved. The future may well show the feather to have come from an albatross--the good people of Southampton Town deserve so much better. Too bad the the District Attorney didn't see it for what was as soon as the video was viewed months ago. " Feb 4, 11 5:02 PM

Southampton Police Chief James P. Overton To Retire In April

Good luck Jim. I always enjoyed working with you -- even when we were on opposite sides of the issue -- because I could always trust you to tell the truth.." Mar 7, 11 3:20 PM

Developers Submit New Canoe Place Inn Application

The PDD concept is a good planning tool for the Town -- the problem lies in its implementation. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water -- just make sure the public receives something its wants or needs and don't allow developers to dangle unsubstantive carrots before uncritical eyes. The Canoe Place PDD appears to be getting better but there is still a lot of wiggle room on both sides." Mar 16, 11 10:01 AM

Southampton Town Board Appoints Wilson As Police Chief

While I am certainly out of the loop politically and geographically, it just seems like Tony Tenaglia got a raw deal here. " Apr 29, 11 2:35 PM

Southampton Town Will Need To Come Up With Millions To Meet Tax Cap Next Year

Things are going to get very interesting around Town Hall. Too bad it took State legislation to do what local government should have been doing for the last decade or more. It's a sad commentary on the performance of your local officials." Jul 18, 11 5:57 PM

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