An Alliance - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2243984

An Alliance

While watching the Southampton Town Board meeting on March 26, I was shocked, but certainly not surprised, to hear Ray D’Angelo, current president of the Hampton Bays Civic Association, disparage the good name of the Hampton Bays Chamber of Commerce.

Speaking on the future of the Bel-Aire Cove Motel property, Mr. D’Angelo stated that the property was to be purchased through the Community Preservation Fund — until “the Chamber of Commerce reared its ugly head here and got involved in this thing.” He then falsely claimed, without evidence, that members of the chamber, “real estate brokers and people in business … have a monetary interest in these things.”

Without one moment’s consideration of an opinion different from his — that the onerous restrictions placed on CPF-purchased properties make their public use prohibitively limited — Mr. D’Angelo resorted to divisive rhetoric and painted an entire group of hardworking members of the Hampton Bays business and residential communities as seeking to make a shady buck off a public project.

Mr. D’Angelo’s performance is indicative of the current trajectory of the organization he leads. I have attended meetings where people with differing views about development in our hamlet were shouted down, heckled and insulted by its board members. I have watched our elected officials, town employees and consultants be treated with the utmost of disrespect, personally attacked and their resignations demanded.

Board members display a profound misunderstanding of how municipal government works, a distinct disinterest in compromise, and a willingness to peddle both conspiracy theories about the intentions of our town leaders as well as false information in order to divert the public discourse away from needed progress and toward inaction. Meetings habitually rehash the past with no path forward.

Hampton Bays deserves better from its civic leaders.

With that in mind, I recently formed the Hampton Bays Alliance, a nonprofit civic organization founded to provide a civil and respectful space for members of the Hampton Bays community to learn about the various public and private development projects affecting our hamlet, to exchange and develop ideas regarding the revitalization and conservation of Hampton Bays, and to promote policies and improvements that will benefit members of our hamlet’s residential and business communities for generations to come. As its name suggests, the alliance stands for inclusivity, civility and progress.

Our inaugural meeting will be held in the Helen Gould room of the Hampton Bays Public Library on May 1, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Information regarding the alliance can be found at, and questions can be directed to us at

I encourage members of the Hampton Bays community interested in common-sense progress in our hamlet to join us.

John J. Leonard

Hampton Bays