Believe Him - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2045902

Believe Him

Nick LaLota has shown us who he is — we should believe him: anti-police and anti-democracy.

The first is undoubtedly awful. While Nick LaLota’s website drones on about his commitment to our men and women in uniform, his actions demonstrate the opposite.

As an Amityville Village trustee, LaLota tried to breach the village police union’s contract by reducing police officer wages and sought to de-fund the police and understaff the department to its lowest levels since 1975. Believe him that he lacks concern for our men and women in blue. Believe him that he lacks commitment to public safety.

The second is my deal-breaker. Nick LaLota’s website drones further of his concern for election integrity. He advocates for stringent voter ID laws and restricted absentee balloting, among other things.

LaLota’s obsession with voter fraud is fantasy. There has never been any proof of widespread voter fraud requiring restrictive voting laws. And the Big Lie is just that: the Big Lie.

There is evidence, however, of Nick LaLota interfering in elections as the Republican commissioner on the Suffolk County Board of Elections. LaLota’s “proven track record” with election integrity consists of two shameful and very public episodes.

First, LaLota refused to establish an early polling place on Shelter Island, requiring Shelter Islanders to ferry to vote. Even Anthony Palumbo, our Republican state senator, disagreed with LaLota and entreated him to establish early voting for Shelter Islanders, to no avail.

Even worse, LaLota publicly advocated his right to engage in a conflict of interest in our elections. As Republican commissioner of the Suffolk County Board of Elections, LaLota ran for New York State Senate while commissioner, notwithstanding clear statutory law requiring him to resign to avoid the conflict of interest that would necessarily arise from his being a candidate in an election over which he and his office would control the taking and counting of votes.

LaLota could have simply resigned as commissioner but instead chose to file what, in my opinion, was a costly and frivolous lawsuit, the only object of which was to personally benefit from and enshrine corruption in our elections.

LaLota’s judgment is more than questionable — it is dangerous. Had we an activist judiciary in line with his inclinations — that election laws are meant to be tested, weakened, broken — we would find ourselves down the rabbit hole, closer to authoritarianism. Anyone so willing to publicly advocate for their right to be a candidate in an election and also maintain control over the taking and counting of the votes for that same election should be nowhere near public office in my opinion.

He has shown us who he is. Believe him.

John Leonard

Hampton Bays