Erroneous And Gratuitous - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1982327

Erroneous And Gratuitous

Now that the dust and the dirt have settled, and the votes for village trustees cast and counted, I am left wondering how the admonishments delivered up in The Press’s editorial wound up as an endorsement [“For Southampton Village Board,” Editorial, June 16].

I refer to Gina Arresta, whose claims to have done everything under the sun toward righting finances during her tenure, which you pin down to basically renaming surplus funds and pushing for charging stations. While her need to “demolish” anyone who doesn’t go with the program is lamented.

The Editorial Board poses what it says is its “standard question”: ”Should either of these incumbents” — Joe McLoughlin or Arresta — “be fired, either for cause or because there is a distinctly better option?”

Firing is not the question. Rather, when considering endorsing Gina Arresta, the more pointed question should have been: Did her performance and her demeanor warrant promotion, i.e. reelection? Two “distinctly better options” without the malice come to mind immediately.

Also, when stating that McLoughlin “became persona non grata to [Jesse] Warren and Arresta very quickly after winning election with their support …” The Press might have said why that happened. Wasn’t it because he didn’t lockstep behind a peevish mayor’s dictates on negotiating the police chief’s contract? That he dared to vote independently? And no questions about the subsequent intentional shutting out of McLoughlin and withholding information he needed, and in many instances requested, as part of the punishment?

And as Arresta was a neophyte and McLoughlin had run before and got the most votes in that election, I would argue that she won office with his support, and not vice versa.

It is gratuitous as well as erroneous to state that McLoughlin learned “an important lesson along the way about fortitude …” He has practiced fortitude his whole life, and for more important and compelling reasons than confrontations with local political lightweights.

What he had to learn — and quickly — was how tenuous and disposable commitments and loyalty are when distinctly ordinary people get a whiff of power. And their glee in betrayals and retributions. He learned a lesson or two about cynicism, not fortitude.

I also question The Press’s musing that “despite the friction, or because of it, the Village is getting work done.” Are you kidding? Been to Village Hall lately?

The public will have to assess the value of the “work” that will go forward unopposed, with this mayor and a board more amenable to his priorities and supportive of Arresta’s particular style.

Frances Genovese