Experience Needed - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1782169

Experience Needed

Several people supporting Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy have phoned me alleging that I am managing Trustee Jim Larocca’s campaign. I am not anyone’s campaign manager. However, I have spoken with both mayoral candidates — and decided to support Jim Larocca. This is not a light decision for me to make.

At the village meeting held in Steinbeck Park where Bay Street’s plans were discussed, Kathleen Mulcahy said she had been learning how slowly government moved. Right now, the village mayor can’t be learning on the job. Development has outpaced us.

When I was on the Board of Trustees, Trustee Larocca negotiated the acquisition of Steinbeck Park and the first extension of the gas ball parking lot. I know what he can do. We need to have someone with long-term experience to be in office in the face of the onslaught of development and infrastructure challenges. This election should be about who is most qualified to do the job at hand.

Kathleen Mulcahy ran for office admitting government inexperience and advocated for a village manager. She has had to deal with the pandemic, and she has done an excellent job coordinating state guidelines and working with community groups.

But if we are going to be honest, plans for Steinbeck Park, Long Wharf, civil service contracts, the gas ball parking lot negotiations, etc., all began years before she stepped into Village Hall.

Why a mayor would send a letter to National Grid in support of Bay Street purchasing the gas ball parking lot is mystifying. This letter was not a board action, it was Mayor Mulcahy’s. It was an inexperienced mistake.

Since Hurricane Sandy, virtually nothing has been done for stormwater hazard mitigation. Despite the code change affecting the residential district, building volume has increased everywhere. As several architects have pointed out, zoning codes are not master plans.

To build infrastructure and get the funding we need will require the voice of someone who has relationships within state and county offices. Trustee Larocca is the member with those relationships.

I disagree with Jim Larocca’s position on Bay Street Theater; the scale of the project needs adjusting. But I like the theater and de facto community center adjacent to the park. Friends of Bay Street now own this property; they are not willing sellers. If the theater does not go there what will?

This should not be an election solely about Bay Street Theater and the condos on West Water Street. It must also be an election that debates how necessary infrastructure projects can be planned, paid for and completed.

As a community we should encourage debate and welcome an election where the public has a choice and each vote matters.

Robby Stein

Sag Harbor

Mr. Stein has served as Sag Harbor Village trustee and was deputy mayor of the village from 2009 to 2017 — Ed.