When I decided to run for village trustee, I never dreamed the campaign would be so contentious. Personal attacks. Anonymous texts filled with anger and vitriol. Efforts to influence the election from groups outside the village.
I call for anyone involved in these attacks, no matter whom they support, to cease these tactics, and I hope my fellow candidates will join me in this request. Let’s stop the personal attacks and focus on the issues that will make our village better.
1. Overdevelopment is poisoning our lakes and consuming our open spaces. With input from the community, I pledge to work with others elected to revise our master plan and building codes so that they reflect our village’s current attitudes toward development — not from 20 years ago, when the plan was last revised.
2. Our village business district is stagnating. Because of the pollution problems in Lake Agawam, no new restaurants can be created, and stores with vacant offices on their second floors cannot convert them to apartments to provide lower-cost housing. Why? There is no more room for the cesspools needed to handle the additional waste. We need a sewer system now. I pledge to expedite its completion in the most cost-effective way.
3. We must protect our environment. Controlling development and constructing a sewer will help, but we must do more. I pledge to help clean and protect our ponds so that my grandson and other future generations of village children can once again fish in Lake Agawam like I did when I was a boy.
I don’t see how anyone can be against these goals. Sadly, in this campaign we have seen attempts to divide the village between second-home owners and year-round residents over these and other issues.
In my store, Stevenson’s Toys, I see people from everywhere in the village, from Wooley Street to Windward Way, and on to Meadow Lane. It doesn’t matter where they live; I strive to treat everyone with same respect and care.
Isn’t it clear that to prosper we must work together, as one village? Everyone in the village benefits when we have clean lakes, a vibrant business district, and we can continue to enjoy the village’s rural nature in the years to come.
This election is about one thing: how the village of the future is going to look, whether its ongoing development is going to be widespread, with ever-increasing density, or more tightly controlled. The reason America is so great is that you, the people who live here and love this place, get to decide what that vision will be.
If you want what I’ve pledged to accomplish, I would be honored to have your vote.
Mr. Stevenson is a candidate for Southampton Village Board — Ed.
One fine body…