What showed up at the Friday night “conversation” among the candidates for mayor and for trustee of Southampton Village, moderated by Joe Shaw, executive editor of The Southampton Press, was a contrast between experience and charisma.
Jesse Warren, the mayoral contender, is an appealing and charismatic personality. By comparison, the incumbent, Mayor Michael Irving, is the picture of the unglamorous, fact-bound, solid and perhaps stodgy citizen-political leader.
Guess what? I am going for the fact-bound, stodgy, slow-paced Mayor Mike, because he has done his homework (obvious from his comments), while Jesse Warren’s comments seemed glib.
Believe me, I know, from the McMansion that is being built opposite me, the fencing off of the iconic brick courtyard on Jobs Lane, and the violations of decent and lawful regard of a neighbor’s privacy by the owner of the property to the east of mine, that Mayor Mike has not materially slowed the disastrous impact of the lawless zoning code of 2005 (passed without the mandatory SEQRA review, and with then-Trustee Paul Robinson’s decisive vote, which immediately enhanced the value of Robinson’s eight village properties).
But he inherited the mess from the Epley administration, and, cautious man that he is, he made tiny changes, not the big ones required to preserve what is left of our village charm, quality of life, year-round salt-of-the-earth population. But he did the research required of him, he studied the problems, and he took cautious steps toward their solution.
Jesse Warren is so much the “now” generation. That’s very appealing. But his claimed objectives were stated without any plan to make them become reality. “Sustainable growth”? What the hell will that mean in terms of local streets and local subdivisions (Rosko Place is certainly one!) that have been delivered to the spec builders by the village lawyers, paid by our taxes, who have misinformed the regulatory boards into egregious violations of state laws passed to rein in rampant property rights proponents?
The Friday night discussion confirmed my vote for future Trustee Joe McLoughlin, and swung my vote for incumbent Mayor Mike Irving, because I decided to go for work and factual back-up against charisma without a plan.
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One fine body…