'Neutralizing' a Hamlet - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2058777

‘Neutralizing’ a Hamlet

The situation at the November Hampton Bays Civic Association meeting was outrageous [“Members Only Meeting Sparks Tumult in Hampton Bays,” 27east.com, November 30]. Does anyone really believe that anything happens in Southampton Town Hall without the knowledge and approval of Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and other members of the Town Board? I certainly do not.

Civic associations are given special consideration by the Town Board for the use of town-owned facilities, since they are deemed advisors to the Town Board on behalf of the community, pursuant to Town Board Resolution 2009-236. However, the HBCA board has developed a reputation in recent years for being disconnected from the community they purport to represent. The August HBCA meeting at the Hampton Bays High School should have been a wakeup call to the Town Board.

Despite this, the town attorney gave the HBCA board president the town’s stamp of approval to prevent members of the community from entering the November HBCA meeting held at the Hampton Bays Community Center (a town-owned facility).

Then, when “Town Hall” got wind that members of the community were confused and upset and planned on showing up anyway, what did “Town Hall” do? Did they try to reevaluate their position? No, instead they “doubled down” and notified the Southampton Town acting police chief that there may be a need for a police presence at the meeting.

If this all doesn’t reek of trying to “neutralize” the Hampton Bays community, I don’t know what does.

The implications of Town Hall’s decisions are far-reaching and affect all of the Town of Southampton. What if something had really happened? Would the town be responsible for damages? What if attendees who were turned away asserted that their rights were violated or they were intimidated by town employees? Can the town be held liable for potential lawsuits?

Was “Town Hall” more concerned about neutralizing the Hampton Bays community than making sound decisions for the Town of Southampton?

With all this, the residents of Hampton Bays need to “double down” about having their voices heard. I strongly recommend that the Hampton Bays community stay engaged and not succumb to intimidation and attempts to silence the community.

There are important issues facing our community and our voices need to be heard.

Gayle Lombardi

Hampton Bays