Oblivious - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1798771


Having had the singularly nasty experience of appearing before the Southampton Village Planning Board when it was chaired by Roy Stevenson, I find it more than lamentable that he ran for and won election and is now a trustee of the Village of Southampton.

When he headed up the Planning Board, he was both predisposed and unprepared. Dour, uninformed, unswayed by argument, and observed being prompted by nods from the “audience.”

When I and others spoke, he could not keep his disdain and impatience in check and held firmly to the “three-minute” speech allotment rule. Who could blame him? He was out of his depth, and he knew how it was going to fall out anyway. He is the last person who should be invoking “neutrality.”

However, even more reprehensible on his part was when he allowed a (local) developer’s son to deliver an uninterrupted, unchecked, 15-minute, angry, personal attack on me and others in opposition who were not present.

Now he has been dusted off and retrofitted into a political slot to shore up the vote. His very first act, fresh out of the gate, and high on his hobby horse, was to attack a float in the July 4 parade, which, among other things, poked fun at tiny birds and an über-sensitive mayor [“Furious About Float, Village Board Member Calls For Banning FD From Next Year’s Parade,” 27east.com, July 14].

Oblivious to tradition; oblivious to the rich vein of political satire that runs through our history and has kept politicians on guard and America sane; oblivious to the fact that this is not Russia; oblivious to the fact that a July 4 parade, in and of itself, is a political statement; and, I suspect, oblivious to fun in any form — even though he is a toy merchant — at his first meeting, Trustee Stevenson delivered a petulant, tone-deaf oration on topics he is ill-equipped to interpret or expound on. This, in itself, would be intrinsically laughable, except there are two more years to follow.

Then there are the “many complaints from village residents” that the mayor purports to receiving (received how? documented where?). That “black soot” emanated from the offending (and prize-winning) float, which occasioned the “unauthorized use of a village fire hydrant.”

This raises pettiness to an art form. It might just be worthwhile to pause and paraphrase Harry S. Truman: If you can’t stand the soot, get out of the political parade.

Trustee Stevenson, it was observed, read his censorious comments from a lengthy “prepared” statement. My guess is that someone else prepared that statement.

Anyone want to guess who?

Frances Genovese

Southampton Village