On The Front Page - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1777598

On The Front Page

Last week’s Southampton Press was incandescent with everything that is wrong with this place.

Starting with the front-page account of Jay Schneiderman “musing” about “the market” and the “thrill” of rising house prices to underplay his sly, steely determination to raise taxes once again by reassessment at current market values [“In The Midst Of Skyrocketing Sales, Town Board Agrees To Hire Consultant To Assist Assessors,” 27east.com, May 5].

Musing at the “work session” about what was never in question, and obviously agreed on beforehand, crocodile concern was expressed for the over-burdened, non-millionaire taxpayers. Citing the findings (?) of the ghostly “Tax Assessment Committee,” and the freeze he set up after the fact to sugarcoat the crippling reassessments that doubled taxes for many two years ago, he now eagerly wants to “catch up” with the market once again.

If it wasn’t so expensive, it would be laughable to watch this cohort of mediocrity and self-interested charade of pretend open-minded concern, reluctance, weighing of options, public interest, and conclusions arrived at with a sigh. Schneiderman has perfected an aura of hesitancy, perplexity and “musings”; always “pondering” and placing in a safe limbo matters which he has firmly secured beforehand.

Part of a “concern” he shared to “educate” his lockstep board and the mute, zoomed-out public was his pained decision not to opt out of the the constant reassessment system (State Cyclical Reassessment Program), adopted and imposed on taxpayers by “Skip” Heaney, because it is “imperfect but the best system.” Obviously forgotten is the better system he operated under in East Hampton, which reassesses market value only at time of sale.

Unsurprisingly, the unanimous vote authorized an outside tax consultancy firm ($125,000-plus) to justify what is in reality a land grab as more “fixed income” and others are forced to sell overwhelmingly to developers.

On to the editorials, where virtual meetings and the Zoom plague (dear to the marketing outreach of the paper) are breathlessly promoted [“Best Of Both Worlds,” Editorial, May 6]. Zoom into the future, because “residents were excited to attend meetings broadcast virtually.”

What? Truth be told, people were disenfranchised, technologically tormented, and frustrated beyond measure, choosing to opt out and had their business decided without them, and not to their advantage.

Moving right along, your eye cannot but alight on a picture of a blue ocean expanse framing a group of unbounded, marauding, disease-carrying, road-dangerous, property-destroying deer who “Took a trip to Coopers Beach … to squeeze in a last, quiet beach day.”

It is disgusting to treat this perpetual and burgeoning problem sentimentally. Face it: Not Disney cuteness, but serious culling is required.

For light relief, there are the spacious full-page ads revisiting political tiffs and signaling an election. interspersed between billion-dollar real estate offerings. Does the vote matter anymore?

Frances Genovese