The obvious explanation of the mystery that unhinged the Southampton Town Board and sent them into sniveling, febrile self-recrimination and chest beating [“‘Regrettable’ Contract Passage Seeks To Discredit Opponents Of Hampton Bays Overlay District,” 27east.com, August 24] is that during these waning dog days of August, that damn dog, who previously only ate homework, hacked into the town computers and inserted a damning paragraph (now read by everyone, but previously read by no one) into a boilerplate Nelson Pope Voorhis contract that had been signed off on. Arf you. Case closed.
The offending paragraph, headed “Community Outreach” (who says dogs have no sense of humor?), identified as the “First Task”: “Neutralizing the opposition by having them appear as traditional NIMBYs who consistently present misinformation to promote their own agenda,” for which $25,000 was to be allotted out of the “over $200,000 [we] will be paid to redo work struck down in court last year.” (The public knows this thanks to the diligence and pro bono work of resident Gayle Lombardi.)
Though this succinct paragraph poses more answers than questions, the mystery of who the unidentified PR subcontractor NPV supposedly farmed this “outreach” to remains. An even more beguiling mystery is why any municipality on the East End would spend $25,000 to castigate the opposition with NIMBY slurs when Michael Daly and his Sag Harbor acolytes can be counted on to show up and do it free of charge.
Elizabeth Hook (another attentive member of the public) points out that the public is paying for special interests to work against it [“Working Against Us,” Letters, August 25]. In addition to the money freely flowing to the consultants from the public coffers, think of the cost of maintaining town officials and employees to sit stupefied and silent at public hearings until called upon to give canned remarks to uphold predetermined decisions made in private.
How much do we pay annually for these people not to bother reading what they are paid to study? Jay Schneiderman, supervisor, $164,000; James Burke, town attorney, $185,066; Janice Scherer, town planner, director, land management, $164,600. Roughly a half million dollars in upper management heft.
What loss to the community would it be to fire the lot of them, and to pitch out NPV as well?
The feigned “shock” and disingenuous reactions to the bald and “offending” language in that paragraph, along with the scurrying to take blame (absent responsibility), though vomit-inducing, will not surprise anyone who has endured their previous public outreach at public hearings and the like. When everyone is to blame, no one is.
What this crew needn’t concern itself with is reestablishing public trust. They lost that long, long ago. Likewise, the desperation to appear negligent but innocent fails miserably.
To quote Oscar Levant: “We knew them before they were virgins.”
One fine body…