I write to endorse the SV-21 team of Michael Irving for mayor, and Mark Parash and Andrew Pilaro for trustees, in the upcoming Southampton Village elections.
I have never spoken out about village government and, frankly, never thought I would. However, as someone who loves Southampton Village and takes great pride to be part of such a tight-knit community, I cannot remain silent as our community is torn apart.
Over the past two years, I have watched with dismay as village governance has descended into the kind of chaos and vitriol I thought I had left behind in Congress. Village government is supposed to be a place where neighbors work together in a respectful and civil manner to move our community forward. It is my belief that the SV-21 team are best suited to lead that effort.
Two recent events compelled me to speak out. The first was Mayor Jesse Warren’s outrageous attack on the integrity of Trustee Joe McLoughlin at a recent board meeting. The mayor’s escalation of a disagreement over policy to character assassination was troubling, if not disqualifying. It exposed Mayor Warren’s “my way or the highway” approach, where he thinks that trustees and village officials owe an obligation of loyalty to him, not Southampton residents. It’s the same reason we’ve gone through four village attorneys in Mayor Warren’s brief tenure.
Secondly, the recently released “Hartnett report.” As a village resident, I agree we need a constructive debate about the best way to operate the Southampton Village Police Department. But that is not what has happened. The report was released to the media on May 7, before it was shared with trustees, and within five days I received a professionally done political mail piece from an anonymous group called “Citizens for a Safer Village” making political arguments.
By the way, before Mayor Warren came on the scene, can anyone remember shadowy anonymous groups getting involved in Southampton Village elections? I can’t.
The timing of this mail piece, which from my experience takes a week or more to turn around, raises serious questions about the handling of this report. And, more importantly, it has ensured that this issue will become a political food fight and not debated in the serious, deliberative manner it deserves.
Southampton Village has important issues that need to be addressed, but the best way to do so is with public officials who are motivated to serve the public good and engage in a civil debate that brings neighbors together to move the community forward.
That is why I will be voting on June 18 for the SV-21 team of Irving, Parash and Pilaro, to join Joe McLoughlin to provide that leadership.
Mr. Bishop is a former U.S. representative from the 1st District — Ed.
One fine body…