Less Effective Mailing Piece

Monday, October 15, 2007

Less Effective Mailing Piece

Another well-produced giant postcard from Democratic candidate for Southampton Town Supervisor Jim Henry arrived this weekend, but this one noticeably as short on "substance" as the first one was full!

Again using the same theme of a photo of a local resident, this one a senior citizen barber named "Marty G.," the message again takes a joint whack at Mr. Henry's main opponents, Republicans Linda Kabot and Supervisor Pat "Skip" Heaney (running on the Conservative line).

But the message is vaguely delivered, and lacks the type of impact the very germane hot topic of "Pay-to-Play" deserves. The mailing piece makes it a little clearer what Mr. Henry intends on the other side:

Pay-to-play politics:
Skip Heaney does it,
Linda Kabot allows it.
I will put an end to it.

Mr. Henry is talking about graft and kick-backs, but he pussy-foots around the subject because he must not have anything solid.

(It also means that his people haven't done their homework on the sources of Mr. Heaney's enormous campaign war chest, or looked very closely at l'affaire Ferrara from a decade ago.)

The New York Times of December 13, 1998 reported:

"Last week, a Federal grand jury{sic} ac­quitted a Southampton businessman, Eric Ferrara, of charges of trying to bribe town officials to approve a 360-foot-high radio broadcast tower he sought to construct.

In reaching the verdict, the jury was not persuaded by tape-recordings of Mr. Ferrara offering money. Nor was it swayed by tes­timony from Town supervisor Vincent Can­nuscio and council members who said Mr. Ferrara tried to bribe them.

The furious town officials said last week the verdict left the impression that they solicited the bribes."

What else might one infer, particularly since the core of Mr. Ferrara's defense was that he'd been the victim of extortion? One local at­tend­ee of the trial was un­equiv­ocal:

"It was impossible to watch the courtroom proceedings and not feel that the wrong party was on trial!"

(For the record, the Federal Grand Jury had already handed up an indictment, Mr. Ferrara had gone to trial in Federal Court in Haupaugue and it was there that he was acquited. The Town "offi­cials" involved were Supervisor Cannus­cio and Council­men Steve Halsey and Patrick "Skip" Heaney Jr.

Contacted at his new home in Florida, Mr. Ferrara declined to comment per the terms of the settlement of his lawsuit against the Southampton Town Board for, among other things, civil rights violations and defamation of character.)

Now no one has ever seriously considered that the type of political corruption which is reveal­ed on almost a tri-annual basis in the Town­ships of Brookhaven, Islip and sometimes Babylon, is at work in Southampton, but ugly rumors of a quid pro quo for doing business or obtaining land-use approvals in the Town have persisted for years.

That's what Mr. Henry is attempting to imply, having neither the testicularity or, more im­portantly, anything substantive, to come right out and say it.

So, when is Mrs. Kabot going to make her initial Town-wide mailing, and what tact will she take?

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