No Blood-letting in Hampton Bays

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No Blood-letting in Hampton Bays

The Candidates' Night debate at the Senior Center in Hampton Bays failed to deliver the anticipated fireworks with angry home-owners climbing all over incumbent Supervisor Patrick "Skip" Heaney for the ineptly administered reassessment program which cost so many of us (yeah!, me too!) so much in property taxes this past year.

Not only was Mr. Heaney not eviscerated by the packed house on Ponquogue Avenue, he was even allowed to get away with one of the phoniest utter­ances he's ever made, the part about the "lowest tax rate in Suffolk County," without so much as a catcall or a jeer!

(Any who don't "get it," refer to the com­ments of visitor "vel" this past weekend.)

Adhering to a fairly strict Statement/Q&A (with the questions pre-submitted)/Closing format, the four candidates for Southampton Town Supervisor were not quizzed on the con­trovrsial reassessment program1, but in the segment following, all five of those running for Town Council were asked about it... and all agreed that it had been a mess! "Disaster" was the term most frequently used.

So Mr. Heaney was allowed to skate on the one issue which 20 years ago put an irreparable hole in Supervisor Marty Lang's waterline, and seemed destined to do the same with "Skip."

Until last evening... if he could come out of that meeting in one piece as he did, then he may actually keep his seat in Town Hall, which might go a long way toward explaining why our two Republican State representatives, Assemblyman Fred Thiele and Senator Ken LaValle, ignored the Primary Day results and showed up for the official kick-off of Mr. Heaney's Row D Conservative Party campaign a week ago Saturday.

(It certainly wasn't for the food, uniformly described as "awful.")

As for performance, Mr. Heaney did well with the microphone, on a par with Democrat Jim Henry, and markedly better than Republican designee Linda Kabot... she's just not that strong a speaker.

But the best of the bunch Monday evening was Independence Party candidate Alex Gregor. He had the most confident delivery, he positively reeked of credibility and sincerity, he got off some snappy crowd-delighting lines which didn't seem at all rehearsed, and wherever his opponents remained seated, he stood, re-announced who he was, and gained not only some sorely-needed recognition, but respect. It doesn't seem as if he's destined to be much of a factor in this November's race... but that's what most of us thought in mid-September about the fourth place Colorado Rockies, and they're playing in the World Serious next week!

Also missing from Monday evening's event was the unseemly bickering and general un­pleasantness displayed between the three major candidates at last week's debate in Remsenburg... it is unknown whether this was because of coaching by their respective ad­visers, or because the League of Women Voters Moderator/Timekeeping team stayed on the top of the proceedings.

On the Town Council side, Nancy Graboski, Dan Russo, Sandra Dunne, Anna Throne-Holst and Jim Drew all came across well... with un­known young Republican Russo probably coming across the best of the lot when he commanded the microphone. He ain't the still-wet-behind-the-ears kid his photos make him out to be.

Ms. Throne-Holst also did well in front of the crowd... albeit one which had thinned out after the Supervisor candidates stood down. She stayed on topic, fielded her questions cleanly and within the tight time constraints, and probably enhanced the viability of her candi­dacy in the rock-ribbed Republican hamlet.

One question I was hoping would be addressed to Conservative (and deposed Republican) candidate Drew, but wasn't, pertained to why he had agreed to run again after beind voted out after just one-term on the Town Board several years ago.

With the Trustee candidates, they're only fun in a debate environment when someone like Bill Pell or former (2005) candidate Anthony DePalma get Republican Fred Havemeyer ex­ercised enough to lose his cool and do his Phineas T. Bluster act. Freddy managed to maintain his equilibrium, so I exited the pro­ceedings early and came home.

  1. A GOP source said later today that the Hampton Bays area has always been con­sidered "Heaney-friendly," and that was undoubtedly why any questions about reassessment were pur­­pose­ly excluded from the Supervisor candidates session. In other words, the fix was in for the incumbent.


1. William Rodney said...

Of the three candidates running Heaney is the most viable. Henry has no presence outside of Sag Harbor and, I do not think, much there. Kabot stikes fear into my political bones because I fear Cannuscio will re-appear. Heaney screwed up the town assessment, totally botched up CR 39 and we will wait and see how he handles the potential ruination of East Quogue. The "beauty" of small town politics (which is what this is) lies in the fact that you do not need to align with a party to get things done. The sooner a candidate surfaces and attacks issues rather than bowing to a political boss with no acumen in any area the better off we will all be.

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