Friday, June 21, 2013


In reflecting on the last six Village Board elections, it was less about who was running and more about an issue of the moment which carried the election... and after I came within a solitary legitimate vote of keeping Joan Levan from being re-elected in 2007, she has become a wizard of the wedge issue in Westhampton Beach.

The next two years it was all eruv all the time, the Ortho­dox gift which kept on giving... though the Empress of Oneck created Shame On which ultimately proved unnecessary despite the fact that she was still flogging it one year later.

In 2011 it was my blighted character... something I never denied but thought other issues were more important, such as getting resolution to the long-stonewalled Police disci­plinary problem in respect to the missing handgun.

This year it's been "fiscal management" and "fiduciary responsibility," words that should curdle on Hank Tucker's tongue given the money drain that his continued opposition to resolving the Police disciplinary actions proved to be.

But the fiscal stuff wasn't a Joan Levan deal, this was solely the creation of former Village Clerk Kathleen McGinnis, who fed information (presented in the worst possible light to the current administration, of course) to Tucker and his running mate, Patricia DiBenedetto last Summer.

In Mrs. McGinnis' own words to OtBB six weeks ago:

"Only Trustee Tucker and Trustee DiBenedetto responded to my E-mail and investigated whether the salaries were computed correctly!"

Given that we have only Mrs. McGinnis' assertion that her E-mail was sent to the entire Village Board, this is an open question considering her true objective, to bring down Mayor Conrad Teller for not protecting her son's job in 2011.

(Wha-at? You thought that her involvement here was altruistic out of a sense to duty to a Village in which she doesn't reside? Pffuui!)

(Or, by the same token, that Tucker's disquieting... not to me so much as current Village staff... appointment of McGinnis to "oversee" the transition to a new Vil­lage Clerk was "fiscally responsible?" Pffuui! Pffuui!)

But, there it was... an issue, and watchdogs Hank and Pat saved the Village untold... what, exactly?

And wasted spent how much tax money in the process?

(Exactly what did attorney Scott Augustine accomplish in his time on the Village teet?)

But hey!, something got "fixed," albeit something that was a lot less broken than what the three stooges portrayed.

As a fiscal mismanagement problem, but not as an issue! Remember, it's never what is, but what people perceive it to be.

So that's the Lightning Party's issue for 2013: "Look what we've done for the taxpayers!"

It's probably a winning one, depending... and we won't know 'til 9:07 pm... on how hard former Deputy Mayor Toni-Jo Birk worked her constituency.

She is a formidable campaigner, and her supporters have carried her with room to spare in the past.

More importantly, I don't think she's ever broken faith with that group... but Village voters have proved to be a fickle lot, eh, Tim Laube?

Still, Mrs. Birk will get my bullet vote in the hope that she will break up the three stooges voting bloc who, when examined with a critical eye, really don't have the best interests of Westhampton Beach at heart.

Happy first day of Summer!


1. The Mink said...

The real issue in this Village is Zoning and the Building Department. As you enter this Village from Riverhead Road driving South, you see the empty buildings of formerly Finn McCool's (Buckhead{sic}), Annona, spaces in North Mall, the Empire Station, Dora's, then turn left on Mill, then right on Sunset to the other empty gas station and culminating with the hulking wreck of the bowling alley.

The Mayor and Board should be taking the lead and attracting businesses to the Village. If there are issues with Zoning, they should be addressed. Everyone knows how rediculously tight the commercial zoning laws of this Village are and the result of this tightness is a significant percentage of empty buildings. Somehow the voters of Westhampton Beach do not hold this Village Board responsible for it. They are. We need real leaders who actually care about the appearance and functioning of this Village. I don't think we have them yet.

[whew!] Where to start?

  • In case you haven't driven down lower Sunset Avenue lately, work has begun on "the hulking wreck of the bowling alley."
  • Not a single one of the exisiting-but-demised business you cited were shuttered because of the Village's Zoning Laws or problems with the Building Department... although Buckhead's Grill failed to open because it declined to comply with local ordnances.

    (Don't like the "house rules?" Don't sit down at the poker table.)

  • It has been my experience with decades of being a businessman here, as well as being part of Village Government in various positions, as well as a member of the local Chamber of Commerce for more than a decade, that what you propose is not a function of Government, but the Chamber. (Ain't it great that we have not one but two such organizations here... have you spoken with either of them about being more pro-active in "attracting businesses to the Village?"

    And as someone who had regularly attended Village Board meetings for the past 44 years, I can tell you that when the Chamber or any of the various iterations of WHAM have come before them with a request, that request is usually accommodated.
  • There is, currently, an "issue with Zoning," and it is being addressed. (cf; B3/I1.)
  • "Everyone knows how rediculously tight the commercial zoning laws of this Village are?" Really? Define "everyone?" I suspect that you're in the real estate business, because only someone with unsold/unleased commercial listings would make such an absurd statement.
It's clear from your above views that your idea of "real leaders" in Government would be those who throw out the Master Plan and Zoning Ordinances, hike up their skirts and whistler at the next passer-by with money in his pocket!

I guess "we" know on what street corner you'd be plying your trade if times get really tough!
– Dean

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