Marking the 2013 Ballot - I

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Marking the 2013 Ballot - I

This has been a remarkable election season... has anyone noticed the large amounts money spent on certain cam­paigns that one would think wouldn't ordinarily warrant such expenditures?

Sure, the Superintendent of Highways always garners sig­nificant campaign contributions from businesses who seek to be rewarded with lucrative contracts for paving and construction materials... that's been common practice for more than a century.

So when we see Alex Gregor, making $97,000 annual­ly, taking full pages of advertising at $3,831 plus $6501 up­charge for full color, it's a safe bet that the money isn't coming out of his own pocket.

(It will be interesting to examine Gregor's Campaign Finance Reports and see how many of his hires over the past four years kicked in.)

Highway Departments and Public Works are traditionally highly lucrative advertisers for publishers and broadcasters during election campaigns 'cause, as Willie Sutton famously noted, "that's where the money is."

But what of the Southampton Town Trustees, the Board which, per the Dongan Patent protects, every Town Free­holder's right to access and use our underwater land, marsh­land and Rights of Way to these common areas, who earn $23,900 annually2?

What makes this elected office worth what several of the non-incumbent candidates... most conspicuously Scott Horowitz... are spending on newspaper advertising and direct mailings?

(One, John Bouvier, even enlisted fellow Democrat Con­gressman Tim Bishop to make an automated 'phone call3 on his behalf!)

Am I to believe that in 2013 everyone's motives for standing for Public Office are completely altruistic?

Once, a long time ago, perhaps I would have been happy to have believed that, but experience and observation have made me cynical on that count.

When I see disproportionate sums of money thrown into an election, something begins to stink... several weeks ago OtBB called attention to the big push by the "NY Justice for All 2013" collective seeking to "increase the maximum age until which certain state judges may serve."

Since that first state-wide mailing, I've received two more jumbo post cards urging me to vote for Proposition 6, all of which have let me to believe that passage of this Amend­ment is not such a good deal for anyone but a bunch of old lawyers.

And on the matter of "Propositions," right in the middle of writing this, I received an automated call from, incredibly, former Governor George Pataki asking me to support "Prop 4" on this year's NYS Ballot.

This is an amendment to the State Constitution, and while at first glance is a "good thing," it asks voters to trust the Legislative branches to cede responsibility for forest pre­serves4 to private owners.

Haven't trusted Pakaki since his absurd firearms legislation in 2001, #1, and, #2, what has the NYS Assembly or Senate done of recent to give voters a reason to trust them on any­thing let along something of this magnitude?

Once that land is gone, people, it's gone forever!

(To be concluded....)

  1. Per the Southampton Press' current Rate Card.
  2. The Trustee President pulls in an additional $6,400 each year.
  3. How I wished that was a "live" call!
  4. Public land which was intended to be kept "forever wild"


1. 1340 said...

If you give Mr. Horowitz a few weeks to recover from four months of very intense campaigning, no doubt he would be happy to sit with you and express his views and I think you'll find that indeed he is altruistic. He is a very successful businessman of his own making and has no need for a job paying such a paltry sum. The Town will be well served with him on board.

I don't know the man, but based on your unequivocal endorsement, I sure would like to know what has driven him... if it's not money, it's got to be the authority (i.e., power) which comes with the position.

2. 1340 said...

Or perhaps a desire to serve?

Which, of course, would support your assertion that he is indeed "altruistic."

Look, he's won! Let's see what happens next... Scott Horowitz and Ray Overton will join Ed Warner, Bill Pell and Eric Shultz, and one of Overton's campaign points was posting Trustees Meeting minutes to the Town Website. Let's see how that goes.

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