Who's Duping Whom?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Who's Duping Whom?

Alerted last evening by an OtBB regular to the full page adv. (page A6) in this morning's Southampton Press Western Edition placed by the "Westhampton Beach Alliance for the Separation of Church and State," it was this morning's first order of business.

reproduction of Westhampton Beach Alliance for the Separation of Church and State page A6 advertisement. Click for enlarged version.

Signed by "Co-Chairs" Elf Phillips-Rentmeester (a Village resident) and Craig Middleton, an ad­joining neighbor of Eileen Barrett's on Quiogue, the advocacy adv.¹ forges the specter of a post-eruv Westhampton Beach becoming "an Orthodox Jewish Community."

(Those emblazoned vans with antenna booms descending on the Village this weekend will be the New York media.)

The copy then proclaims rather grandly that "a vote for either (John Roland or Tim Laube) is a vote for the eruv."

Which is perplexing.

First, it appears that the "Alliance" believes that "the Separation of Church and State" is somewhere found within the Constitution.

It isn't.

The message about Westhampton Beach being a "secular, open Village" is a solid, thought-provoking one, and lays the foundation for a reasoned argument against the eruv.

Then the advertisement devolves into a fun­da­mentally dishonest attack on candidates Laube and Roland, implying that votes for Mayor Con­rad Teller and Trustees Toni-Jo Birk and James Kametler, will save the Village from having an eruv established.

Well, they're on fairly safe ground with Mrs. Birk; she's not only been hostile to the idea from the jump, but in the recorded vote at the May 1st Village Board meeting, she voted against it at every opportunity.

However, Mr. Laube's opponent, Mr. Teller, and one of Mr. Roland's opponents, Deputy Mayor James Kametler, are both on record as sup­porting the Synagogue's request for an eruv.

Yet the Alliance ignores this entirely.

According to colloquy with Mr. Middleton, the ad hoc Alliance seems to feel that Immaculate Conception's Father Joe Mirro was duped by the eruv's proponents when he spoke in public in support of allowing its creation.

Whether that's supportable or not, there's no doubt that the Alliance was duped by the Deputy Mayor when he asserted that he was opposed to it, and that his documented sup­port for the eruv, was a misunderstanding.

The videotape of that meeting reveals the truth: one again, James Kametler has been shown to be a liar.

The Alliance, on the other hand, is off to a shaky start, and needs to re-examine, not its objective... that's very clear; no eruv, ever!... but how it's trying to achieve that objective.

Right now it looks like it's trying to rig next week's Village election over a fictional issue.

Elsewhere in The Press this week...

... a couple of errors of note.

An incident at last week's Village Board meeting is described by Jessica DiNapoli:

"First, a member of the audience, who de­clined to give his name, asked Mr. Roland if he 'ate potatoes.' The man, later identi­fied as Angelo de la Fuente of Westhamp­ton Beach...."

For future reference, Señor de la Fuente, who owns a commercial premises on Old Riverhead Road, is not now, nor has he ever been, a resi­dent of Westhampton Beach.

On a related matter, there's a writer of an anti-Tim Laube letter who identifies himself as "Chris Ruggles, Westhampton Beach."

Following a similar Letter to the Editor last Summer which made an effort to wildly and falsely defame Mr. Laube, Police Chief Ray Dean, and the Blog author, it was discovered that Mr. Ruggles was not a resident of West­hamp­ton Beach, but was, coincidentally, con­sort to Señor de la Fuente's daughter.

Why is it that non-residents have such an interest in trying to affect Village politics?


¹.- I knew this was coming, having been af­forded a heads-up on Monday afternoon. I've known Ms. Phillips-Rentmeester for years, and I've spoken with Mr. Middleton; both are highly intelligent and cosmopolitan people.

I'd even say that Mr. Middleton is the type of articulate fellow with whom I'd like to take in a ballgame and go for a beer afterward.


1. Bryan Dean said...

While having my coffee at Bun & Burger this morning, Claude shows me the ad in The Press. We looked at each other and felt disguested. Has this election come to this? Teller, Kametler and Birk are making this Village so unappealing, why the hell would anyone want to shop here let alone move here. This has got to stop. This is a great Village! We need a change!!!

2. Tugboat Bertha said...

It is not within the purview of the Village Board to deny the eruv, is it? The first newspaper articles about the eruv stated words to the effect that it was Jewish tradition to ask the municipality for permission but the Village didn't require it. Or did I misunderstand? Could you clear up this question for us? If the Village has no say one way or the other, then it doesn't make sense to use the eruv question as an instrument for or against any of the candidates.

This is a good question/comment… far superior to the fatuous prattle you've been submitting of late.
Actually, it's important enough to address on the front page so I'll do it there.

3. Worried said...

The ad in The Press today about the eruv is an embarrassment to our Village. I dont understand, if we vote for Laube and Roland we will have the eruv? Did not Teller and Jim both want to pass it at the meeting? Have they now changed their minds? Excuse me if I sound stupid, but I am sure I read in The Press, Dan's Papers, on your blog, that both were for the eruv, so who does one vote for if they are against it?
Another question,why are people who live outside the Village meddling in this election? After this hits the media, I wouldn't be surprised to see our Village receive an invite to appear on The Jerry Springer Show -- we look like a bunch of fools.
Keep up the blog, Dean! You're keeping us informed, but I still wish you'd run again, we need someone like you. Don't forget you only lost by 6 votes last time, and since then you've opened up a lot of eyes.
Keep up the good work and let's hope that June 20th the Village shows you that they finally get it. This bunch has to go, we need to bring honesty and integrity into the Village office.

The Jerry Springer Show?!? That's cold!
But thank you for the kind words and the vote of confidence.

4. T. Maccarrone said...

The Village of Westhampton Beach is a family oriented place to live. Harmony and cooperation brings our life style to the top of the page. We have great schools, current library, and all the Real Estate Brokers to promote vistors and guests in the summer season. Why bring controversy to fire disention and argumentation. Let the Village do its job the way it needs to. Sure, give an opinion if thats what you must do...but stop the personal attacks and mistatements. Go to the meetings and vote in the elections. Since Mayor Stebbel the improvements and village business has given us all a better place to live. Lets Thank Them for a job well done. Now lets solve the energy problems and make life affordable again. Have a nice day !

Thank you for your somewhat unfocussed comments... the sense of your message, however, is understood.

An aesthetic note: you mean, I believe, Mayor Strebel.
– Dean

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