Those First Press Endorsements...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Those First Press Endorsements...

...bestowed in last Thursday's edition, simply don't withstand scrutiny.

If they had been rendered by a municipal board... Zoning, Planning, etc.... they would have been sent to Supreme Court in Riverhead as part of the Article 78 appellate process, and overturned for not being supported by "sub­stantial evidence."

(That the endorsements were also "arbi­trary and capricious" falls under the head­ing of "O, well..." editorial prerog­ative*, doncha know?)

And for those unfamiliar with an Article 78, there's an old colloquialism to the effect of "Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining."

For all intents and purposes it's the same thing.

Most egregious is their blanket endorsement of the all-Republican Board of Trustees:

"[M]ost of the candidates put forward by the Democratic Party over the years have been ill equipped for the job...."

(They got that part right!)

"Bill Pell, who has been the Democrats' strongest nominee in the past few races, is fully qualified to serve as a Trustee, and has as much experience around the water as any current member. He's joined this time around by Chris Garvey, also a regular working the local waters."

(Good... no argument there.)

"Mr. Pell and Mr. Garvey are compelling choices as Trustees..."

(Absolutely! And here comes the endorsements!)

"...perfectly reasonable options for voters so inclined. As impressive as Mr. Pell and Mr. Garvey are, though...."

(Uh oh... lemme guess!)

"...there simply doesn't seem to be a vacan­cy that needs to be filled. The five incum­bents really do work well as a team, each with his own abilities and specialities, and there really isn't a weak link to target."

Really?!? Someone on Windmill Lane hasn't been paying attention!

Never mind that dilettante Fred Havemeyer and his brand new L.L. Bean waders fairly de­fines "weak link" in this context, this seems to again be a case of The Southampton Press wearing blinders when it comes to anything West of the Canal.

(Psssst! Joe Shaw, Joe Louchheim... check your own morgue for coverage of the Westhampton Cemetery Association issue!)

The Southampton Town Board of Trustees have over the past several years evolved into a little fiefdom less concerned with the Dongan Patent than with the exercise of their own power.

The most alarming part is that The Press is either unaware of what's been happening under their very noses, or doesn't care.

The Board of Trustees desperately needs some fresh blood to get them back on track, and the non-Republicans standing for two of those five seats would infuse that board dramatically.

For openers, it would dispel some of that unwarranted arrogance from the surviving incumbents, and make them more amenable to working with the Cemetery Association toward a reasonable solution.

The Press' endorsement of Alex Gregor isn't as shocking... it's probably just laziness on the Editorial Board's part, but it's the part that would be Article 78'd to Griffing Avenue!

After evaluating the two candidates' résumés and styles...

"Mr. Gregor has a varied background as a laborer, environmental contractor and well driller; Mr. McGann is retired from a long career in law enforcement. Mr. Gregor is eager, earnest and knowledgeable, but a little short on charisma; Mr. McGann is cool and professional, but while he might be able to distinguish cold patch from hot patch, his familiarity with the Highway Department seems limited."

("Charisma?!?" What's that about?!? The only one with any charisma in the history of the Highway Department was the late Tommy Lavalle, but that was never part of the job description.)

"The position... is administrative in nature—you don't have to know how to run paving equipment to manage the people who do. Working with people, in fact, is a very different skill from working with machinery, and expertise in one does not predict expertise in the other."

(Big plus for McGann, right?)

Still, the job of highway superintendent seems an appropriate next step for a man with Mr. Gregor's particular background. Mr. McGann is impressive and might be the better administrator, but chief of the Highway Department seems like an odd fit for a lifelong law enforcement officer."

(Someone clearly didn't do much research into Mr. Gregor's "background," #1, and, #2, do I sense a bias against law enforc­ers that would over-ride their ability as the "better administrators"?)

"And while it's true that working as a rank-and-file employee is not a guarantee of success as a manager, it seems sensible that to run a department that primarily tackles road projects and deals with environmental issues, a man with experience in those areas, like Mr. Gregor, would be better suited to oversee it."

Had the Editorial Board checked, they would have discovered that Mr. Gregor's "experience in those areas" was at best limited, and in reality closer to non-existent... and that's when he showed up for work!

An OtBB FOIL request to the Town for Mr. Gregor's employment record with the Highway Department is still pending. Hopefully the information will be released this week.

In any event, more about the Gregor candi­dacy will be forthcoming shortly.

The Southampton Press' Editorial Board went into the tank on the Board of Trustees and Highway Superintendent races, and one can but wonder what they'll come up with this week to rationalize their preferences for Supervisor and Town Board.

(Disclosure: in 2007 when I ran a strictly issues-based campaign for the Village Board, The Press held its nose and endorsed my candidacy, "troubled" by my views on "gun control and immi­gration," two issues which had nothing to do with Westhampton Beach nor had either been part of my campaign!)


1. Susan said...

The Press has been a complete waste of paper without Michael Pitcher!

Well, I wouldn't go that far!

2. Matlynn Carville said...

Great analysis.

This is an awful evaluation of the candidates.

Pell and Garvey, and heck, McGann too after THAT sloppy and inconsistent vetting. Shame on the Comical-Press.

Madame, I fear, has missed my point.

While there was precious little actual "vetting" (otherwise they would have blown Gregor out of the water), the evaluations were not the problem so much as the conclusions which followed... or in these instances, didn't follow. There was no consistency.

3. David Willmott, Jr. said...

Do I sense a change in your opinion on Mr. Gregor?

What I found most troublesome about The Press' endorsement was it's final line which suggests that while there is question about Mr. Gregor's leadership abilities that the people of Southampton ought to risk that for the sole purpose of finding out. Strikes me as a highly irresponsible position for The Press to be taking.

By the way in the interest of disclosure - I helped run Mr. Masterson's last campaign against Mr. Gregor, Supervisor Heaney's campaigns including the last one that also involved Mr. Gregor and am supporting Mr. McGann this go round.

My opinion of Mr. Gregor, who I supported against your guy four years ago, changed the following year. Familiarity did indeed breed contempt.

Yes, that final line is both "troublesome," and absurd:
"While John McGann is a valid option for voters, and there are still concerns about his opponent's leadership abilities, Alex Gregor should have the opportunity to settle that question once and for all."
Well, by the same token, why not Mr. McGann then? He is, by The Press' own evaluation, "cool and professional" and, what the job cries out for, one who "is administrative in nature."

We'll know better after tomorrow morning's revelations, but this time out it seems that the Editorial Staff decides who it likes based on who knows what criteria, and then cobbles together some non sequiturs to support their selections.

Thank you for your disclosure, Dave... you and I may be two of the last around for whom that concept has some meaning.

4. Eastside said...

Slime Mr. Gregor all you want, but he did not use Town Vehicles and Town employees to further his campaign, and then plead ignorance or lie about it as Mr. McGann did. If McGann did not know what his campaign staff was doing, how is he going to keep track of Highway Dept personnel. Or he lied about it, a poor alternative.

Whoooooooooa! "Slime?" If you think you know something, let's hear it, chapter and verse, not 'Net babble and "spin!"

McGann lied about what? As I recall, and wrote about at the time, several of his supporters seem to have crossed an ethical boundary and Mr. McGann immediately owned it, without whining or excuses. It was a blemish on his campaign, and I don't think he handled it as well as his could have, but he certainly didn't lie... so are you lying now or just badly informed?

As for keeping track of "Highway Dept personnel," one thing the present Highway Administration didn't have any problem with was keeping track of Alex Gregor: he wasn't there. He was a no-show over the last year or so of his employment while he tried to bilk the Town out of a medical disability pay-off.

Alex Gregor is a fraud... admittedly a personable one, but a fraud none-the-less. He wants to get on the public teet and he doesn't care what position it is.

Now I have a suggestion for you... if this is representative of what you bring to the discussion, take it to 27East which is quickly becoming a popular refuge for other Anonymous Morons with Modems.

5. Tugboat Bertha said...

O boy, what joy that Dave Wilmott, Jr. reads your blog and responds to it. His input and your reply were most interesting. Thanks to you both.

6. Gordie Howe said...

Hey Dean...

I see the Mrs. has you voting Democratic... kudos!


WHA-AT??? Where? Who said?

7. Jimmy Bond said...

You are correct, indeed, on these worthless election observations by The Southampton Press ("Chronicle"). Thanks for reminding that when it comes to West of the Canal (and yes, even Hampton Bays proper) we are nary a thought or inclination to the Louchheim crowd. Their flawed coverage of the Westhampton Cemetery fiasco and the Trustees' pandering to one small wealthy clique really is appalling. So where do the dearly departed get buried in their native village now that the Trustees turned their back on local families?

C'mon, Jimmy... be fair! As I noted, this week's Editorial endorsements were as good (valid) as last week's were fatuous and illogical.

As for Westhampton area residents, I think they're going to have to put off dying for the foreseeable future.

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