Endorsement: In Southampton
Democrats currently hold a 3-2 majority, so control of the town board is at stake in this year’s election. Incumbent Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, a member of the Independence Party who has been cross-endorsed by the Democrats, is being challenged by Republican Ray Overton.
Mr. Schneiderman has shown strong fiscal leadership. He has led the efforts to reorganize code enforcement by making it a standalone department with its own director; stabilize the police department by hiring a new chief; as well as undertake initiatives to upgrade the town website to make it easier for citizens to log complaints or obtain information. Under his leadership, the town board passed important septic rebate legislation, an important first step in reversing the pollution that is despoiling our groundwater and killing our bays. And Mr. Schneiderman has shown a willingness to tackle the revitalization of the town’s blighted areas, the need for affordable housing and efforts to find reasonable solutions to the traffic congestion east of the Shinnecock Canal.
Mr. Overton, the general manager of a plumbing contracting business, has painted himself as the outsider, willing to tackle any problem, no matter what the political fallout. His focus, though, seems to be on the west side of town. And while he talks about cutting through red tape to make it easier for developers to revitalize blighted properties, he has been short on specifics. And his suggestion that the only way to solve the eastern half of the town’s traffic problems is by widening Montauk Highway or upgrading backroads to handle more volume is a nonstarter.
Our nod goes with Mr. Schneiderman for a second term.
For town board, voters will be asked to select two of four candidates from among incumbent Republican Stan Glinka and his running mate, Thea Dombrowksi-Fry, and incumbent Democrat Julie Lofstad and her running mate, Tommy John Schiavoni, a North Haven resident and member of the Sag Harbor Board of Education.
Despite her well-meaning desire to protect the community she knows and loves for a future generation, Ms. Dombrowksi, who grew up in Water Mill and now lives in Hampton Bays, is eliminated by her lack of experience and lack of specifics.
Among the newcomers, Mr. Schiavoni, a social studies teacher in the Center Moriches School District, earns our support. Mr. Schiavoni is not only a long-standing member of the Sag Harbor community, who would bring much needed representation for the east side of town to the board, but he has also displayed leadership skills at the village and school district level and in his current role as a member of the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals. His desire to tackle water quality issues as well as the scourge of tick-borne illnesses will serve us well.
That leaves a dilemma because neither Mr. Glinka, a vice president at Bridgehampton National Bank, nor Ms. Lofstad, a former community activist who works with her husband, a Hampton Bays commercial fisherman, have done anything to not qualify them for reelection.
While Ms. Lofstad has championed the environment and affordable housing and come into her own after a half term in office, our endorsement goes to Mr. Glinka, whose reelection would keep a well-balanced board and give the business community a voice on it.
In the race for highway superintendent, incumbent Alex Gregor (D, C, I, WF) is facing off against Republican Lance Aldrich, a former deputy highway superintendent under Bill Masterson. Although Mr. Gregor can be a thorn in the side of other town officials, he has made the most with limited funding and deserves another term in office.