Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Lineup

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
--Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

As the Hamptons politicians start lining up for the big event on November 6th, it has at least started to resemble a real election. The cross-endorsement ploys of years gone-by are merely a bad memory for democrats.

After Linda Kabot and Nancy Gabroski were rejected by the party regulars who are controlled by Skip Heaney, the three-term incumbent Supervisor, and Marcus Stinchi, the Town Republican Party Chairman – they both returned to win the party Primary. Essentially, that split the Republican Party; and while Stinchi and the NeoCon regulars were bound to support Kabot, Heaney was still trying to pull strings to stay on the ballot, any ballot.

He's still running – hoping that there are enough conflicts to dilute the will of the people: getting him out of office. He’s returned, to the chagrin of many, on the Conservative line simply because he’s been hoarded cash donated by the various slush fund ploys -- compliments of Masterson and a variety of other bagmen with the help of Stinchi and the Republican regulars.

For the Supervisor race this years' election is shaping up with Jim Henry running as the Democrat, Alex Gregor running as the Independent (who beat Heaney by 2 votes), Kabot running on the Republican and Integrity Party lines and Heaney on the Conservative line. While Heaney would like to be the power broker in this race – which appears to be between Henry and Kabot, the truth is that Alex Gregor is more likely to be that person.

Gregor has been treated badly by Heaney and the Town of Southampton. He was a whistleblower who lost his job because was concerned more about residents and the environment than his own job security.

He ran for Masterson's position as Highway Superintendent and was defeated by Heaney's false and highly negative publicity. Since Masterson has used this position to milk the paving industry for cash and votes to support the Republican machine, it was necessary to hold on to that particular cow.

But Gregor, a Hampton Bays native, had a lot of support from residents. He ran against Heaney this year on the Independence line and beat the incumbent, albeit by only a few votes.

In Southampton politics the name of the game is how many lines you can grab in the voting booth. The more lines you have as a candidate, the better your chances are of winning the election.

Gregor, a very personable and straightforward guy to talk to, says that he is in this to win the race for Supervisor.

Although not said by him, even if he does not win he is likely to be the candidate who could be in a position to decide who will win this race. Although it is not certain that he voting block would support any candidate other than Kabot no matter what Gregor decides.

However, no matter what Gregor does, he will continue in Southampton politics and is a voice that both local voters as well as New York property owners can feel comfortable with. He is not a redneck or a racist and respects and supports the environment.

The Town Board race has two major candidates to be considered for the slots available – Anna Throne Holst and Nancy Gabroski. The others, particularly Russo and Drew are Heaney clones and, in fact, are running with him on the Conservative line.

Gabroski rejected the conflict of interest problem (at the very least) involving James Zizzi, a local builder, and was rejected by the Republican rank and file for this position. She's lined up both Republican and Integrity Party lines and is expected to win handily.

Throne-Holst, also a reformer, stands to take another of the Town Board seats – hopefully, helping to change the nearly misogynistic attitude by Southampton Town government "old' boys network." She has come out against corruption and cronyism and has spoken up about the hidden racist agenda adopted in the new rental law slated to take effect in January.

The current Board is comprised of Chris Nuzzi (a Heaney pal from Crookhaven whose term is not up), Linda Kabot (Republican running for Supervisor), Kenny (term-limited out) and Gabroski (likely going to be re-elected). There are two slots up for grabs and, should Kabot be elected Supervisor, there would be another vacancy in January.

If three-card-Monty or the run-of-the-mill Manhattan street corner shell game interests you, this will definitely get your attention.

The likely winners will be Throne-Holst and Gabroski, creating a Board with a new Supervisor, a couple of reformers and a Heaney shill, Nuzzi. If Kabot wins, we have neo-con Board and three reformers (assuming she controls the choice of her replacement). If Henry wins, we have a three way power game with Kabot, Gabroski, Throne-Holst and Nuzzi. Of course, it could be none of the above or exactly as described. Pick your horse and go to the race.

If Heaney buys the control of this scenario with the reported quarter million dollar war chest and the two newspapers he “owns” (Southampton Press and Suffolk Life), put your seatbelts on and get ready for the Feds to start reviewing Town records again. While they were around during the cell tower controversy, they haven't really visited in the Hamptons since Mayor Motz had his little problem with "ticket-switching."

Speaking of which, the Heaney Republicans have attacked Jews, Blacks, Gays, Asians and Hispanics (do you see any of them in Town government?), but now the Italians have even started to take notice.

Andrea Schiavoni, candidate of Town Justice who is running against Eddy Burke, been accused of NOT being Italian (compliments of Heaney helping elect Burke) -- and a local developer finally figured out that he's one of the un-chosen people in the Hamptons.

Seems that Mayor Motz, a Heaney buddy, is on the wrong end of another legal problem. Developer Rocco Lettieri had the nerve to sue Motz and the Village of Quogue for some unkind comments, such as referring to the Italians as "you people." The $25 million dollar Federal lawsuit is reminiscent of the kinds of comments coming out of Southampton Town Hall – in referring to Blacks with the N work, Latinos as "spics," and many New York Jews as "kikes."

There's no need to speculate as to how the ladies have been categorized – since several elected women have described the Heaney (and his administration's "Neanderthal") Town legal staff – to be disrespectful, misogynistic and crude. Call a female politician working at the Town Hall and they will confirm it, off the record.

It's not the kind of question that the Southampton Press is likely to ask.

In fact, Donna Giaconti, Heaney's Executive Assistant, was a reporter run by Shaw – it was the direct link to control of the Press by the Heaney administration.

The other "news"paper, Suffolk Life, of course, had Heaney's campaign manager plugged into their operation. No one less than Wilmott's son.

Nothing like an independent media in the Hamptons.

So, what does it tell you that with all of this control of the media, that Heaney lost the Republican primary to Kabot, lost the Independent line to Gregor – and is considered toxic dump material to the newly formed Integrity Party? What it does say is that if Heaney does resurrect himself by threatening or buying his way into office, there will be big problems in Town government.

Andrea Schiavoni, running for Justice Court against Ed Burke, is another reform-oriented candidate who deserves attention.

Ed Burke, a competent attorney and judge, has had many casting aspersions at his record of cooperation with the Heaney machine – not his knowledge as a jurist. The remarks about preferential tax treatment for his North Sea property, when compared to the disastrous increase in Town taxes foisted on us all by Heaney and his featherbedding cronyism are a real sore point.

Those who do business with the court speak well of Burke – but, often for the wrong reasons.

Andrea Schiavoni is a highly competent attorney with decades of experience in the courts and is someone who does not do "deals" for the boys. While that may not be good news for the Heaney sycophants and Neo-cons, it will be good news for local residents who need a night court (which has been mandated by the court system but never implemented) which Schiavoni is committed to – and will be good news for attorneys who depend upon the independent integrity of the Justice Court in Southampton – the busiest justice court in the State.

Deals are for politicians, not judges.