Reasons to Vote For Cohen for Supervisor

    One thing East Hampton needs as many of its residents struggle to get along in a sluggish economy is a unifying force at the top. Instead, in the less than two years Bill Wilkinson has been supervisor, he has helped create distance between people and their government and divide them from one another.
    Zachary Cohen, who is running as a first-time candidate, would return civil discourse and consensus to Town Hall. This is something East Hampton requires now more than ever because the challenges ahead are many and difficult.
    Had Mr. Wilkinson spent his time in office focused solely on what voters put him in the job to do — correct the ill financial legacy of the previous administration — his record would be wholly admirable. However, he veered far from that mandate, putting himself at odds with many full-time residents, part-timers, and weekend visitors.
    He alienated Montauk over noise and crowds, Amagansett over a rock festival, Springs over illegal housing, and Wainscott over the airport. Townwide, residents were put off by his failing, until pushed, to take beach-access lawsuits seriously, ending leaf pickup, attempting to undermine sensible land-use restrictions, threatening to sell the town’s commercial fishing docks in Montauk, and allowing community preservation fund purchases to drop to their lowest-ever rate, despite making sure the money taken improperly from it by the former administration would be returned. He also has fostered a deep fear of reprisal among town employees. The list goes on.
    Autocratic to a fault and quick to anger, Mr. Wilkinson has taken actions in direct contradiction of public sentiment, as with the hasty decision to sell the town’s interest in the Poxabogue Golf Center at a loss. He stood by as one of his appointees to the zoning board savaged the professionalism of the Planning Department. He put a friend, who shared a record Lake Montauk environmental penalty, on a committee to study pollution of the lake and recommend improvements.
    Many would have preferred Mr. Cohen to have come up through the path of a seat on the planning board or town board, where voters would have gotten to know him better. However, it should be noted that the current supervisor came to his first run for town office with far fewer government and finance credentials than Mr. Cohen.
    A policy nerd nearly to a fault, Mr. Cohen may prove overly deliberate in narrowing in on decisions. Yet his preference for compromise and an informed constituency is a better fit for a leadership role here than the simplistic “run East Hampton like a business” mantra from Mr. Wilkinson. Mr. Cohen sees residents as the C.E.O.; Mr. Wilkinson says he is the boss.
    Mr. Cohen would allow the town’s ordinance enforcers to seek out problems and issue violations as they see fit, protecting neighborhoods and the environment, and upholding local laws. With no obvious political ideology, he is someone who will lay out options and genuinely consider differing views. At the same time, he will continue the careful work of making sure town finances are in good shape — with corrections he helped initiate in the first place.
    Rationality and respect for others is the overriding issue in this year’s race for supervisor. In this regard, Mr. Cohen is the better choice.
 

Comments

This is an absurd column. Mr. Wilkinson has probably been the most effective supervisor in the Town's history. He virtually rescued the town from the brink of financial disaster. Mr. Cohen on the other hand was called in on the carpet by the Democrat State Comptroller for misleading the public in his political advertising. Wilkinson restored the credibility of the Community Preservation Fund, something Cohen could not accomplish when he was an "advisor" to the previous disgraced administration. As a result the town has recently preserved 130 acres under Mr. Wilkinson. Mr. Rattray actually says the preservation did not happen. Maybe because Mr. Rattray's property that he wanted the town to buy was not bought is why Mr. Rattray does not consider the 130 acres preserved as actual preservation. Isn't that a conflict? Is there an ethics in journalism committee? If so, the Rattray claim that Wilkinson has not preserved property when it can be documented he did (over 100 acres have been preserved for $18 million under Wilkinson) certainly is something any ethics committee would be interested in. This endorsement of Cohen truly is comic. Please read today's Newsday endorsement of Wilkinson, along with the Independent's endorsement, and the Sag Harbor Express' endorsement.

East Hampton Town Community Preservation Fund expenditures from Jan. 1, 2010 to August totaled $8.62 million. The total number of acres closed on was 43.32.

These were:

Potter, .92 acre, $638,000
Nivola, 2 acres, $850,000
Maloney, 2.2 acres, $940,000
Boys Harbor, 27.8 acres, $3,674,562
Collins, 7 acres, $1,170,000
Duck Creek, 3.4 acres, $1,350,000

(The dollar amounts above may not reflect the purchase price in all cases, as some of the deals included money from other, non-town sources.)

The Rattray family owns several parcels of land on the community preservation fund acquisition list. The town board rejected an expression of interest in the sale of two of them earlier this year.

It is nice to see that you admit to wanting the Town to buy your land and the fact the town rejected the offer -- not happy about that I'm sure. But your intellectual and jounalistic dishonesty in your numbers above is astounding. The Wlikinson administration first had to put the CPF back together again in 2010 after the Democrats destroyed it. You give no credit to him for that. Once that was accomplished, land acquisitions could proceed robustly -- which they have been -- you lie about that, both in your editorial and in your response above. You are misleading the public as your endorsed candidate Cohen misled the public in his campaign literature according to the Democrat State Comptroller. Your numbers above conveniently go through the end of August. How convenient -- and misleading. Your list fails to include the Curtis, additional Nivola, and 11963 properties that are in contract and due to close this month. These properties account for 76.9 acreas and will cost $5,932,500. Your numbers also do not include the Wade, Bistrian and Dowling properties that are in contract and will preserve another 7.94 acres at $2,532,500. When you add it all up it (with your 43.52 acreas) the total is 128.36 acreas. The cost is $17.09 million. All of this information can be found on the Town Clerk's section of the Town website. The quality of your response above, or lack thereof, mirrors the quality and journalistic integrity of your "news"paper, namely totally lacking. Oh, by the way Mr. Cohen has no government financial creditials as stated by the State Comptroller and the Town's independent auditors. Mr. Wilkinson managed a budget of multiple hundreds of millions of dollars at Disney, as well as retirement and benefit programs that also totaled in the hundreds of millions. Again you ignore that. Very dishonest.
Wilkinson is first and always a businessman, like all bought out politicians who only cares about the wealthy here in the Hamptons. He's just another who caters to his masters. I personally saw him visit wealthy employers in weird meetings convincing them that their luxury-based businesses are safe with him. You don't have to believe me, I'm just sick of these all-talk jerks who walk around like they're part of the 99% but really, they couldn't care less about regular folks who work hard or can't even find a job in order to work hard. Forget about the blue-collar folks. Forget about quality of life. Cut cut cut... what's left? Just a lot of miserable families in a place with NO jobs being created, no services - Nothing. Thanks a lot.