Town Board: A Matter of Perspective

    For East Hampton Town Board only one thing is certain: Councilman Dominick Stanzione should not win re-election — and, given his record, it would surprise close observers of the Town Hall scene that he is likely to. Voters are lucky that the three other candidates for the seats open after Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilwoman Theresa Quigley decided not to run again are among the strongest in years. The tough thing will be deciding among them.

    On policy, the personally likeable Mr. Stanzione’s negatives far overwhelm his positives. He has all but declared war on his own hamlet of Amagansett, backing the Scarsdalization of the South of the Highway lanes from day one and looking favorably on a massive, exclusive luxury housing development for the former Principi property on Montauk Highway. His involvement with the airport has bred controversy, favoring commercial users over the interests of residents. And, for the most part, he has sided with the worst impulses of the outgoing majority, bucking it only on a few issues in a late effort to claim independent thinking.

    The knock on Mr. Overton is that he has been pretty much a ghost town clerk, invisible to those who come to his office and content to let his hired deputy, Carole Brennan, run the show. In fact, as observers have pointed out, it has been Ms. Brennan, as often as not, who has occupied the town clerk’s seat at town board meetings.

    Mr. Overton’s easygoing attitude may be an asset, however, considering the wreckage the current activist town board majority is leaving in its wake. The past four years have caused us to wonder whether the town would be better off if the board met less often; the result might be that it got into less trouble, leaving well enough alone. Mr. Overton is a thoughtful person, and his long public service and community involvement would provide context for many of the decisions that lie ahead. In addition, his perspective as someone outside the pending Democratic majority would be valuable.

    Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, a relatively new face in town politics, has put together an impressive run and strong coalition of supporters. She draws on acknowledged achievements as president of the Springs School Board and has deep friendships in that hamlet and beyond. Her focus on the human side of town government in the campaign has been welcome. In a normal year, hers would be an easy endorsement, that is, if she did not have Job Potter as a seasoned and experienced running mate.

    Mr. Potter has distinguished himself during the campaign as extremely knowledgeable, gently persuasive, and even-keeled. His record on land preservation and environmental questions is solid, and we would expect him to remain a leader in this arena.

    The depth of the candidates’ résumés and a balance of perspectives on the next East Hampton Town Board are what matter. To that end, we endorse Mr. Overton and Mr. Potter. We very much hope that Ms. Burke-Gonzalez will consider another run for town office if she doesn’t prevail on Tuesday.