Those Road Signs? Feh.

Election grumpily picked apart at senior center
Durell Godfrey

Voter turnout will be high among East Hampton’s senior citizens, according to an informal poll taken early this week, but most of those gathered at the town’s senior citizens center on Monday were tight-lipped as to their opinions of the 2017 campaign and those asking for their vote. 

As they gathered at the center on Springs-Fireplace Road that day, discussion was lively — until a reporter showed up, at least. 

One aspect of this year’s race for townwide offices including supervisor, town board, and trustees has left some voters decidedly annoyed: the campaign signs that sprouted like invasive weeds on nearly every inch of open space. 

“I find they’re very distracting,” said Joan Brill Kallmeyer of Springs. “I’m very annoyed by them, and I don’t want to vote for any of them.” Ms. Kallmeyer said that she does intend to vote, however.

“All the campaign posters” were also on Kerry S. Baker’s mind. “I think it’s disgusting, and I can’t believe the town has allowed it,” said the Springs resident. “It’s like garage sale signs — after people have garage sales, they never take the signs down. This is East Hampton; this is a beautiful, rural hamlet. The signs are up and down the road. It’s never been like this, as much, and I think it’s horrible.”

In campaign season, candidates’ reach extends right into people’s houses, said one visitor to the center. “Every night, some woman calls,” she said, adding that upon hearing the familiar voice she slams the telephone receiver down. “Hopefully, it will damage her hearing,” she said. Is the voice on the other end advocating for a particular candidate? she was asked. “I’ve never listened. I don’t get that far.”

For Anthony Lombardo of East Hampton, there is just one important issue. “There’s a handful of us that live here on reduced rent,” he said. “We don’t have much money. I know the cabs have to make their money — I was an entrepreneur, I sympathize.” But for residents of the Windmill Village and St. Michael’s senior citizens apartment complexes in East Hampton and Amagansett, “if you go to the train station or to the supermarket and back, there should be some financial consideration” of the fare, he said. “I don’t blame them, they have to make their money, but just for those of us in some hardship, when we need some minor transportation. That’s the only thing I would like.” 

Ms. Kallmeyer gave high marks to Supervisor Larry Cantwell, who is not seeking re-election. Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, a Democrat, will be elected to succeed him, one man predicted. Not if Paul Harry of East Hampton can help it, however. “I’m a staunch Republican,” he said, “so I’ll vote the ticket.” 

One man who did not wish to be identified predicted that “the constitutional convention would give all those bloodsuckers more of a finger into our pies,” should New Yorkers vote next week to hold a convention to revise and amend the State Constitution in 2018. 

Discussion often veered to politics at the national level, and, one year later, at least a few visitors to the center were still needling one another over their vote for, or against, President Trump. 

Regardless, lawmakers at every level of government do share one trait, the opponent of a constitutional convention stated. “When somebody gets elected,” he said, “I think they take them to a room and have their brains turned to mush."

Durell Godfrey