Prince Defends Vendor Law

    East Hampton Town Councilwoman Julia Prince lashed out on Monday about the protest several weeks ago regarding food vendors at town-owned beaches. “I’m sorry, I’m pissed,” she told members of the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday when the issue came up.
    She said the Facebook revolt had had no influence on the town’s change of mind. Instead, she said the proposed legislation had been found to be faulty. And, she said, it would be corrected and go through next year.
    “The legislation is good. It has to be rebid,” she said, of the request for proposals and bidding process. She added that she would like to see the minimum bid start at $10,000.
    For the past few years, town officials, and particularly Ms. Prince, have been working on revising the the way peddlers are permitted to park at the beaches, with several crowding into parking lots and hogging coveted spaces.
    The new legislation, which the town withdrew, established a point system by which vendors would be chosen to get permits. Community ties, business acumen, and the type of food to be sold were to be taken into account along with the amount bid. When the bids were opened this spring, however, Lili Adams lost her space for the Ditch Witch at the eastern Ditch Plain parking lot to Turf Lobster Rolls.
    Ms. Prince faulted Ms. Adams for losing the bid. “She knows what she’s making down there; she should have bid higher.”
    The people revolted. A Save the Ditch Witch page was started on Facebook, which got over 1,300 posts, and hundreds of e-mails were sent to town board members. Supervisor Bill Wilkinson reported receiving a threatening phone call at home in Montauk.       
    Moving on, Ms. Prince told the committee that the restrooms planned for those who use the beach at South Emerson Avenue will be completed in a few weeks. She said the town had been approached by an owner of the Sloppy Tuna, formerly Nick’s, who asked if the Tuna could buy or lease the restrooms in exchange for professional landscaping. “We told them absolutely not,” she said, reminding the committee that the restrooms are to be locked at 5 p.m. when the lifeguards go off duty.
    But the Sloppy Tuna owners had come back, offering to do the landscaping anyway, which Ms. Prince seemed to favor. “They don’t want to use it ,they want to hide it. As long as there are no strings attached, I don’t see why not.”