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  •    For the first time in a long while, State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, who has been a fixture on the political scene for a generation, has a challenger with a real shot.

  •    The contest between Randy Altschuler, a wealthy St. James businessman, and Representative Tim Bishop went from just plain bad in 2010 to downright disgusting this year. From the Democratic side, accusations were made — then and in recent weeks — that Mr. Altschuler’s career as an outsourcing executive was bad for America. The Republicans countered — backed by millions in unregulated super-PAC money — that a routine constituent service effort by Mr. Bishop’s office was an inappropriate quid pro quo.

  •    A well-intentioned but irredeemably flawed law recently signed by Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone would require nearly all residents to earn a certificate by taking a safety course and passing an exam in order to operate a power boat. Those who head out on the water without a certificate would be fined $250 for a first offense.

  •    The Wilkinson administration in East Hampton Town Hall is proud of having set the town’s financial condition to rights on the heels of former Supervisor Bill McGintee’s irregular manipulation of funds, which left the town with a huge internal deficit. But there is a flaw in the proceedings of the town budget office that warrants attention.

  •    Aside from the Hamptons International Film Festival, which drew crowds to East Hampton Village last weekend, the South Fork has had plenty of other events in the last few weeks — and their popularity is raising questions about official oversight, or really the lack thereof.

  •    Like long-suffering residents of many parts of the South Fork, people who live in a section of East Hampton centered on Miller Lanes East and West have experienced mounting frustration with drivers using the streets in their neighborhood to skirt traffic. In this case, cars and trucks wend their way through the narrow lanes as an alternative to the North Main and Cedar Street intersection. Residents have turned to the East Hampton Town Board for a solution, citing safety concerns.

  •    East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson released his 2013 budget last week, which contains a pay raise for elected and appointed officials, including himself, and more money for water safety. Also going up is money for ordinance enforcement, but only somewhat: The $338,000 budgeted is still below what was spent in 2010. This is too little for a chronically short-staffed department, one that is critically important for assuring that town rules are followed.

  •    We were puzzled last week at the news that the Town of East Hampton was putting off even temporary or conditional approval of a request from the Viking Fleet to berth a seasonal party-fishing vessel at the Commercial Dock on Three Mile Harbor.

  •    Sag Harbor Village officials have embarked on a poorly-explained effort to evaluate whether to disband or sharply reduce the village’s police department. Just why they are undertaking this is open to question, as is why they have for the most part chosen to pursue the goal behind closed doors.

  •    It is a story we dreaded. An East Hampton High School student apparently committed suicide late last week, and some of those who knew him have drawn a direct connection from what is being described as a deliberate, tragic act to his being bullied because he was gay or perceived by others as gay.