East End Digest – November 27

Posted on 26 November 2008

East End Special Players

The East End Special Players will host a special benefit performance of “You are a Petunia in my Garden” on Friday, December 5 at Bay Street Theatre on Long Wharf in Sag Harbor at 7 p.m. for $15. The production, which was written by the players themselves about their lives, hopes and dreams, will benefit the players and their ultimate goal – to reach out to other groups throughout the United States, Europe, Africa and on other continents. Plans for the East End Special Players next production is to theatrically collaborate and work with the School for the Mentally Handicapped Kledjo for the Volta Deaf in Hohoe, Ghana, West Africa.

State Assembly: Limits On PILOT

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. has introduced legislation which will expressly limit local government discretion in awarding PILOT payments to school and special districts in the Central Pine Barrens by providing express state rules for calculating and awarding such payments.

“Local governments have utilized their discretion with the PILOT payments more for politics than good policy reasons. The legislation will forever eliminate any such shenanigans with the PILOT payments. The Community Preservation Fund (CPF) is first and foremost a land preservation program, not a revenue sharing program. The PILOTS program, if managed fairly and responsibly, is a critical part of land acquisition strategies in areas with high taxes, low property values and environmentally sensitive lands. This bill will insure that the program meets legislative objectives.”

Suffolk County: Thanking Films

Celebrating a successful year of economic activity generated by the film production industry on the East End, County Executive Steve Levy and the Suffolk County Film Commission, in cooperation with the East End Production Task Force, will welcome elected officials, chambers of commerce and business owners to a special “thank you” networking cocktail reception on Thursday, December 4 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Southampton Inn at 91 Hill Street in Southampton.

The event will feature several guest speakers including Mitchell Kriegman, co-owner of East Hampton Studios and Moke McGowan, President, Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. Representatives from area hotels, restaurants, retail businesses and casting agencies will share their experiences and present the benefits of local production on the East End.

In recent months, local villages and hamlets have served as the setting for a number of television and film productions including the feature film “Paper Man,” episodes of the runaway hit TV show “Gossip Girl,” potential new series such as Barry Sonnenfeld’s “Suburban Shootout” and “Royal Pains” and production work for such shows as Saturday Night Live and the PBS children’s series, “It’s a Big, Big World.”

Productions often bring along over 100 crew members who stay at hotels and inns, rent homes and locations, shop in supermarkets, farmstands and stores and dine in restaurants. Consequently, each shoot has an economic impact on the communities in which production takes place. The East End Production Task Force was created to not only promote film and television on the East End but to work with local legislators on making the whole process as desirable as possible for filmmakers and avoiding public inconvenience.

For further information contact Janet Scheel, 853-4747 or email janet.scheel@suffolkcountyny.gov.

Plum TV: Mr. Internet

Plum TV, the 24-hour television and internet network of local channels serving upscale resort communities, has partnered with award winning advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky to launch a new television series offering viewers a guided tour into the uncharted territory of the Internet.

The new series, “Mr. Internet,” launches Thanksgiving weekend and will be hosted by Dave Schiff, VP Group Creative Director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky. The show will offer a unique inside look at the latest, greatest and most absurd trends, web pages, videos and experiences on the Internet.

Each half-hour program will provide a platform for “Mr. Internet” and his guests to discuss the most topical and culturally insightful nuggets from the vast expanses of cyberspace. From trends in blogging and social networking sites to the often unintentionally humorous trials and tribulations of free web services, Mr. Internet explores popular websites and offers a sneak peak into the trends and culture of the Internet. Working on location from inside the Internet to fully immerse viewers in its culture, Mr. Internet will cull compelling internet phenomena and expound on it or discuss it with his guests. The program is the web 2.0 version of “Talk Soup,” pulling content from the Internet rather than television.

“Plum TV’s audience is perfect for this show: they’re smart, successful, curious people who appreciate the humor, intrigue and oddities often found on the world wide web, said Chris Glowacki, CEO of Plum TV. “Crispin Porter + Bogusky is an arbiter of what’s edgy and provocative in American culture, and is uniquely equipped to take the deep dive into Internet content, so our busy viewers don’t have to.”

In an age where new Internet celebrities are created weekly and youtube videos circulate the web faster than one can download a TV show, the Internet has proved to be more than a petri dish for pop culture or a tool for work or school. From service-oriented tips in travel and finance to expanding technologies and the latest viral video, Mr. Internet will guide viewers through the mean streets of the Internet.

The initial season of the program will consist of six-30 minute episodes that will air across the Plum networks, including their Hamptons station.

Southampton Town: East Quogue Purchase

Supervisor Linda Kabot announced today that Southampton Town has officially acquired a sought-after parcel slated for preservation.

Straddling the border between the hamlet of East Quogue and the Village of Quogue, the property is comprised of an acre of land owned by Richard and Patricia Schultz, and is situated on the corner of Box Tree Road and Lakewood Avenue.

“It affords us the opportunity to increase wetlands preservation within the Village of Quogue,” said Kabot, who added that the hamlet portion of the property is already part of the Town’s Wetland Preservation Target Area.

 “Wetlands are fragile, but indispensable natural resources which are immensely important to the Town,” added Kabot.

Southampton’s wetlands include small wet depressions, inter-dunal swales and vernal ponds, as well as expansive marshes, swamps, bays, creeks, and ponds.

“They are essential to maintaining the ecology and biodiversity of the Town,” said councilwoman Nancy Graboski, liaison to the Community Preservation Advisory Board. “They also protect against floods, control pollution, and contribute to open space efforts.”

The original resolution approving the purchase was adopted by the Town Board on September 9, and authorized a price of up to $50,000. The move also added the Schultz property to the Town’s Community Preservation Project Plan which identifies target areas and properties for park, recreation, open space, and conservation purposes.

Any development rights credits associated with the land will be placed in the Town’s development rights bank and may be used as wastewater credits for affordable housing initiatives.

Assemblyman Thiele: State Budget

The New York State Legislature met on November 18 in what Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. called an extraordinary session to address the state’s $2 billion 2008-09 budget deficit. No action was taken.

Governor David Paterson’s proposed budget cutting proposal had no support among state legislators of either party, said Thiele. The governor’s meat axe approach to cutting aid to education, local governments, and hospitals was ill considered, he added in a release, noting the result would have been higher property taxes, loss of essential services and a further economic decline.

Nevertheless, the substantial state budget deficit remains and must be addressed, he added

“We need to set clear priorities and we need to be fair in making these decisions,” said Thiele in a press release. “Education and health care must have a high priority. Yet, there can be no doubt that there is waste and fat in the state government that must be rooted out first. Since January 2007, the state bureaucracy has increased by 6,000 positions. If we did without these positions less than two years ago, can’t we do without them now? Further, an early retirement incentive could be utilized to reduce the size of the workforce.

The state also has nearly $1.7 billion in “rainy day” and reserved funds which could be applied to the deficit. “These funds were created to mitigate a crisis just like the one we are facing,” said Thiele.

“Further,” he adds, “In discussions with Congressman Tim Bishop regarding the proposed federal stimulus plan, part of the proposal would include changes in federal funding which would generate $2 billion in extra aid for New York State, if passed by Congress. The governor needs to lobby the federal government to make this a reality.”

Thiele also suggested other areas the state could look to towards reining in spending. For example, he said, New York State spends more on Medicaid than California and Texas combined.

“To a large extent this is due to the level of fraud, waste, and abuse in New York State,” he said. “In addition, New York State funds every optional Medicaid service, unlike other states. By mirroring California’s Medicaid program, we could have substantial funds without impacting essential medical care.”

He also said a state hiring freeze, a freeze on state employee travel, a 15 percent cut in non-personnel state budget lines, merging similar state agencies, eliminating un-needed state commissions and member items, as well as eliminating the re-appropriations that are five years or older are other tactics Thiele said could be used to bridge the gap.

“Of course,” he added, “any comprehensive proposal must also cap school taxes, eliminate unfunded state mandates to schools and local government, increase fiscal accountability on all levels of government, and provide incentives to promote consolidation of local government and local government functions.”

The governor will present his proposed 2009-10 state budget in mid-December.

“It is imperative that the governor and the state legislature get to work immediately after that presentation to restore fiscal stability to the state,” said Thiele. “I had to take similar steps as a chief fiscal officer of a local government 17 years ago. We turned a deficit into a surplus. The state can do the same if there exists the political will to do so.”

 

 

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