Fiscal troubles, potential lay-offs and dwindling tax revenues make this a turbulent time for Southampton Town and whatever candidates win the supervisor and town board race next Tuesday’s election will have quite a task ahead of them. Here’s our take on the choices:
First, town council seats. As far as the incumbent board members are concerned, we like Sally Pope’s skills as a mediator. She has proven herself to be very good at listening and filtering what people have to say, but ultimately, we feel Chris Nuzzi has shown more initiative in developing substantive programs. His ideas are creative and forward thinking, and he has been readily available to meet with community groups like the Noyac Civic Council to address their concerns. For that reason, Nuzzi gets our endorsement.
When looking at the two newcomers vying for town board — Jim Malone and Bridget Fleming, it was no contest. While we liked some of Malone’s ideas on conservation and farming, Fleming was by far the stronger candidate. She has a firm grasp not only on what she would do if elected, but was also well versed in what’s currently going on in town hall. We are always impressed when candidates come to the table armed and educated about what they are getting into and Fleming is clearly one such candidate.
We next wrestled with the question of whether to endorse Pope or Fleming. We saw no reason to toss Pope off the board, but given the issues facing town hall, including upcoming police contract negotiations, feel we need a tough negotiator on board. Given her experience in the New York County District Attorney’s Office and with her background in finance, we feel Fleming has skills that will be vital in coming months. Therefore, Fleming gets our nod.
But we still admire Pope’s spirit and eagerness to serve. Therefore, should Anna Throne-Holst be elected supervisor next Tuesday, we would advocate that Sally Pope be named to serve out Throne-Holst’s term as council member.
And now, onto the Southampton Town supervisor’s race. In her many years in town hall, first as assistant to supervisor Vincent Cannuscio, and then as a town council member and finally, supervisor, Linda Kabot has come to know Southampton Town well — probably better than anyone else now there. She understands procedure and is very effective. But her efficiency comes with a cost. Kabot, we feel, is so entrenched in town hall that she has alienated a lot of people with her take charge style of management, including most of the town board.
At a time when the town has to rebuild, we need a supervisor who can bring a sense of cohesion to the board. The person best qualified to do that, we believe, is Anna Throne-Holst. Throne-Holst has worked for non-profit groups in all areas of administration and finance. We feel she would be a consensus builder who asks the right questions. One thing that has impressed us with Throne-Holst is the fact that even though she is endorsed by the Democrats, she has made it a point to say that she remains independent. And we like the fact that she advocates a more holistic approach to town government by looking at town operations from the top down, with a concern for the bottom line rather than the status quo.
In short, it seems to us that town hall is in need of some new blood — so Anna Throne-Holst gets our support.