Tag Archive | "LaValle"

GOP Targets Local Dem-Held Seats

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Suffolk County Republican Chairman John Jay LaValle is bullish about GOP’s prospects in the coming election. After years of setbacks nationally, on a state level and in Suffolk—once Republican-dominated—he sees the GOP as “on our way back.”

The GOP “lost its way,” acknowledges Mr. LaValle who took over as Suffolk leader in September. “We became like Democrats. We left the concept of smaller government and less taxes. We started to buy into a concept of all these programs—and government grew and grew.”

This has been true under a series of recent Republican presidents and the last GOP New York governor, George Pataki, said Mr. LaValle, a 42-year-old attorney who was Brookhaven Town supervisor from 2000 to 2005. But the Democratic Party has “betrayed the trust” of voters and people “have very quickly become angry and upset” and are starting to translate that politically, said Mr. LaValle last week. “It’s a very exciting time for us.”

The Democratic administration of Barack Obama has been a “disgrace.” The president’s “words sound good but there’s not been a whole lot of substance behind the words,” he said.

He speaks of Obama having “broken more campaign promises than any president of the United States.”

He regards the Democratic losses of the governorships of New Jersey and Virginia in November and, last month, of Democrat Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat, as the reflecting a negative view a majority of voters now have of the Obama administration.

The situation is “even more pathetic” in New York State with Democratic Governor David Paterson. Even if Mr. Paterson decides to drop out and not run in November or is dumped, Mr. LaValle doesn’t see his likely replacement, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, as salvaging the situation for Democrats.“Cuomo is extremely overrated,” commented Mr. LaValle. “He and David Paterson operate from the same playbook.”

Mr. LaValle is supporting former U.S. Representative Rick Lazio of Brightwaters as the GOP nominee for governor in November. “I am certain he will be the Republican candidate. He is a fiscal conservative who knows the reality of our situation.”

As to Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, a Democrat who is seeking to run for governor—and, said Mr. LaValle, has “reached out” to him about GOP support—Mr. LaValle said Mr. Levy could “make a great comptroller or attorney general” candidate on the Republican ticket “but we’re behind Rick Lazio.”

On a county level, he cites East Hampton as a “perfect example” of Democrats self-destructing locally. In East Hampton “the Democrats came into power and ran up deficits and tried to cover up the deficits with inappropriate fiscal behavior.” Thus in a town where there are more enrolled Democrats than Republicans, the GOP won big in East Hampton in November, he points out.

A key target of Mr. LaValle is Democratic U.S. Representative Tim Bishop of Southampton who Mr. LaValle describes as the “poster child of betrayal” for supporting the Democratic plan for health care reform. “Virtually two-thirds of his constituents were opposed,” claims Mr. LaValle. Mr. Bishop should have reflected this, he maintains “This arrogance Tim Bishop possesses is exactly the Washington mentality that got us into trouble.”

He speaks of “extraordinary” potential candidates seeking to run against Mr. Bishop including: Christopher Cox of Westhampton Beach, a grandson, he notes, of former President Richard Nixon; George Demos, originally of Shelter Island now of Holbrook, a former SEC enforcement attorney; and Gary Berntsen, a retired CIA operative and author of Port Jefferson.

Another major LaValle target: Brian Foley of Blue Point who in 2008 ended a near-century GOP hold on all Suffolk seats in the State Senate. Mr. LaValle scores Democrat Foley’s vote on imposing a payroll tax to help finance the MTA.

It is vital, meanwhile, says Mr. LaValle, that the GOP not just criticize Democrats but “espouse the principles and ideals of our party. The party has to stand for something: fighting to make government smaller and that will lead to lower taxes for residents. People are standing up and wanting to see something new. This is the reason for these tea parties.  People are gravitating back to slightly right of center. It’s a process.”

Is Mr. LaValle correct? There are many months between now and the November election. But, for sure, in Mr. LaValle of Mt. Sinai (the cousin of State Senator Kenneth LaValle) the party now has a hard-charging leader.


East End Digest: December 11

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ARF: Cats and Dogs Calendar 

 

         The 2009 Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF) Pet Calendar is now on sale at area bookstores, galleries and specialty shops. There are more than 100 animals featured in the calendar including mutts, pedigrees, former shelter animals as well as ARF cats and dogs available for adoption. The cover features Mimi Vang Olsen’s painting of cats and dogs in a kingdom setting. The calendar also features many candid photographs, contributed by pet owners.

         “While it’s handy for keeping a busy 2009 schedule, the Pet Calendar is just as likely to find its home on a coffee table,” says Dick Huebner, an award-winning art director who designed the original calendar.

         Founded in 1974, the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons has found loving homes for over 15,000 animals. ARF currently provides for the health and welfare of dogs and cats on the South Fork of Long Island and Shelter Island through shelter and adoption services, medical care, spaying and neutering programs, community outreach and humane education. The calendar retails for $25, the 2009 ARF Pet Calendar is also available at www.arfhamptons.org, as well as local retail locations and galleries.

 

Southampton Town: Justice Court Receives Grant

 

   According to Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, the Town of Southampton has been awarded a grant in the amount of $6,500 under the State’s Justice Court Assistance Program. The grants awarded through this program make it possible for the local justice courts to make renovations and purchase equipment to improve their operations and make their facilities more secure.

         Of the grant, the State’s chief Administrative Judge, Ann Pfau, said, “Town and Village Courts play a critical role in the justice system of our State. It is vital that these courts, whose jurisdiction includes non-felony criminal prosecutions, motor vehicle cases, small civil claims, and landlord-tenant disputes, be well equipped and secure. I am therefore pleased to announce Justice Court Assistance Program grants totaling almost $5 million, statewide, to help ensure that these courts which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, are prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

         Senator LaValle added, “Local courts are the closest to the people and are an integral component of our justice system. However, town and village budgetary issues can limit their resources. This grant will help the court to better serve the community and improve the administration of justice.”

 

County Road 39: Sign Change on CR 39

 

         Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy today said that billboards cautioning drivers to watch their speed while moving through the fixed portion of County Road 39 will be changed at the request of Southampton Town officials, including Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot and Councilwoman Anna Throne Holst.

         “After our project to provide a second eastbound lane was completed this spring, we felt it was necessary to properly warn drivers to maintain a safe speed,” said Levy. “This stretch of road was known for decades for being a bottleneck, and we did not want to be victims of our own success and have drivers speeding through the two smooth flowing lanes.”

         “Hopefully that message has been delivered this summer, both to visitors and to year-round residents, and we are happy to accede to the Town’s wish for more low-key speed warnings,” Levy continued.

         The billboards received a great deal of attention when they were vandalized in early December. An unknown vandal painted over the image of a police officer leaning onto his official vehicle, while pointing a radar gun at the oncoming traffic, covering it with white paint. The vandal spray-painted “Thank You” on the westbound side of the road and “Please” on the eastbound side.

 

Riverhead: Ribbon Cutting for New Unit

 

         On Thursday, December 4th, Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, and Health Commissioner Dr. Humayun Chaudhry officially opened the county’s second state-of-the-art digital mammography unit in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The site of the new mammography unit is located at the Riverhead County Health Center.

         “This is a tremendous benefit for our patients,” said Suffolk County Health Services Commissioner Humayun Chaudhry. “We are proud that the county has taken such a proactive role in bringing this resource to our patients and in advancing the quality of health care services for our citizens.”

         The new unit in Riverhead is the second digital machine to come into operation in Suffolk under Levy’s leadership. In 2006, Levy sponsored a resolution to modify a portion of the first floor of the Health Center to accommodate the equipment, which was performed as part of the ongoing renovations to the Riverhead County Center. The first digital unit was installed in Coram in 2006; Suffolk is also proceeding with the availability of digital mammography equipment for its health centers in Shirley and Brentwood.

 

 

Suffolk County: A Gift of Food

 

         During their general meeting, on Tuesday, December 2, the Legislature by Certificates of Necessity adopted an amendment to the 2008 Operating Budget, which will provide an additional $20,000 of funding to the Island Harvest. Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman introduced the resolution that made these amendments possible, and was readily adopted in order to expeditiously make these funds available to Island Harvest. During this holiday season and in these challenging economic times, many more families will be able to receive additional food assistance.

         Island Harvest is one of Long Island’s largest hunger relief organizations that serve as the bridge between those who have surplus food and those who need it. Their volunteers and staff collect food from over 600 local restaurants, caterers, farms, and other food related businesses; and distribute it to a network of close to 500 soup kitchens, food pantries, residencies, shelters. Last year Island Harvest provided nearly 7 million pounds of food to local hunger relief organizations.

 

Suffolk County: Good Samaritan Diva

 

         Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) attended the Red Hat Divas Christmas luncheon to thank the ladies who collected supplies for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The divas collected donations from friends, family and neighbors over the last month. They contacted Legislator Schneiderman’s office, an official drop site for supplies donated to the U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Legislator Schneiderman has been working with the Family Readiness Group representing the Fighting 69th Army Reserve National Guard, collecting donations for the servicemen and women. These items include AA batteries, insect repellant, flea collars, and bags of charcoal briquettes for troops stationed in Afghanistan.

         “The County of Suffolk and its residents owe a debt of gratitude to our brave servicemen and women who often find themselves in dangerous and hazardous circumstances and give their lives for their County, making the ultimate sacrifice in the service of others, ” Legislator Schneiderman said. “I am pleased to assist in any way possible and encourage donations of these items for our troops.”

 

New York State Assembly: Request for LIPA Audit

 

         State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., and State Kenneth P. LaValle have sent a letter to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli requesting that its current audit of LIPA include the Southampton to Bridgehampton Transmission Line Project.

         LIPA originally proposed an approximately nine-mile transmission on the South Fork in the Town of Southampton from Southampton Village to the Hamlet of Bridgehampton. LIPA had proposed that the transmission line be constructed 45% above ground and 55% below ground through the heart of the South Fork’s farm country, where substantial amounts of land and scenic vistas had been preserved with public dollars.

         There was universal community outrage and opposition to the LIPA proposal including litigation. In response, Thiele and LaValle mediated the dispute between LIPA and the Town and the community. After long and extremely difficult negotiations, an agreement was reached this spring. The project was completed this summer.

         The agreement provided that LIPA would contribute the cost of its original proposal towards payment of the project (estimated to be approximately $20 million.) The incremental cost of burying the remaining 45% would be borne by LIPA customers from Southampton Village to the Southampton/East Hampton town line. This charge would be based on the actual electric usage of LIPA customers in the benefited area. After the project was bid, it was estimated that the incremental cost would be about $8 million.

         LIPA authorized substantial overtime to complete the project. As a result, LIPA is now estimating that the incremental cost may be as much as $12 million. Thiele and LaValle have requested the State Comptroller determine the total cost of the project, determine whether the up to $4 million increase in the cost of the project was prudent and justified, and determine whether any portion of the up to $4 million increase should be legitimately borne by the VBA area.

         Thiele and LaValle stated that this additional expenditure of up to $4 million dollars does not in any way increase the visual benefits for those in the benefited area, if indeed such addition expenditures were prudent at all. It is certain that not all the additional expenditures were to construct only 45%, which was the subject of the VBA.