Republican and former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer George Demos officially filed papers this week to run for Congress, sending an email and video to supporters and media Monday morning announcing his decision.
Seeking to unseat Congressman Tim Bishop, Demos will have to face off in a primary next year against Saint James businessman Randy Altschuler, who bested Chris Cox and Demos in a primary battle in 2010. Altschuler narrowly lost to Bishop in one of the closest elections races in the country last year.
“More than ever we see how important it is, not just to elect someone with an R next to their name, but to elect a real Conservative with steely determination who will not fail us, who will not falter, and who will not waiver when he gets to Washington,” said Demos in a statement.
Altschuler, who announced his decision to run for Congress in 2012 in June, already has the garnered the support of the Republican and Conservative party leaders in Suffolk County.
“We need to learn from last year’s mistakes and not let divisions within our own party allow Tim Bishop to sneak back into office again,” said County GOP Chairman John Jay LaValle said in a statement released to media on Monday. “Our country is in the midst of a severe economic and fiscal crisis, and we need a business leader like Randy Atlschuler in Washington to fix it.”
“Today’s announcement by George Demos has no impact on our strategy moving forward,” said Altschuler spokesman Chris Russell. “Randy is humbled by the broad support he’s receiving from Republican and Conservative Party leaders, and he’s focused on holding Tim Bishop accountable for the mess in Washington and defeating him next November.”
Bishop, currently serving his fifth term, has already said he will seek a sixth term in 2012.
26 Acres in Wainscott Purchased by East Hampton Town
The East Hampton Town Board approved a $3.2 million purchase of 26-acres in Wainscott through the Community Preservation Fund after holding a public hearing during its Thursday, August 4 meeting.
The property consists of exactly 25.7 acres at 198 Six Pole Highway near the intersection of Route 114, just outside the Village of Sag Harbor. The purchase was supporting by the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society at the Thursday evening meeting.
An additional acre on the same property has already been promised to an adjacent cemetery, which will be given the land through a lot line modification, according to a resolution passed by the board on the purchase of the land.
Thiele Continues to Survey Local Gas Prices
In his ongoing crusade to bring fair gas prices to the East End, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. submitted a third report this week to the State Attorney General detailing illegal zone pricing of gasoline on the Twin Forks.
However, according to the survey, gas prices have become more equitable and have stabilized over the last two weeks when compared to other regions in New York.
In the August 7 survey, the most prevalent price on the South Fork for gasoline was $3.99 a gallon or lower at nine stations located on Montauk Highway between East Hampton and Sunrise Highway. The lowest price was $3.97 and the highest $4.09. The average price is about $0.05 lower than the Long Island Average, and $0.04 more than the state average.
“Gasoline prices are still too high,” said Thiele in a written statement. “However, they have remained stable over the last two weeks. The differential between the South Fork and the rest of Long Island remains small with prices between East Hampton and Southampton slightly lower than the Island-wide average. The differential with the North Fork, which has the lowest gasoline prices on Long Island, was around $0.35 on the South Fork on Memorial Day. It is now about $0.10.”
However, the Assembly added that Amagansett and Montauk continue to face higher gas prices than the rest of the region. There, according to Thiele, gas prices are more than $.30 cents above the Long Island average.
“Amagansett and Montauk are clearly paying too much,” said Thiele. “This is why we need a stronger zone pricing law and open supply legislation.”
Thiele first contacted the attorney general’s office after Memorial Day weekend gas prices on the South Fork remained at $4.25 cents per gallon, while the rest of Long Island averaged around $4.08, and the rest of New York State averaged $4.02.
Thiele has also sponsored legislation to strengthen New York’s existing law on zone pricing of gasoline – when an arbitrary price is assigned to gasoline based on geography rather than the wholesale or legitimate cost of the product.
Thiele has also sponsored open supply legislation that would enable gas stations to purchase cheaper motor fuel on the wholesale market from alternative suppliers and pass the savings on to the consumer.
Governor Signs Southampton CPF PILOT Legislation
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that resolve some of the issues raised in a state comptroller’s audit of the Community Preservation Fund (CPF) PILOT payments by the Town of Southampton.
The legislation was sponsored by New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and New York State Senator Ken LaValle.
The audit, completed in November of 2010, found that in the years 2008 and 2009 the Town of Southampton had made payments from the CPF to school and special districts that exceeded the amount permitted by State law by $664, 647. In particular, the Riverhead School District and the Eastport-South Manor School District received excessive payments, according to the report. The State Comptroller directed the town to resolve the issue in his report.
Under the proposed legislation, the overpayments would be legally validated and the school districts would be absolved from having to make any repayment. The town will be legally responsible to restore the excess payment to the fund either by dedicating land or providing non-CPF funds equal to or greater than the overpayment.
“The Town of Southampton made overpayments of CPF monies for PILOTS in 2008 and 2009,” said Thiele “This has been confirmed by the state comptroller. It was imperative that these funds be restored to be used for the rightful purpose of land preservation. This legislation insures that will happen. It also insures that local school taxpayers will not be punished for a mistake that they did not make. The school districts will be held harmless. Further, the Town will be permitted to use funds, such as impact fees collected from developers, to replenish the fund. This legislation will maintain the integrity of the CPF, while insuring that neither school nor town property taxpayers have to bear the burden of the repayment.”
The legislation also establishes additional requirements for PILOT payments in the future to ensure that such overpayments never happen again. The new law provides that in determining payments to each school and special district, each parcel eligible for a PILOT payment shall be assessed in the same manner as state land is and that the assessment for each parcel is approved by the state. The new law also states that not more than ten percent of the CPF may be used for these purposes. The maximum percentage of 10% for such purposes may be reduced by a proposition approved by the voters.
Finally, the new law requires the town board to adopt an annual plan, after input through a public hearing, which specifies each eligible parcel and provides the amount of payment for each eligible parcel.