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July 6th, 2005

Rumors and Lies…Fair & Unbalanced in The Hamptons

by Jack Torrence

We?Ǭ have been roundly criticized for conveying the sense that Dockers, a bayside restaurant in the Hamptons (East Quogue) is anything but an environmentally sound beautification project that is good for our waterways. More yachts emptying their chemical toilets into Shinnecock Bay has always seemed attractive to us. The Southampton Press, in fact, saw fit to give Larry Hoffman (the owner of Dockers’s and operator of the Inn at Quogue (not the owner) his own column in their newspaper. Belatedly, we were all given a lecture as to how environmentally sensitive he is and that the project is really good for us all (and especially good for all of those other Dune Road commercial property owners waiting in the bushes for Dockers to get an approval so they can sue for permits to do the same thing). Won’t that make a dip in the Bay a religious experience, with chemical vapors and feces to hold on to?

It should not be lost on any of us that the Southampton Press is the news organ of the Republican Party and that all of these good old boys hang out with the Heaney and Southampton Trustees crowd who make such environmentally sensitive (and business friendly) decisions. Anyone want to check into campaign finances? Always follow the money.

Next Christmas the natives in Westhampton Beach may want to buy a few shrubs instead of Christmas Trees. Although the Southampton Press ran a story called Christmas Tree Controversy in December, the bottom line was never reached. It seems that a wrench had been thrown into the plans by the former Trustees in Westhampton Beach Village to keep the Christmas tree installation tradition alive and well.

The Press reported that there was an offer to pay the $21 per tree to keep Christmas alive. Well, what they didn’t dig deeper to report on was that the rumored deal for the growing and installing of the trees, all 14 of them, (which had already been arranged and was in danger as a result of this) was for about $60,000. The deal went to-you’ll never guess-someone in the Southampton Town Republican Party who also happens to have a landscape business? As Groucho Marx used to ask for the consolation prize on You Bet Your Life: “Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?”

Speaking of fires, the Mayor’s laundry (Westhampton) burned down recently and business had been doing well so no one looked askance. He rushed up from Florida to check out the damage. There were no Tommy the torch stories like you used to hear about in the Bronx. Nearly the first words in the Southampton Press article report were that the blaze wasn’t suspicious. Are we protesting too much? Of course, it was no surprise to anyone in the Southampton Code Enforcement department or even local electricians because the cause of the fire was widely anticipated for nearly a decade. Funny how being in power has unsung perks. Elsewhere, in Southampton Town, Code Enforcement officers give you a violation and a criminal warrant and then want you to be arrested for litter or a bad fence lock. Funny how that works, isn’t it? The wiring was so bad for so long at the laundry that even laundry patrons wondered about the Rube Goldberg constructions as they were doing their wash.?Ǭ Then, as if to add insult to injury, as people watched the blaze, a waste oil truck pulled up to disgorge a load of what should have been just a little higher quality fuel-say, for heating purposes, not lubricating gears. Seems that the air pollution from the garbage quality oil and the water pollution from this effluent, has been wending its way into the groundwater and Quantuck Bay from the laundry for decades-not to mention the car wash and its chemical waste. Someone from the EPA should have checked up on the Mayor long ago. Perhaps Florida isn’t a bad idea after all.

It seems that Mayor Strebel has been busy creating an empire that will survive his reign and can be operated via remote control. As he plans to retreat to Florida, expensive shills are being implanted. Recently, George Gordon, an effective and hard-working Highway Superintendent was called onto the carpet wth an irresistible offer-leave. The grand exit plan for the Mayor (which he may execute if he doesn’t read this) is, reportedly, to place yet another relative on the books in Gordon’s Highway position and then disappear while leaving Raynor as Mayor of the Village of Westhampton Beach, without the benefit or privilege of having been elected. Then, we are left with a new Highway chief who after 3 years goes from his County retirement plan to the Village’s retirement plan at the higher rate-while the new Strebel relative drives around pointing out what workers should do to earn him his salary. The rank and file workers are not affected by this move?Ǭ because, after all, someone would now have to do the physical labor for Strebel’s kin. This gives nepotism a bad name.

Reliable rumors indicate that relations between one of the law firms in the Town of Southampton and the Town Attorney’s office are much closer than one would have believed-or liked. The kind of closness we are referring to is almost familial. Seems that a high mucky-muck of this local law firm, which is considered a heavy-weight in the Town of Southampton, is sharing family fluids and domicile with someone in the Town Attorney’s office-something that might normally be considered a conflict of interest in any other sane world-class resort. While?Ǭ such rumors might be completely false, the next time the Southampton prosecutor is jockeying and pleading the cases in Justice Court, keep your eye on the law firm and the prosecutor-not just the judge.”

Seems that the Southampton Press has forced out one of it’s veteran editors of 28 years. After moving Costanza up a notch, Michael Pitcher was shown the door. Tasty rumors abound as to the real reason Loucheim (the son) engineered this but suffice to say that it would probably be wise for management to keep Pitcher’s golden parachute intact. No doubt there are a lot of republican skeletons buried in that particular backyard.

Filed Under: Articles | Politics | the Hamptons

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