Make your own free website on Tripod.com
 
     East Hampton Democrats
     2001 Campaign Platform

 
 
We Are Running:

To Fight Runaway Development, Suburban Sprawl, and The Permanent Loss of Our Rural Character.

To Assure the Safety and Quality of Our Drinking Water At Its Source, Our Groundwater Aquifer.

To Assure that Our Local Working Families, Young People, and Seniors Are Not Forced to Live in Sub-standard Housing or to Leave Our Town
To Find Affordable Housing.

To Meet the Recreational and Shopping Needs of Local Families.

To Create a Business and Regulatory Environment in Which Small, Locally-Owned Business, Including Fishing and Farming, Can Thrive.

To Assure Consistent, Fair, Apolitical Enforcement of our Town Code.

To Create a Truly Open Government Where Affected Neighborhoods are the First to Know About Town Plans, Not the Last.

To Enable the Public to Participate Meaningfully in Town Planning, All the Time.

To Put a Stop to Political Favoritism and Cronyism.

To Bring Professionalism, Good Judgment, Experience, and Maturity to the Management of Town Government.
 
 

Easy Hampton Democrats
What it Takes to Lead: New Ideas for A New Era.

  Democratic planning initiatives have already accomplished a lot for East Hampton.  Our current year-round population is 19,000.  The full build-out potential of the Town is a year-round population of 33,000.  

  Without the Democrats’ Comprehensive Plan of the mid-80’s, the full build-out potential for the Town would now be 98,000 people year-round, not 33,000.  

  Without the Democrats’ open space plan and the Community Preservation Fund we fought for to fund acquisition, our open space would already be gone.  

  Now we face a new, more complicated set of challenges, coping with the building boom set off by our own past successes in maintaining the character of the Town and the quality of life here.  Solving these problems requires new ideas.  It also requires the experience, judgment, and maturity to create broad consensus behind these ideas and bring them to fruition -- while we still have time.


 
 
We Propose to:
 

Call For A Public Referendum This November to Commit Up to $14 Million of Unneeded Cash Surpluses, in Addition to the Community Preservation Fund, For “Land Banking” for Density Reduction and for the Town’s Future Needs. 

Reduce by at Least 50% the Number of Additional New Homes that Can Be Built In East Hampton.

Dedicate 20% of the Remaining Build-out to Moderately Priced, but Unsubsidized Housing, and a Limited Number of Subsidized Apartments.

Protect the Safety and Quality of Our Drinking Water, Both for Public Water Well Sites and Private Wells. 

Complete ALL of the Playing Fields Currently Called for By Our Recreation Study Within 24 Months, Maximum.

Provide Technical and Legal Support for Embattled Fisherman and Farmers.

Create Viable Neighborhood Shopping for Local Needs.

Bring the Public Into ALL Planning Initiatives at the Outset and Keep Everyone Informed.  Comply Scrupulously With State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).

Participate Vigorously in All Transportation Planning Opportunities, Including Regional Initiatives.

“Home Rule” for Our Own Airport, Not Federal (FAA) Control.

Ensure That All Employees Working for the Town, Directly or Indirectly, Earn a Living Wage and That the Income Of Our Employees Grows Along With the Economy.

Bring Modern Private-Sector Management Practices to Town Government.

Keep the Town Code Modern And Up to Date.

Enforce the Town Code and State Law Consistently, Fairly, and Apolitically.

Establish a “Public Advocate” to Help Ordinary People Solve Their Problems With Town Government. 


Call For A Public Referendum This November to Commit Up to $14 Million of Unneeded Cash Surpluses, in Addition to the Community Preservation Fund, For “Land Banking” for Density Reduction and for the Town’s Future Needs. 
 

Why?

Undeveloped Land Is Disappearing.  We Need to Save Land for Future Town Needs of All Kinds -- Neighborhood Open Space and Parks, Recreation, Senior Housing, Affordable Housing, and Economic Development.

Meaningful Density Reduction in Springs and Montauk, Essential To Keep School Taxes Down and to Minimize the Need for Expensive Infrastructure, Requires Small Lot Acquisition.

Large Open Space Acquisition Is to Take Land Out of Development, Not Principally for Future Needs or Density Reduction.

Most Large Spaces Are Already Zoned for Low Density and Don’t Make A Big Dent in the Final Build-Out.
 
 

How?

A PUBLIC REFERENDUM ON THE BALLOT THIS NOVEMBER TO ASK:

Should the Town of East Hampton be authorized to spend up to 
$14 million of cash surpluses in excess of prudent reserves, including $7 million of its current surplus, to purchase undeveloped land for open space, density reduction, farmland preservation, habitat protection, water recharge protection, passive recreation, affordable housing, and other future public needs?


Reduce by at Least 50% the Number of Additional Homes that Can Be Built In East Hampton.
 

Why?

Maintain Our Rural Character.

Prevent Runaway Property Taxes and Government Growth.

Reduce Demand for Up-Island Services So That Local Businesses and Contractors can Meet Our Needs.

Reduce Pressure on Open Space and Farmland.
Reduce Traffic.

Limit the Need for Multi-Million Dollar Additions to Public Infra-structure.

Maintain the Value of Existing Homes.
 

How?

Continue Aggressive Acquisition of Large Open Spaces.

Pass a “Controlled Growth Ordinance” Limiting the Annual Number of New House Building Permits.  It Has Worked In Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Ramapo and Petaluma, CA.  It Can Work Here.

Create Town-Wide Transferable Development Rights (TDRs) With Incentives for Putting New Construction Where the Comprehensive Plan Says It Should Be, For Residential and Commercial Clustering, and For Maintenance of Contiguous Open Space on Private Property.

Tie House Size Directly to Lot Size on A Sliding Scale – Ending Obtrusive “McMansions” on Modest Lots.

Initiate Immediate Review of Urban Renewal Maps to Reconsider Lot Size and Future Roads.

Aggregate Small Lots and Dedicate Them to Pocket Parks and Playgrounds. 


Dedicate 20% of the Remaining Build-out to Moderately Priced, but Unsubsidized Housing, and a Limited Number of Subsidized Apartments.
 

Why?

Maintain East Hampton as a Real Working and Living Community.

Keep Families Intact Across Generations.

Reduce Traffic In-flow from the West.

Balance Employment and Housing Demand.

Foster Demographic Diversity.

Eliminate Sub-standard Living Conditions.
 

How?

Identify Suitable Sites for Mixed Income, Higher Density Attached Housing, Including Both Rentals and Moderate Income Condominiums.

Use the Power of Government to Create a Revolving Fund to Assist Resident, First-time Home Buyers.

Give Priority to Our Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Service Workers.  They Give to Us, Let’s Give Back.

Authorize a Limited Number of Legal Accessory Apartments, Free of Rent Regulation, In Both Commercial and Residential Buildings.

Take Fullest Advantage of Existing State and Federal Subsidies to Low-Income Housing.  Accabonac Affordable Apartments Is a Success We Need to Build On.

As the Legitimate Housing Need is Fairly Addressed, Enforce Existing Town Code Prohibitions on Illegal Multi-Family Dwellings by Making Illegal Rents Subject to Forfeiture.
 


Protect the Safety and Quality of Our Drinking Water, Both for Public Sources and Private Wells.
 

Why?

Our Health and Our Children’s Health Depend on It.

The  Cost of Having to Extend Public Water to the Whole Town Would Be a Huge Burden on Taxpayers.

Even Our Public Water Comes From the Same Aquifer.
 

How?

Put Drinking Water Management Planning on Its Own Fast-Track and Adopt a Plan, Based on the Best Hydrological Science, that:

Once and For All, Identifies Our Critical Water Recharge Areas in a Consistent Manner.

Identifies those Activities and Levels of Activity that Are Consistent With Critical Water Recharge and Those That Are Not.

Removes the Threats.

Pressure Albany for Local Control Over Non-Agricultural Pesticide and Herbicide Use in Critical Water Recharge Areas.

Continue the Democratically-Adopted Ban on Use of Pesticides and Herbicides On Town Owned Land and Extend It to Town-Controlled Land, Specifically Including Long Lane. 


Complete ALL of the Playing Fields Currently Called For By Our Recreation Study Within 24 Months, Maximum.
 

Why?

We Are Lagging Behind Growth in Population and Demand.

Our Existing Fields Are Overused, Which Raises Present and Future Costs.

“It’s Not A Playing Field Until There’s A Score.”
 

How?

Create a Community Commission to Recommend All of the Sites At One Time.

The Commission Should Include Representation of Recreation Interests, Environmental Interests, all Hamlets, and Especially Neighborhoods.

The  Charge to the Commission Should Be to Share the Benefits and Burdens Fairly Within the Town, Plan In A Manner that Is Respectful of the Neighbors and the Environment, and Reach a Broad Consensus Before Coming to the Board. No More Fighting!

Kids Always Play First.


Provide Technical and Legal Support for Embattled Fisherman and Farmers.
 

Why?

Population Pressure Makes Commercial Fishing and Farming Ever More Difficult and Generates Conflicts With Encroaching Population.

The Technical Difficulties of Complying With State and Federal Regulation Are Daunting.

Conflicts With Nearby Population (Such as Between Agricultural Pesticide Use and Nearby Residents) Require Collective Resolution That Individual Growers and Homeowners Cannot Achieve.

Lack of Information Can Create Conflict Where There Need Not Be One.

We Should Not Let Our Farmers and Fisherman Stand Alone.  They Are an Essential Part of Our Community and Our Heritage.
 

How?

The Town Can And Should Provide Technical, Legal and Lobbying Support for All Issues that Affect Our Farmers and Fisherman at the State and Federal Level and Around All Issues Involving Conflicts Between Homeowners and Agricultural Uses.

When Issues Arise Between Higher Levels of Government and Our Farmers and Fisherman, They are Much Stronger When They Are Heard as Part of an Organized Town Effort.

Implement Our Long Delayed Waterfront Revitalization Plan and Coastal Legislation.


Create Viable Neighborhood Shopping for Local Needs.
 

Why?

Reduce Traffic and Automobile Use.

Relieve Pressure on the Village of East Hampton.

Reduce Prices for Locally Consumed Goods, Reducing the Cost of Living.

Reduce Commercial/Residential Conflicts.

Spread the Commercial Tax Base to All School Districts.

Eliminate Unsightly Sprawl.

People are Social.  Everyone Loves Real Villages and Proximity to Them.  That’s Why East Hampton Village Has by Far the Highest Real Estate Values in Town. 

Create Opportunity for Senior Housing That’s Not Isolated.
 

How?
 

Plan the Future With Broad Public Participation.

Re-zone for Commercial Use if Necessary But Be Prepared To Compensate or Even Buy Out Adversely Affected Neighbors.  Don’t Make Anyone Bear an Unfair Burden.

Maximize the Use of Public/Private Sector Partnerships.  The Private Sector Knows How to Gauge and Serve Demand.  The Public Sector Does Not.

Recognize Openly that the Town is a Developer Itself of a Special Kind.  Use Planning Districts So That the Town Can Negotiate With Prospective Commercial Users as “Owner,” Not as “Regulator/Permit Issuer.”

Enact “Local Needs” Laws That Preserves NEW Retailing Opportunities Created by the Town for Goods and Services Typically Consumed Locally, Not Tourist Goods.


Bring the Public Into ALL Planning Initiatives at the Outset and Keep Everyone, Especially Neighborhoods, Informed.  Comply Scrupulously With SEQRA.
 

Why?
 

Public Officials Inevitably End Up, Sooner or Later, Insulated in Their Own Specialized World.

The Collective Wisdom of the Lay Public is Often Years Ahead of Elected Officials.

Nobody, Certainly Public Officials, Can Be Expected to Know Everything.  Outside Opinions are Invaluable.

This is Supposed to Be a Democracy.  Affected Citizens and Neighborhoods Should Have a Meaningful Role in Shaping Policy, Not Just a Chance to Criticize When it is Already Too Late.

The Town Itself, When it Sponsors Projects, Is the Most Consistent and Egregious Violator of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).

Town Policy is Often to Avoid Environmental Impact Statements Rather than Recognize Them as The Single Most Important Tool We Have For Environmental Analysis and the Forging of Community Consensus Where Environmental Impacts and Social Goals Are In Conflict. 
 

How?
 

When Initiatives Are First Raised, Potentially Affected Parties, Especially Affected Neighborhoods, Should Be Notified As Directly As Possible, As Soon As Possible.

Standing Lists of Groups Wishing Notice About Particular Issues Should be Kept and Notices Given. 

Every Significant Initiative Should From the Inception Have the Benefit of a Citizens Advisory Committee in Which All Affected Interests are Fairly Represented and Compromises Can Be Negotiated.  Consensus Should Be Encouraged.

Adopt a policy of scrupulous SEQRA compliance and a Town law in which doubt is resolved in favor of environmental impact statements, not against them.

Except in Emergency Conditions, No Resolution Should Be Adopted Unless On A Published Agenda and Unless Noted as to Be Voted Upon.

Board Agendas Should Be Published At Least A Week in Advance and Disseminated On the Internet and Available at Town Hall.

All Public Planning Documents Including Drafts Should be Posted for Downloading From the Internet.


Participate Vigorously In All Transportation Planning Opportunities, Including Regional Initiatives.
 

Why?
 

We Do Not Have Viable Alternatives to the Automobile, Not Bus, Not Train, Not Bicycle.  We Should.
 

How?
 

Every Rational Alternative to More Cars Should Be Considered and Evaluated.  Nothing Should Be Dismissed Without Study.  Possibilities to Consider Should Include:

Raising all LIRR Trestles to Permit Free Passage to Trucks.

Use of One-way Streets to Keep Thru Truck Traffic Off of Residential Streets.

A New Train and Jitney Station By the Airport, With Long-term Parking for Week-end Residents to Make Commuting From NYC by Train and Jitney Easy and to Relieve Pressure on East Hampton Village.

Pressure on the MTA for Viable Schedules Adapted to Our Needs, Not Up-Island Business Commuter Needs.

Small Shuttle Trains Using The LIRR Tracks Combined With Electric Shuttle Buses to Provide a Viable, Efficient, Fast Non-Automobile Transportation Alternative.

Creation of Beach Shuttle Bus Service, and Even Shuttle Bus Only Beaches.

A Dedicated Network of Bike Paths for Transportation, Not Just Recreation.


“Home Rule” for Our Own Airport, Not Federal (FAA) Control.
 

Why?
 

The Town Has Violated and Abandoned Its Own 1989 Airport Master Plan.

Promises of Noise Abatement in the 1989 Plan Have Gone Unfulfilled Because of Resistance by the FAA.

Airport Infra-Structure We Didn’t Want -- Infra-Structure Prohibited by Our Own Airport Master Plan -- Has Been Built Just to Get FAA Money.

The FAA Pushes Us Around Because We Have No Current Plan.

Instead of An Open, Public Plan to Replace the Now Obsolete 1989 Plan, the Town Keeps Making Deals Under the Table, Evading the Public’s Right to Know Under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act.

Without Our Own Airport Master Plan that the FAA Accepts as the Basis for Airport Management, We Have No Control Over Our Own Airport.
 

How?
 

A New Comprehensive Plan for Airport Infra-Structure, Management, and Finances, Based on Sound Forecasts of Utilization and Good Science About Off-Airport Impacts.

All Reasonable Alternatives for Infra-structure and Operations Should Be Considered on the Basis of a Full Environmental Impact Statement Under SEQRA and Cost/Benefit Analysis.

The Final Plan Should Reflect a Broad Community Consensus and the General Public Interest, Not Special Interests. 

Until We Have a New Airport Master Plan that is Accepted by the FAA as the Basis for Airport Management, The Town Should Accept No More Money That Comes With Strings Attached.


Ensure That All Employees Working for the Town, Directly or Indirectly, Earn a Living Wage and That the Income Of Our Employees Grows Along With the Economy.
 

Why?
 

Simple Justice Demands that Anyone Who Works for Us Be Able To Afford To Live As a Member of Our Community.

Our Personal Income, Nation-wide and Town-wide, Grows.  Our Employees Should Not Lag Behind.

Protecting the Income of Indirect Employees – Those on the Payroll of Town Contractors – Affords Them the Same Economic Justice as Town Employees.

Protecting Indirect Employees Makes Local Contractors – Whose Employees Face A Higher Cost of Living – More Competitive With Up-Island Firms.  That Keeps the Revenue Circulating Here for the Benefit of Everyone, Including Local Merchants.
 

How?
 

Assure Every Full-Time Town Employee, or Indirect Employee, a Living Wage.

Keep Up to Date Data About National, Regional and Local Income Growth as a Basis for Labor Negotiations.

Require that Any Non-Unionized Town Contractor Pay Wages and Benefits at Least Comparable to Those Paid by the Town Directly.

Provide Training Opportunities for All Employees, Not Just Senior Levels.

Organize Flex-Time to Let Working Parents Meet Family Needs While Doing A Better Job For the Town, Minimizing Lateness and Absentee-ism.


Bring Modern Private-Sector Management Practices to Town Government.
 

Why?
 

With Billions of Dollars in Real Estate Value, The Town of East Hampton Is Not a Typical Small Town.  To Keep Our Small Town Feel, Our Town Government Has to Operate With Big-City Sophistication.

Professionalizing Management Would Reduce the Time Required of Town Board Members and Open Those Positions Up To Many More Members of the Community.– Broad Citizen Participation is Democracy At Its Best.

It Will Be A Rare Occurrence that Elected Officials, the Supervisor and the Town Board Members, Have Significant Management Expertise to Bring to the Table; They Should Not Be the Direct Managers of Town Operations as They Are Today.

Getting Town Board Members Out of Direct Management Will Significantly Reduce Opportunity for Political Favoritism.

The Proper Medium For the Board Members to Act Upon the Town Government Is Through Resolution Adopted in Open, Public Session, Not Behind Closed Doors.
 

How?
 

It’s Time for a Professional Town Manager, the Same System Successfully Employed by the Village for Many Years.

Reorganize Our Accounting Function Completely to Meet Private Sector Standards For Clarity, Transparency, Matching Of Revenues, Costs, and Functionality, and Use and Cost of Capital.

Bring the Modern World of Standard Cost Accounting to the Town.

Maximize the Use of Automation Implemented by Strong MIS Professionals.

Separate Planning and Permitting So That Essential Planning Resources Are Not Consumed By Permit Demands.

Support Permitting, a Clearly Marketable Town Service, With User Fees So That Capacity Can Be Expanded to Meet Demand Without Cost to the Taxpayer.

Look Closely At All Services That Could Be Supported By User Fees.


Keep the Town Code Modern And Up to Date.
 

Why?
 

Unenforced and Unenforceable Regulations Make Planning Pointless.

Obsolete and Unnecessarily Intrusive Regulations Annoy Us All and Reduce Respect for Law.

Technology, Business Practices, Construction Techniques, Demographics All Change.  We Have to Keep Pace.

We Want Our Local Business To Succeed and to Be Able to Comply With Our Laws.
 

How?
 

Consider Acquisition of Pre-Existing, Non-Conforming Uses that are Constant Sources of Complaint.

Establish a Standing, Bipartisan, Even-Numbered “Code and Legal Advisory Committee” of Local Attorneys and a Cross-Section of Lay Representatives.

Codify the Rules for Most Commonly Granted Zoning Variances.

Charge the Code and Legal Advisory Committee to Hear Complaints About Code Provisions and Make Ongoing Recommendations.

Charge the Code and Legal Advisory Committee to Schedule for Review All Code Provisions, Focusing First on Regulations that Produce a Lot of Violations or Variances and Regulations That are Routinely Unenforced.

Establish a Mechanism for ZBA Determination of Disputes About Code Interpretation.

Opinions of the Town Attorney’s Office Must Be Those of the Town Attorney, Not Assistants or Deputies, Must Be Issued In Writing, Must Be Compiled and Available For Public Inspection, Cross-Referenced to the Code.

Establish Regular Communication With Other Resort Towns Around the Country – Aspen, CO, Naples, FL, Carmel, CA, Martha’s Vineyard.  We Have Similar Problems; They May Have Solutions We Haven’t Thought Of.


Enforce the Town Code and State Law Consistently, Fairly and Apolitically.
 

Why?
 

Unenforced Rules Noise and Light Pollution Rules Increase Our Discomfort Directly.  If The Current Rules Cannot Be Enforced, They Need to Be Strengthened.

Enforcement of the Town Code is Deeply Politicized. -- Almost Everyone in Town Can Identify Instances of Ongoing Code Violations that Have Continued Either for Years or Without Any Attempt at Enforcement.

Politicized Non-Enforcement Undermines All of the Objectives of Years of Planning Effort.

Politicized Non-Enforcement Produces Profound Cynicism About Town Government and Induces Cheating.

Politicized Non-Enforcement Results in Unfair Competition for Businesses That Try to Be Good Citizens.

Politicized Non-Enforcement Results in a Regime of Petty Tyranny and Corruption in Which People Feel Forced to Contribute to Political Parties, and Those Who Can’t or Won’t Feel Abused.
 

How?
 

Night Time Code Enforcement Officers.

Park Rangers to Patrol our Parks, Beaches, and Public Land.

Permit Truly Anonymous Code Complaints.

Investigate Every Complaint, With the Primary Role of Code Enforcement Officers Being to Investigate and Report, on the Public Record, the Factual Circumstances Relating to the Complaint.

When A Decision is Made Not to Prosecute a Complaint, the Decision, the Decisionmaker, and the Reason Must Be On the Public Record.

Once Set, The Rules Must Be Enforced.  If We Don’t Like the Outcome of Vigorous Enforcement, We Have To Change the Rule, Openly and Publicly, Not Tolerate a Patchwork of Compliance and Non-Compliance.


Establish a “Public Advocate” to Help Ordinary People Solve Their Problems With Town Government. 
 

Why?
 

The Developers Can Afford Lawyers, Architects, Planners to Assist Them.  The Ordinary Citizen Cannot.

Ordinary People Have the Burdens of Job and Family.  Many Cannot Attend Public Meetings Except Rarely.

Someone Should Speak to the Needs of the Unrepresented Even Though They Can’t Be There Themselves.
 

How?
 

The Job of the Public Advocate Should Be to Assist Ordinary Citizens in Negotiating Their Way Through Any Town Process and to Advise the Board and All Committees About Areas of Potential Public and Neighborhood Concern.
 
 
 
 
 

HOME