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1997 Trustee Campaign, Point-to-Point

     The greatest advantage to a Board of Trustees branch of government is its ability to be independent in its decision making.  In this country the political landscape will continually change.  Political parties will change, philosophies will change and real leaders will pass through our lives once a decade or so.  Yet throughout all this, and since 1686, the Town of East Hampton has been graced with a cadre of residents known as Trustees.  As proprietors, these men and women throughout the years have been able to preserve and protect our Town as owners; acting on behalf of all the residents and within the limits of a 5 page document called the Dongan Patent.  This document, written in 17th century formal English, establishes the Trustees and defines their limits.  Most importantly, it has withstood several court challenges throughout the years and remains unamended in its scope of authority.  The most difficult part in keeping the Trustees as an independent and autonomous group is when a powerful political party exerts so much pressure on members so as to have the effect of having a group of Trustees just mouthpieces for that parties ideas, rather than having all residents best interests in mind.  Unfortunately, we believe that is exactly what has happened to the current board of Trustees.  The pendulum has swung too far.  With an 8-to-1 majority or higher during the previous 12 years, the Republican party has enjoyed tackling issues without serious debate.  Should a friend of the party need a permit or a renegotiation; no problem.  This cozy relationship has harmed the integrity of what we should consider an independent, pristine board, concerned only with the economic and environmental well being and future of our Town.  No doubt it is difficult to remain independent.  However, when accepting this position and all the responsibilities it entails, one should take pause.  Every decision needs to be perfect.  Every policy clear, consistent and fair.  Every goal to benefit our Town, now and in the long run.  We need visionary, decisive leadership in the board of Trustees yet not rigid so as to be blind to changing times and ideas.  We need energy and enthusiasm to carry out a most difficult task in securing our Town for the generations to come.  To paraphrase a recent President, "Are the residents of the Town of East Hampton better off today, because of the work of the Republican Trustees, than they were 2 years ago?"  If your answer is, like mine: no, then it is time for a change.  Let's change for the better.
Barry W. Leach
Democratic Candidate for 
East Hampton Town Trustee 
This is written on behalf of all the 1997 Democratic Trustees:  Harold Bennett, Martin Bennett, Eric Brown, Mary Gardiner, Frank Kennedy, Pete Kromer, Barry Leach, Richard Lester and Rick Rozos.