|East Hampton Town
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.