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05/18/17 6:00am
05/18/2017 6:00 AM

Anyone who knows Bill Price only from his more than 35 years of serving as a judge in Southold Town might be surprised to learn he didn’t always walk a straight line.

Reflecting on his career and his life before the bench from his office inside a trailer attached to Southold Town Hall, Judge Price said it was a desire that people think of him as more earnest that led him to a legal career in the first place.

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11/09/13 8:00am
11/09/2013 8:00 AM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Longtime incumbent Town Justice Bill Price was elected to a ninth term Tuesday.

They call it The Silly Season for a reason. Elections — and particularly local elections — often bring out the silliness in everyone involved, including the candidates, their handlers and supporters, sometimes even the voters.

The former Joan Giger Walker and I decided the best way to avoid the silliness this year was to get out of town for Election Day. And we did, after having submitted our absentee ballots, of course. This is being written on Tuesday morning, Nov. 5, and we are 800 miles from home, in Asheville, N.C.

And yet the silliness has followed us here.

Actually, for us the silliness began last week when the paper made its endorsements. Friends of ours began to call and email us with essentially the same question: How could the paper possibly have endorsed challenger Bill Goggins over incumbent Town Justice Bill Price Jr.?

Our short answer: Ask the paper. Apparently even some of our close friends need to be reminded that Joan and I no longer own nor work for the paper. (Although I still do write this column every other week.) It’s been years since I was involved in the endorsement process — and it is a process, involving both editors and reporters, who make their final decision by majority vote — nor are we involved in any editorial or management decision making. Repeat: any.

Still, the silliness persists. On Monday a friend called to ask why the paper tipped off the Goggins camp in advance so they could mail a postcard delivered on Saturday morning, alerting voters to the endorsement. (Yes, this guy still is a friend.) The answer is simple: Every Thursday morning around 4 a.m., the content of the paper is “published” on its website, giving Goggins and his supporters 37 hours — more than enough time — to print, address and post the cards before the post office closed at 5 p.m. Friday. The paper never has provided — and, I firmly believe, never will provide — advance notice of any political endorsement, including to the former owners and co-publishers, who were surprised as anyone by the endorsement of Bill Goggins.

There’s one more indicator that this silliness has followed us here to North Carolina, although it’s really more a coincidence than pure silliness.

Last night, we were getting a brief tour of Asheville in a car driven by former Mattituck-Cutchogue School District staff member Debbie Gurriere. In the passenger seat was her husband, Ray, former owner of the Love Lane (Mattituck) Pharmacy. We knew Debbie and Ray when they lived in Mattituck, and we got in touch with them when we knew we were going to be passing through Asheville, where they have lived since leaving the North Fork several years ago.

They were, as you might imagine, curious about the local election back in Southold Town, and I told them about the endorsement flap and the fact that I had written an earlier column supporting Bill Price. (Living proof that we no longer have a say in the endorsements.) And as they were getting ready to drop us off at our B&B, Ray announced that he had just sent a text message to an old friend of theirs back in New Suffolk, saying they were currently riding around Asheville with Joan and Troy Gustavson.

Can you guess who the old friend is? None other than Bill Goggins himself.

Even 800 miles away from home, it seems the silliness cannot be avoided.

10/11/13 7:00am
10/11/2013 7:00 AM

Red states blue states

The Other Times informs us this week that 11 counties in Colorado are mounting an effort to secede from the rest of the state because it’s too liberal. “They bristle at gun control laws and marijuana shops, green energy policies and steps to embrace gay marriage and illegal immigrants,” The Times reports. And to that you most likely can add Obamacare, the health insurance initiative that Congressional Republicans are attempting to undo after the fact, bringing the federal government to the brink of insolvency in the process.

And that’s got me to thinking. Maybe we should gladly let them go, along with the other Red counties and states that share their regressive attitudes. In fact, why don’t we let them break away from the union entirely, forming their own nation of Ye Olde United States. Then, and only then, can they void the Emancipation Proclamation and reinstitute slavery, which has been their secret objective from the start, no doubt.

Yes, let the troglodyte Congressional Republicans who are attempting to undo Obamacare after the fact have their own nation. And the rest of us will gladly have ours, one that is progressive, not regressive, and that shares the belief that all men and women are created equal and entitled to equal opportunity.

Let’s see. We’ll take New England (although, admittedly, some of our neighbors to the north have not yet accepted Obamacare), the Mid-Atlantic states and most of the Rust Belt, with the possible exception of Detroit, which would be better off in Canada, don’t you think? Then I suppose we can write off most of the Southeast (except maybe Florida, with vacations in mind; also see Hawaii and Alaska, below) and Southwest. We’ll take the West Coast states, the aforementioned last two jurisdictions to attain statehood and Colorado’s remaining 53 counties.

Obviously, we’ll have to see which nation gets to keep the Pledge of Allegiance, but maybe, just maybe, the red and blue states finally can agree on something: “Two nations under God …”

Before I am accused (again) of being a Demon Democrat, let it be known that I will be voting for at least one lifelong Republican in next month’s local election: Southold Town Justice Bill Price Jr. It just so happens he’s running as a Democrat because, for reasons unknown but hotly speculated upon, his own party declined to endorse him for re-election and Southold’s largely disorganized and dysfunctional Democratic Party saw an opportunity it could not resist.

I have my own theories, all of them speculative, as to how and why this happened. It’s because Bill Price is his own man and unwilling to take direction from GOP leaders. It’s because his Republican-endorsed opponent, Bill Goggins, is a good party soldier willing to take direction from GOP leaders. And it’s because, I have on reliable authority, Bill Price wears a small earring in one ear, much to the chagrin of certain elements of the GOP establishment. Seriously.

As the Price campaign ads have reminded us throughout this election, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

(Disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I been for several years, a member of Times/Review’s editorial board, which decides which candidates to endorse in local, state and national elections. I am, I suppose, a Demon Democrat.)

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