Election 2017

Election 2017: Southold Town Board candidates

Town Board
Four-year term, two open seats
Salary: $35,078

James Dinizio

Occupation: Self-employed

Hamlet: Greenport

Party lines: Conservative, Republican, Independence

About him: Mr Dinizio, 63, was born and raised in Greenport. He is married with two children. He worked in the cable TV industry for 17 years and is the owner of a local business that installs alarm and phone systems. He served in the U.S. Navy Seabees. A member of the Southold Town ZBA for 25 years, he has served on the Town Board for five years.

His pitch: Mr. Dinizio said that as a lifelong resident of Southold Town he has participated in many of the committees and organizations that have helped to preserve it. He said he believes that his 30 years of experience in land use issues in the town make him qualified to help solve the growing problems the community faces today with traffic and “special events.” During his tenure on Town Board, he has supported upgrading the police radio system and dispatch room, increasing police force manpower to the recommended standard and increasing code enforcement on weekends. He said he believes this had a positive effect on the closing of a “rogue tasting room” in town.

In his words: “If I am re-elected some of my goals are: Insure that our police department becomes accredited, work toward a solution to the ‘pumpkin’ traffic, finally define what a ‘farm’ is with respect to zoning. I would greatly appreciate your vote on Nov. 7.”

Mary Eisenstein

Occupation: Certified mediator; professional trainer, facilitator and coach

Hamlet: Mattituck

Party lines: Democratic, Independence

About her: Ms. Eisenstein, 68, and her husband of 34 years, Mel Morris, have lived in Mattituck for over 25 years. She has over 30 years of professional experience in facilitating training programs. She introduced mediation to the Southold Town Justice Court and volunteered her services  for five years. She founded the Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association.

Her pitch: As president of the civic association, Ms. Eisenstein developed forums with over 20 community leaders and experts in town government, affordable housing, land use, planning, zoning, water management, agriculture, code enforcement and transportation. Ms. Eisenstein said she is running for Town Board to “protect and preserve our way of life and the rural character of Southold Town.” She said she created the Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association because she saw a need for the community to have a voice in its changing landscape, with increased traffic, new building and proposals that change the landscape, water quality, agritainment and nowhere for young people to work or affordable workforce housing to stay local.

In her words: “I will continue to be a proactive and collaborative leader that helps manage change and facilitate communication with the community as we plan for strategic growth and the community feels like they are being heard.”

Bob Ghosio Jr.

Occupation: Managing partner, Jarzombek Energy Fuel Oil; service/sales manager,Flanders Heating and Air Conditioning

Hamlet: Greenport

Party lines: Republican, Conservative

About him: Mr. Ghosio, 54, lives in Greenport with wife, Gail, and their son Zachary. His oldest son, Bo, lives in Houston. Mr. Ghosio has a degree in zoology from Oswego State; he did graduate studies in theology at Drew University. He was a Town Trustee from 2006 to 2013 and has been a town councilman since 2014 to present. He has been a manager at Burt’s Reliable in Southold for 16 years. He is a member and former vice-president of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Aquebogue.

His pitch: Mr. Ghosio said that since he was first elected in 2006, he’s always tried to be fair and thoughtful in anything he’s done as Town Trustee and Town Councilman. He pointed to his focus on environmental protection, land preservation and supporting local agriculture — all things he said he believes are critical to honoring the heritage of the town. He said he is proud that since joining the Town Board in 2013, 228 acres of farmland and open space have been preserved. Recently, he urged the town to sue the EPA for allowing dumping of potentially hazardous dredge spoils in Long Island Sound. He’s also advocated for additional police and code enforcement, served on the helicopter noise committee, hired a wildlife manager to help with the deer and tick problems, advocated for a new short-term rental code and established a water conservation committee.

In his words: “I believe I bring years of experience, critical thinking and the management skills to continue to effectively represent all people in our town. I would be truly honored to be re-elected.”

Debbie O’Kane

Occupation: Office administrator, North Fork House Calls program director, North Fork Environmental Council

Hamlet: Orient

Party lines: Democratic, Women’s Equality

About her: Ms. O’Kane, 61, is a 25-year resident of Southold Town. She has managed several not-for-profit organizations and been employed at a number of local businesses — from retirement counselor and marketing coordinator to office and retail manager. She is a member of Southold Rotary, president of North Fork Audubon Society and a member of Southold Town’s Housing Advisory Commission.

Her pitch: Ms. O’Kane said she believes the skills, knowledge and experience she’s gained as a community leader over the past 22 years make her an ideal candidate for Town Board. She said some of her most important work has been at the North Fork Environmental Council, where she’s served as educator and advocate, operated on a shoestring budget, organized major fundraising efforts, written grants, drafted public policy and represented åresidents at the town, county, state and federal levels. She helped spearhead the Community Preservation Fund campaign, protecting thousands of acres in the town. She was also chosen and funded by Bridgehampton National Bank to attend Columbia Business School’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management Leadership Development Program.

In her words: “As Town Board member, I will focus on innovative solutions to our traffic crisis [and] our lack of housing for young people while balancing environmental protection with economic growth and job creation. I’m confident that my passion, education and experience will serve you well.”