11/02/13 10:00am
11/02/2013 10:00 AM

Town Justice candidates William C. Goggins (left) and William H. Price Jr.

TOWN JUSTICE
Four-year term, one open seat
Salary: $67,950

William C. Goggins
Hamlet:
Mattituck
Occupation: Attorney
Party lines: Republican, Conservative and Independence

About him: Mr. Goggins, 53, is a 1978 Mattituck High School graduate and an Air Force veteran with degrees from the University of Massachusetts and Bridgeport Law School. He opened a private law practice in Mattituck more than 23 years ago.

His pitch: He believes he could create efficiencies, and therefore savings, within the Southold Town Justice Court. As an attorney practicing law in various courtrooms across Suffolk County, he says he’s noticed the court in Southold has not updated its administrative functions in more than 20 years. He pointed to the lack of a computer in the courtroom, the way defendants are walked past a jury and the lag time in arraigning defendants as changes he’d like to make.

In his words: “As an attorney, I see inefficiencies at the town court, which is causing a burden on our police resources and our town resources. I believe I can institute changes … to make [the court] function much better, by making it more efficient. Efficiency saves us all money as taxpayers.”

William H. Price Jr.
Hamlet:
Greenport
Occupation: Incumbent Town Justice, attorney
Party lines: Democrat, Working Families

About him: Mr. Price, 62, is a Greenport native who attended Greenport Schools, Mount Hermon School, Boston University and Albany Law School. He opened a private law practice in Greenport in 1977 and served as Greenport’s village attorney from 1978 to 1979. First elected in 1980, he has served as a Southold Town Justice for nearly 32 years, having been re-elected to seven consecutive four-year terms. He also serves as a Drug Court Judge at no additional compensation. Additionally, he has served as a director of the Suffolk County Magistrates Association and is a former director of the NYS Magistrates Association.

His pitch: Mr. Price believes residents should re-elect him based on his record of serving with “integrity and independence” for more than three decades.

In his words: “As a Town Justice, I have had to make the difficult decisions concerning individuals’ liberty and property rights. I understand the implications of my decisions. I have presided over more trials than I can count. I have had to send people to jail and fined many people. I have had to decide not to send people to jail. My years of judicial experience benefit all of the people of the Town of Southold.”

11/02/13 9:59am

William Goggins

It’s clear to anyone who’s spent time in various courtrooms across Suffolk County that the Southold Town Justice Court operates differently from all the others.

It’s not uncommon for a family member of someone who was arrested on a Saturday night to show up at the Southold court Monday morning and have to wait until the early afternoon for their relative’s arraignment.

If you ask what the hold up is, you’ll often be told, “We’re waiting for the judge.”

That’s how Justice William Price has chosen to operate his courtroom. For some folks, it’s no bother. For others, it’s a nuisance. Attorney William Goggins, Judge Price’s Republican opponent in Tuesday’s election for Town Justice, falls into the latter category.

Efficiency, he says, is the number one reason he’s running.

As a go-to attorney in Southold Town for more than two decades, Mr. Goggins spends as much time in Southold’s courtroom as just about anyone not named Price or Bruer (the last name of the other town justice). He doesn’t like what he sees. He says not only are attorneys, clients and family members often kept waiting for court to begin at an unscheduled time — even for some arrests in which most jurisdictions would issue the defendant an appearance ticket — he also believes the way defendants are walked across the entire courtroom before a proceeding creates a safety hazard for everyone in attendance. He says he’d like to create a holding area closer to the side entrance, away from the public, which he suggested might also make things easier for the town police officers who escort the men and women in and out of the court.

Mr. Goggins also told Suffolk Times editors the courtroom could use a technological upgrade. “Southold is the only courtroom I’m ever in that doesn’t have computers inside the courtroom,” he said. The purchase of just one computer could create efficiencies for the court clerk and the judge, he said.

But what’s made this year’s justice race more interesting than most races — in the eyes of many who follow such things — is an old rift that has divided the candidates for the past decade. Following a real estate transaction in which the men represented different parties, Mr. Goggins sent Mr. Price a letter of complaint about the way Mr. Price handled the transaction. Ever since, in his capacity as judge, Mr. Price has declined to hear Mr. Goggins’ cases, according to both candidates. Rather than risk an accusation of bias should he rule against Mr. Goggins’ client, those matters are transferred to Justice Bruer’s calendar.

Mr. Goggins says he was approached twice by Republicans about running for Town Justice but refused both times before finally accepting the nomination this spring.

For Mr. Price, also a Republican, this meant being abandoned by the party that has nominated him for eight four-year terms dating back to 1981. He says he was dropped from the ticket because he’s fiercely independent.

Instead, he’s running on the Democratic and Working Families lines this year. A judge with 32 years in the courtroom and a mostly favorable reputation, he has certainly added some much needed experience to the Democratic ticket. It’s been 24 years since Democrats have even run someone against Mr. Price, who first won his post in 1981 by 61 percent of the vote and saw his popularity grow to 69 and 70 percent in his next two elections before running unopposed to win his five most recent terms. For the person who always votes Democratic, but hasn’t had a choice since 1989, the veteran judge is a perfectly fine option.

But for the conflicted Republican, or the independent voter who turns to a local newspaper for guidance on Election Day, we’re endorsing Mr. Goggins this year.

The case can be made for a vote for Mr. Price based on his judicial experience but such a vote also represents support of the status quo inside a stagnant Southold Town Justice Court that operates at the sleepy pace of its senior judge. Ironically, Mr. Price pledged to make the Southold Town Justice Court more accessible in his very first Suffolk Times election preview advertisement in 1981.

Mr. Goggins boasts experience not as a town justice but rather as a hard-working attorney who can modernize our town court by introducing systems he’s seen work in other places. We trust he’ll have the support of Mr. Bruer, also a Republican — and a town justice for 18 years — to make our town court more, well, accessible.

A vote for Mr. Goggins signifies a desire for change in a courtroom we believe is in need of a little shaking up.

11/02/13 8:02am
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Town board candidates debate winery regulation and deer management during Tuesday's forum.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Town board candidates debate winery regulation and deer management during Tuesday’s forum.

TOWN COUNCIL
Four-year term, two open seats
Salary: $33,218

James Dinizio Jr.
Occupation:
Owner, Sterling Communications Inc.
Hamlet: Greenport
Party lines: Conservative, Republican, Independence

About him: Mr. Dinizio, 59, is a lifelong resident of Greenport, where he lives with his wife and has raised two children. He worked in the cable television industry for two decades before founding his own communications company 19 years ago. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served from 1972 to 1975. A past member of several town committees — including the code, planning and zoning committees — he was appointed to the Southold Town Zoning Board of Appeals in 1988. He served 25 years on the ZBA, including one year as chairman. He was appointed to a vacant seat on the Town Board in February and is now seeking election to the board for the first time.

His pitch: He believes his experience working with the town code can be an asset to the Town Board and his past experience with the planning and zoning departments can help streamline the process for applicants and taxpayers. He says he’s concerned about the pressure to allow more commercial uses in residential zones, which he believes would impact the overall quality of life in the town.

In his words: “If elected in November, I will use the experience I have gained during my years on the ZBA to insure that any new code changes with respect to zoning will respect the sanctity of the neighborhoods we live in.”

Mary Eisenstein
Occupation:
Owner, Melmar Enterprises
Hamlet: Mattituck
Party lines: Democrat, Working Families

About her: Ms. Eisenstein, 64, has been a Mattituck resident for more than 20 years. She runs a communication skills development training company, specializing in conflict resolution, mediation and emotional intelligence skills. In that capacity, she has designed programs for hundreds of companies and conducted seminars, workshops and training programs for major airline, government, military, human resource, health care, library, education, banking and retail organizations.

Her pitch: She believes her professional skills have prepared her to listen to the community’s concerns and give it a voice on the Town Board. She said the Town Board is in need of new people from outside local government who can bring fresh ideas. She hopes to help agricultural and other small-business owners across Southold Town prosper while ensuring the town maintains its cultural heritage.

In her words: “A diverse board that more adequately reflects the community will make Southold stronger and enable us to find better solutions to future issues. Let us all work together to maintain our good neighbor approach to living in Southold Town.”

Robert Ghosio
Occupation: Management, heating and air conditioning industry
Hamlet:
Greenport
Party lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence

About him: Mr. Ghosio, 50, has lived with his wife and raised two sons in Greenport since 1998. He earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Oswego State before pursuing graduate studies in divinity at Drew University. He worked as a manager at Burt’s Reliable for 15 years before going to work at Flanders Heating & Air Conditioning earlier this year. He is in his seventh year on the Southold Town Trustees, to which he was first elected in a 2006 special election. He had previously spent six years on the town’s Conservation Advisory Council.

His pitch: He believes his experience as a Trustee and his time on the CAC have prepared him to serve on the Town Board. Mr. Ghosio counts land preservation, controlling development, environmental conservation and keeping taxes down among his top campaign issues.

In his words: “[My experience] representing my constituents and administering our town’s natural resources codes while also immersing myself in the internal processes of local law-making, code enforcement, planning and administration of the town, gives me the background and necessary experience with issues critical to the future of our town.”

Ronald J. Rothman
Occupation: Owner, Rothman’s Department Store
Hamlet:
Southold
Party lines: Democrat, Working Families

About him: Mr. Rothman, 58, is a third-generation Southold resident and the current owner of the family business founded in 1918 by his grandfather, David Rothman. He attended Southold schools, graduated from Williston-Northampton School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Alfred University in 1977. He has worked with arts organizations, established his own gallery and performed and exhibited his work across Eastern Long Island.

His pitch: As an outsider to local government and politics, Mr. Rothman believes he can bring a sensibility to government that reflects the local perspective and a love of Southold Town. He said his experience as a local business owner who has worked with residents, other local businesspeople and the agricultural community gives him special insight into what it takes to thrive on the North Fork: grow businesses, serve the community, support the schools, preserve the environment and maintain a high quality way of life in an open and transparent way.

In his words: “I am committed to preserving the natural beauty and the lifestyle of Long Island’s North Fork for future generations and to bringing my experience, expertise and sensibilities to our town to add some balance to our local government.”

Read our endorsements for town council here

11/02/13 8:01am

James Dinizio (left) and Robert Ghosio

The Democrats running for Town Board, and in particular candidate Mary Eisenstein, have made a point this election season of suggesting there’s a need for party balance on a board that currently features four Republicans and one Conservative.

“Break one-party thinking,” reads a recent ad purchased by Ms. Eisenstein, who is endorsed by the Democratic and Working Families parties but is not registered with a party.

It’s a fair election season play in a year that saw the Town Board’s only elected Democrat leave for the county Legislature and be replaced by Conservative Jim Dinizio.

Profiles: Meet the candidates for town council

The difficulty of running a campaign based on a perceived need for party balance is that the challenging candidates need to effectively illustrate what they would do differently or better. It also helps if the voting public already sees a one-sided board as a problem.

We’re not convinced that the people of Southold Town view the current Town Board in a negative way. Both Ms. Eisenstein and running mate Ron Rothman have publicly praised current town Supervisor Scott Russell throughout their campaigns. Neither has done much in the way of bringing new ideas to the forefront over the past several months. Instead, the mantra has been, “Vote for me; I’m not a Republican.”

The truth is, most Southold Town residents have been satisfied with the work of the Republicans on the Town Board, which has been proven over the past several election cycles. No Democrat not named Krupski has been elected councilman in Southold Town since 2005. In the most recent town election, in 2011, Republican council candidates secured 64 percent of the vote.

The current Town Board has been fiscally responsible and strict on winery regulations, event laws and public safety initiatives. The bills passed in these areas, plus the zoning of Plum Island, will go a long way toward striking the balance between allowing inevitable changes in Southold Town and maintaining the quality of life that has always made it so special. Southold is changing as the tourist economy grows, but the tough decisions the Town Board makes will ensure the town doesn’t become a completely different place.

In his short time on the board, and during this campaign season, Mr. Dinizio, who has previously served on the Zoning Board of Appeals and several town committees, has touted his knowledge of the town code. He’s also been an outspoken critic of Vineyard 48 in Cutchogue, which has been ticketed frequently for violating occupancy laws.

“This establishment breaks the law every week,” Mr. Dinizio said during a recent Suffolk Times debate. “That is a safety problem.”

Mr. Rothman, a lifelong town resident and the current owner of Rothman’s Department Store in Southold, appealed to local voters and business owners during the campaign season by questioning the need for some of the recent regulations.

He said during the recent debate that the town should have enforced the laws already on the books rather than passing new regulations to restrict all the town’s agricultural businesses.

“It’s overkill for the problem,” Mr. Rothman said. “I’m for agriculture and promoting the businesses that are zoned for the area. It is a good-neighbor policy.”

But we need a Town Board that’s willing to take action against neighbors if they’re acting out of line — and Mr. Dinizio and Mr. Ghosio made a stronger case for that this campaign season.

A current town Trustee with a reputation as a hard worker, Mr. Ghosio showed he’s the most knowledgeable of the three challengers when it comes to town issues. We hope he uses his prior experience as a Trustee to be a voice on the environmental and preservation issues that are so important to the residents of this town.

Ms. Eisenstein and Mr. Rothman would have been better served to focus more on issues other than the Town Board’s political makeup. Perhaps Mr. Ghosio said it best during his closing statement at the debate, when he suggested the balance most residents care about is balancing the town’s checkbook.

11/02/13 8:00am
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Trustee candidates debate issues like water pollution and beach access during Tuesday's forum.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Town trustee candidates at last month’s debate.

TOWN TRUSTEE
Four-year term, three open seats
Salary: $18,344

John M. Bredemeyer III
Hamlet: Orient
Occupation: Incumbent Trustee, professional assistant at Suffolk Community College, retired county health department employee
Party lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence

About him: Mr. Bredemeyer, 62, lives with his wife in Orient, where they raised two children. He is a graduate of Cornell University and has more than 35 years’ experience in environmental monitoring, pollution assessment and public and environmental health enforcement. He formerly worked in the marine unit of the Suffolk County Health Department’s office of ecology. He has worked on numerous environmental initiatives, including building and running a collector for atmospheric nitrogen inputs to the Peconic Estuary. Mr. Bredemeyer was first elected in 1984 and presently chairs to the town’s shellfish advisory committee. He is also a volunteer firefighter.

His pitch: Mr. Bredemeyer believes his experience and education with environmental issues has given him the understanding to make valuable contributions to the Board of Trustees.

In his words: “Your vote for me insures that you, the voter-taxpayer, get a ‘dividend’ on the huge public investment you have already made in my education, training and professional career.”

Michael J. Domino
Hamlet: Southold
Occupation: Incumbent Trustee, real estate investor, retired science teacher
Party lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence

About him: Mr. Domino, 69, has been a Southold resident for the past 17 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology as well as master’s degrees in engineering and education. He is a retired earth science teacher at Rocky Point High School and is currently CEO of Greenport Real Estate Investment LLC. Mr. Domino is a former U.S. Marine, past president of the North Fork Environmental Council and a 15-year member of the Southold Town Anti-Bias Task Force. Additionally, he is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation, a certified DEC water sampler and a member of the Southold shellfish advisory committee. In 2012, he was appointed to fill the Town Trustee seat left vacant by current Town Board member Jill Doherty.

His pitch: Mr. Domino said that in his nearly two years on the board, he has placed community and environmental interests first, looking for ways to mitigate potential damage to the environment without compromising constituents’ property rights.

In his words: “As one of two incumbents seeking re-election to the Southold Town Board of Trustees, I possess a unique and balanced skill set that sets me apart from other candidates and makes me worthy of your vote.”

Joseph J. Finora Jr.
Hamlet: Laurel
Occupation: Independent businessperson
Party line: Democratic

About him: Mr. Finora, 53, lives in Laurel with his wife and children. He is a self-employed financial media-relations specialist and business writer. Previously a journalist, he has also written two business books and one novel. Five years ago, he establish the North Fork Ospreys baseball team in Peconic. He is a longtime volunteer youth baseball and basketball coach and recently raised money for new dugouts and modernizing the Mattituck High School baseball field. This is his first time running for public office.

His pitch: Mr. Finora said he believes in fairness, openness and helping neighbors. He said there is a need for greater balance in Southold’s government and looks forward to hearing and resolving the concerns of Southold Town residents.

In his words: “Most people around Southold know me due to my affiliation with sports. I’ve recently worked as an umpire learning to enforce rules and settle disputes. This is a great place to live and raise a family, but there’s much to be done. What we do today will affect how we live tomorrow in Southold Town.”

William C. Funke
Hamlet: Cutchogue
Occupation: Retired insurance manager
Party line: Democratic

About him: Mr. Funke, 66, retired to Cutchogue after living in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Germany. He is currently working toward earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s in environmental science. He spent more than 30 years insuring ships, cargoes and terminals. As a marine underwriter, he was part of the team implementing the Water Quality Improvement Act of 1970. He later went into software and hardware development for several small companies in New Jersey. This is his first time running for public office.

His pitch: Mr. Funke believes his experience as a marine underwriter taught him how government and the private sector can work together for a common goal. He said he wants to apply his skills to improve Southold’s waterways.

In his words: “The Sound and bay are unquestionably in a death spiral and I want to do what I can to help stop that.”

Charles J. Sanders
Hamlet: Greenport
Occupation: Associate broker, Town and Country Real Estate
Party lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence

About him: Mr. Sanders, 45, has lived on the North Fork since 1996. He worked at Hargrave Vineyard before beginning a career in real estate in 1999. He previously owned a real estate business and retail store. He is currently an associate broker at Town and Country in Southold. He joined the Air National Guard in 2008 and has served two tours in Afghanistan. This is his first run for public office.

His pitch: Mr. Sanders said he wants to contribute a balanced approach to the administration of Southold’s wetlands and the protection of a residents’ right to enjoy their property.

In his words: “My civilian and military experience has instilled in me a strong work ethic and extensive administrative and interpersonal skills that I pledge to bring to the job of Trustee.”

Geoffrey M. Wells
Hamlet: Southold
Occupation: Retired television IT specialist; writer
Party lines: Democratic, Working Families

About him: Mr. Wells, 60, retired to Southold in 2013 with his wife. He grew up on a farm in South Africa before immigrating to the United States in 1980 and beginning his career in information technology. Mr. Wells was vice president of television information technology at Disney, ABC and Fox. In those roles he was responsible for creating and managing three new IT departments, implementing sales and creating and staffing a new East Coast data center. Mr. Wells is currently working full time on his second novel. His first, “A Fado for the River,” was published in 2012. This is Mr. Wells’ first run for public office.

His pitch: Mr. Wells believes his experience in communication and problem solving in the corporate world will be an asset to the Town Trustees. He said he would seek win-win outcomes and work toward making the board’s processes more transparent for residents.

In his words: “Change is inevitable. As Trustee, I will ensure that change is managed in such a way that our shoreline is protected and our quality of life as both private citizens and public custodians is not diminished.”

Read our endorsements for town trustee here

11/02/13 7:59am

(from left) John Bredeymeyer, Michael Domino and Geoffrey Wells.

There is perhaps no candidate better qualified for his position in this year’s Southold Town elections than incumbent Trustee John Bredemeyer.

Ivy League-educated and armed with a résumé that boasts more than three decades of experience in the areas of public health, science and the environment, Mr. Bredemeyer is almost too qualified for the post. It’s a blessing for the people of Southold Town that someone with this type of experience has been on the Board of Trustees for a total of 14 years, having served from 1984 to 1994 before being elected in 2009 to his most recent four-year term.

Having Mr. Bredemeyer, a Republican, and Democratic challenger William Funke on opposite ends of the table during the recent Suffolk Times debate was poetic. On one end of the spectrum, Mr. Bredemeyer proved to be a passionate and knowledgeable incumbent that night, while Mr. Funke showed he was simply the opposite. He declined to answer the first question of the night and failed to offer much of anything in the way of perspective for the remainder of the debate.

Profiles: Meet the candidates for town trustee

“How am I supposed to know?” might as well have been Mr. Funke’s campaign slogan.

The science and environmental experience of Mr. Bredemeyer and fellow incumbent Mike Domino, a retired science teacher and a past president of the North Fork Environmental Council, are unmatched by any of the four challengers.

Of those four, we believe Mr. Wells is the best fit for the seat being vacated by Dave Bergen, a two-term Trustee who was dumped from the Republican ticket this year.

A systems and processes guy with an impressive background in corporate information technology, Mr. Wells, a native of South Africa who moved here from New York City this year, is a bright candidate who could offer a unique voice to the board. He may lack institutional knowledge of the community, but we’re confident he’d be a quick study. We’re especially curious to see what type of advancements Mr. Wells, who ran the most passionate campaign of any of the six candidates, can make in the way of technology and modernizing the Trustees’ office.

Both Democrat Joseph Finora and Republican Charles Sanders, a late addition to the ticket after original GOP nominee David Zuhoski dropped out, failed to display much passion during the election season.

The only issues raised during the campaign — both by Democrats — related to beachfront property rights and perceived transparency issues with the current board. Republicans dismissed the former as a bay constable enforcement issue and the latter as not an issue at all. We tend to agree with the Republicans on both counts.

Instead, we wish we’d heard more from both sides about the very real issue of water pollution. During The Suffolk Times debate, Mr. Bredemeyer and Mr. Domino said the board has made improvements in this area, while Mr. Wells said there’s plenty more to be done.

“Leaching is happening on a daily basis,” he said. “It is a very serious situation.”

We’d like to see those three candidates work closely together on helping to improve our water pollution problem over the next four years.

10/09/13 8:00am
10/09/2013 8:00 AM

The Suffolk Times will be hosting town political debates in the community center at Peconic Landing in Greenport next Tuesday, Oct. 15.

Scheduled to attend will be all four Town Board candidates and the six candidates running for the Board of Trustees in the Nov. 5 general election.

“We look forward to giving the residents of Southold Town the chance to get to know the candidates running for these two important offices,” said Times/Review Newsgroup publisher Andrew Olsen.

There will be two separate debates with the first featuring incumbent Republican Town Trustees John Bredemeyer and Mike Domino, Republican challenger Charles Sanders and Democratic challengers Geoffrey Wells, Joseph Finora and William Funke. The second debate will feature incumbent Conservative Town Board member Jim Dinizio, Republican challenger Bob Ghosio and Democratic challengers Mary Eisenstein and Ron Rothman.

Both debates will be moderated by Times/Review executive editor Grant Parpan.

“These debates are designed to give the public a chance to learn where the candidates stand on important local issues,” Mr. Parpan said. “We hope to get beyond the sound bites and allow for a true discourse on the issues that matter most to the people of the North Fork.”

Some questions for the debates will be written in advance by the newspaper staff, written questions can be submitted in writing from readers and the candidates will be given time to make closing statements. Readers can submit questions in advance to [email protected] with the subject line Suffolk Times Debate or in person prior to the start of the event. There will be no questions from the floor.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with the debates scheduled to run from 7 to 9 p.m.

Peconic Landing Community Center

09/22/13 12:00pm
09/22/2013 12:00 PM

T

The significant issues surrounding Goldsmith Inlet in Peconic have led me to question the process of analysis and decision-making that has been in use to this point. I believe that if the community can focus on and accept the dynamic of a formal decision-making process rather than on the tactics of possible solutions, it will be able to arrive at a decision regarding the future of the inlet. Accordingly, this column is not about the various positions in this debate. My hope is that the community will be able to unlock the current impasse, because the heart of this issue is that the pond is dying.

I count maybe seven or more possible solutions for the pond: build a second jetty, shorten the existing jetty, eliminate the jetty, lengthen the jetty, do nothing, only address all natural and unnatural pollutants and various dredging solutions. And there are many permutations of these options. Therefore, the pros and cons of the variables must be parsed, and they fall into two categories: physical and biological.

Some of the physical variables are tide cycles and jetty effect, the characteristics of how the pond flushes, the depth of the pond, salinity and upland drainage and/or runoff. In addition the effects of storms, climate change and dredging must be added to this mix.

The biological variables are pathogen levels and both natural and unnatural pollutants. According to DEC records, the inlet generally has high coliform bacteria levels. However the records also state that insufficient data are available to determine the exact cause and effect of each point and non-point pollution source.

And that’s a problem. Insufficient data lead us to speculation — of which there is no shortage. For example, information on the possible impact of invasive plants, most alarming being the mile-a-minutes vine on Autumn Lake, lead residents to draw conclusions about how the vine threatens the inlet.

The third dimension of this decision matrix is the combination of human preferences and biases. The preferences of homeowners and the public run strong. Some residents and members of the public have concerns about the future of beach recreation, and of course the human danger presented by polluted waters. Others believe that nature should be left to take its course, and therefore to them, concerns about cost containment and tax hikes are moot.

The scope of possible solutions and their variables, makes the constraints under which eDesign Dynamics conducted their assessment too narrow to serve as the dominant analysis on which to base a decision. The computer model, DYNLET is a powerful model for assessing coastal problems, yet it is obviously not designed to model all variables. Consequently eDesign answered many questions from the community by saying, “we simply don’t know”. Former trustee Peggy Dickerson questioned the wisdom of their modeling a “steady state” by pointing out that the term, “normal dynamic state” should rather be used.

My point is that, unless we can rely on a range of unbiased scientific facts and sociological data to support all possible solutions, positive and negative, we will fall back on coalition-building, analysis-paralysis, groupthink and mythology. In the meantime, the pond slowly dies.

So what are the biases that we need to understand in order to not fall under their influence? Here are some that I have heard:

• The “sunk-cost trap” will bias the decision to not change the jetty. This bias will support the argument for no change. Why throw good money after bad?

• Another bias is the “anchoring bias” — in this case it is the estimated $1.5 million cost of the second jetty. Now, anything less will sound cheap at the price.

• Similarly, a “confirmation bias” would show how the littoral drift and tidal cycles always build sand bars on the facing side of the jetty — and erode the beach on the other side. Yet the geography is never identical, so can that conclusion be drawn?

These and other biases need to be acknowledged as influencers and not discounted. Once all the possible solutions and their variables have been subjected to science and analysis, and the biases have been weighed, the community will need to decide to decide.

So here are my parameters for a decision road map:

• Assess multiple alternatives. In progress, check that.

• Test all assumptions. Put that on the “to do” list.

• Foster vigorous debate and constructive conflict. No problem there — they are alive and well.

• Do not defer too strictly to the experts — question them, hold them accountable.

• Make decisions with a team of equals. There’s work that has to be done here.

• Question whether well-established norms have reached a tipping point — is it time to think outside the box?

• Encourage devil’s advocacy.

• Finally, take a comprehensive perspective on the issue.

Following a decision road map will not only help unlock the impasse, but a similar template for decision-making can also be applied to future complex problems that will arise as the town rides the tides of change.

Geoffrey Wells is a Democratic candidate running for Southold Town Trustee.

08/01/13 10:00am
08/01/2013 10:00 AM

Charles Sanders

The Southold GOP has replaced a Town Trustee candidate who was told by his employer that he had to chose between his job and seeking public office.

David Zuhoski of Cutchogue, a fisheries technician for Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Marine Program, withdrew from the race last week, said town Republican leader Peter McGreevy. In his place, the party selected Greenport real estate agent Charles Sanders, a lieutenant in the Army National Guard who has never before sought public office.

In May, the Republicans selected 26-year-old Mr. Zuhoski over incumbent Republican Trustee Dave Bergen of Cutchogue. At that time, Mr. McGreevy said that although the incumbent had “a very successful eight years in office,” the committee decided “it was time to go in a different direction.”

Mr. Bergen and Mr. Sanders were the only two contenders to replace Mr. Zuhoski, the leader said.

“It’s very difficult to find a candidate to run for a Trustee position because they have to take a full day off work every other week,” Mr. McGreevy said. “That narrows the pool of candidates.”

Mr. Sanders, who has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, “best represents what the committee wanted in a candidate,” Mr. McGreevy added. On Mr. Bergen’s status with the party, he said, “Dave Bergen is a good Republican. We know he’ll continue to be a party supporter and we hope to consider him for future available positions.”

Mr. Sanders said he hopes to be an effective advocate for property rights while protecting the environment.

“A balance is my main focus,” he said.

A Midwest native, Mr. Sanders said he first came to the North Fork to visit a friend who spent his summers here.

“He invited me out and I absolutely fell in love with it,” he said.

After moving to Greenport in 1999, Mr. Sanders entered the real estate field and is currently an associate broker for Town & Country in Southold.

He returned from his second tour in Afghanistan in January.

“My experience in Afghanistan made me love America a hell of a lot more than I did before, I can tell you that,” he said.

Mr. Sanders will join GOP incumbents John Bredemeyer and Mike Domino. The Democrats selected candidates Geoffery Wells, Joe Finora Jr. and Bill Funke.

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05/31/13 5:39pm
05/31/2013 5:39 PM

TIM KELLY PHOTO | Marie Domenici addressing Southold Democrats during the party’s 2011 convention.

The Southold Democratic Party filled one of the vacancies in its 2013 town election slate Friday, choosing Mattituck resident Marie Domenici to run for town assessor.

“Marie is a tireless worker who follows town government and school boards closely,” said town Democratic Chairman Art Tillman. “She’s a totally involved civic person.”

Ms. Domenici was the first chairperson of the town’s renewable energy committee, which drafted the town code permitting wind turbines on agricultural lands. She previously worked as a senior project manager for American Express and most recently served as an energy educator in the solar energy industry.

Two years ago she ran unsuccessfully on the Democratic line for a seat on the Town Board.

“This is about being someone who’s involved in the community and if I can help people count me in,” she said.

The Democrats chose several candidates for town elected positions during the party’s convention Wednesday, but are still looking for another assessor, highway superintendent, Fishers Island justice and town clerk.