11/03/17 6:00am
11/03/2017 6:00 AM

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.”

Featured Story
11/17/16 2:00pm
11/17/2016 2:00 PM

As the vote to approve a Southold Town budget that would raise taxes more than 7.5 percent was called, board members expressed concerns. They said they understood the concerns of residents, but most said their hands were tied by a “dire set of circumstances,” largely the deteriorating state of some local roads. READ

09/20/16 2:09pm
09/20/2016 2:09 PM


When Charles Reichert read a Suffolk Times story about the Southold Town Police Department’s ongoing radio issues, he went to Police Chief Martin Flatley to find out how he could help.


01/03/14 7:00am
01/03/2014 7:00 AM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Southold town council members James Dinizio (left) and Robert Ghosio at Thursday morning’s inauguration as highway superintendent Vincent Orlando looks on.

Newly elected Southold Town officials were sworn in last Thursday during an inauguration ceremony held at Town Hall.

Southold Supervisor Scott Russell greeted the newly elected officials, who took their oath of office led by Southold Justice Rudy Bruer.

Town Board members James Dinizio and the newly elected Robert Ghosio, formerly a town trustee, were among those sworn in. Mr. Ghozio said he was excited to get involved in issues beyond environmental sensitivity and wetlands.

“I think we have a few good issues this year,” Mr. Ghosio said. “Certainly we hope to resolve the issues with Vineyard 48, which seems to be moving along … and trying to start working towards a resolution to the problems that we have with the amount of deer that we have in town.

“It’s going to be a learning curve for sure. Even though I have been working in the town for seven years, now I get to learn about the other departments I never had anything to do with,” he added.

The Town Board will need to appoint a new trustee to replace Mr. Ghosio. A special election for the final year of the term will then be held in November, said Peter McGreevy. Mr. Russell said the Town Board could even appoint an interim trustee who would then step down to let all non-incumbents vie for the seat in the election.

Incumbent Republican trustees John Bredemeyer, Mike Domino and Charles Sanders were all sworn in, as was assessors Bob Scott and Kevin Webster.

Betty Neville was sworn in as town clerk, a position she has held since 1997.

Justice William Price was sworn in for his ninth term as Southold Town Justice. Fishers Island Justice Louisa Evans was also sworn in.

In a past interview, Mr. Price said this will be his last term serving as town judge.

Former councilman Vincent Orlando was sworn is as highway superintendent just in time for the impending snowstorm.

“I’m looking forward to getting the first snowstorm under my belt,” Mr. Orlando said.

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11/02/13 8:02am
11/02/2013 8:02 AM
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.

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

James Dinizio Jr.
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
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
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
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.

07/31/13 2:43pm
07/31/2013 2:43 PM

BING MAP IMAGE | The town plans to prohibit vehicle parking at all times along a half-mile stretch of County Route 48 from the western edge of Depot Lane to the eastern edge of a private road known as Road B near Vineyard 48.

In response to the outcry from Cutchogue residents, the town is considering new legislation to prohibit parking on the North Road in the vicinity of controversial Vineyard 48.

On Tuesday, the Town Board scheduled an Aug. 27 public hearing on the parking ban.

It is “no secret” that the town disapproves of Vineyard 48’s business practices, Supervisor Scott Russell said after the meeting. The winery has been at the center of countless complaints, including loud music and patrons wandering onto neighboring properties and having sex in public. Excessive traffic and disregard for parking regulations have also caused concern among vineyard neighbors.

“When you have an operator causing a public safety issue something needs to be done,” Mr. Russell said.

That “something” would be to prohibit vehicle parking at all times along a half-mile stretch of County Route 48 from the western edge of Depot Lane to the eastern edge of a private road known as Road B.

BILL SHIPMAN COURTESY PHOTO | Parking associated with County Route 48 nearest Vineyard 48 has resulted in conditions that impact the public health, safety and welfare in the surrounding community, according to the draft law.

Parking on Route 48 nearest Vineyard 48 has created conditions that affect public health, safety and welfare in the surrounding community, according to the draft law. The board believes these conditions have caused undue congestion, restricted on access and maneuverability and had dangerous traffic impacts, according to the draft law.

Accordingly, the town believes it necessary to impose parking and standing limitations to protect the residents of and visitors to the town, restrict the blocking of traffic flow and ensure the orderly use of roads within the town, according the proposal.

“It’s a continual problem,” Horseshoe Drive resident Bill Shipman said. “I do think it’s sad that you have to put a parking restriction on a particular area because a particular business is doing whatever they want.”

Councilman James Dinizo agreed.

“It is very hard for the town to enforce their rules when people want to just avert them knowing full well that we can’t do anything about it on the spot,” he said. “And then you people end up in the hell you’re in right now.”

The new parking restriction proposal was introduced the same day the board passed a controversial special events law, which came in response to residents’ complaints about such events — most notably at Vineyard 48 — and concern about the town’s options in addressing reported code violations.

The Aug. 27 hearing will start at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room.