Forward-Looking Planning & Action

Southold Town will always face issues and challenges – we always have and we always will. The biggest difference [between me and Mr. Russell] is how we handle them. I believe that through thoughtful forward-looking planning, rooted in collaboration and openness, we can address anything that comes our way and make intelligent decisions to get us the future we all want and deserve. 

 

I believe that we can’t just keep looking back where we’ve been, we need to look forward to get us where we want to go. Our heritage is important but it’s not the whole story. We need to become who we want to be – again and again. 

 

Southold Town needs forward looking leadership. Now is the time for new energy with innovative thinking – for leadership with real world experience and the business acumen to guide our community.

 

We’re at a crossroads in a time of change. Though we can’t predict our future we can create it and stay ahead of the curve by taking timely action.

 

We Can Do Better – WE MUST

For Our Environment

I believe we need to acknowledge the urgency of the environmental threats facing Southold Town, and in particular the imminent threats to our surface and ground water. I will initiate action on these environmental changes before they overwhelm us.

 

As Supervisor, I will:

 

Confront environmental change

This administration is taking a dangerous wait-and-see approach to addressing the effects of climate change, as it has with so many of the issues facing Southold Town. This is unacceptable. We need to mandate action on emissions and erosion before it’s too late. Town government must lead on these town-wide issues. 

 

Implement meaningful solar & wind programs 

While solar panels were recently installed on the Animal Shelter for its use, we need a real commitment to solar and wind power on a much wider scale. Both East Hampton and Smithtown recently built large solar farms at their old landfills, while the top of our capped landfill still sits empty, covered with weeds.  The State is currently providing assistance and funding to such programs in other communities, so this administration’s failure to pursue alternate power programs is a missed financial and environmental opportunity. 

 

Protect and preserve surface and ground water

Nitrogen pollution, emanating from cesspools and septic systems, from yards and lawns, farms and roads, is the biggest environmental threat facing Southold. Nitrogen is an ongoing and urgent threat to our drinking water, to the aquaculture and fishing industries, and to our recreational use of water. We must set a timeline mandating the use of Innovative and Alternative Wastewater Treatment Systems. We can promote the use of these systems by using a small portion of local Community Preservation Funds to provide grants, loans and other incentives.  These could bridge the funding gap after County and State money is applied. 

 

Set emissions goals

Southold Town is one of the only two Long Island Towns that hasn’t signed on to New York State’s Climate Smart Communities Program! We are also one of the few that doesn’t have net neutral carbon emissions goals. We must plan and act to reduce destructive carbon emissions. These emissions create unhealthy air, even in our rural location!

 

Develop a sustainability action plan 

A comprehensive strategy - that starts with collecting information from other East End towns and from experts - must be undertaken immediately, to address the threats and unique vulnerabilities facing our land, water, air, and ecosystem. Focusing only on land preservation is not strategic and does not address the multiple issues facing our community – the current administration doesn’t see this. Land preservation is a broad and necessary building block of environmental conservation, but it is not a substitute for other actions.

For Small Business 

These businesses create jobs, pay taxes, serve our community, breathe life into and strengthen our town. This benefits us all as does support for small manufacturing efforts and farming.  The Town code needs to be modernized and tightened to accomplish these goals; we must look forward, not back.  We must promote a mindset of collaboration between our citizens and their government.

 

As Supervisor, I will:

 

Promote responsible growth

Looking at the seven-years-empty Capital One headquarters on the Main Road in Mattituck, it’s clear that this administration doesn’t take responsibility for the overall economic health of the Town or the 150 people that lost their jobs there. There is no plan to promote economic growth through the creative reuse of such existing buildings. The land was cleared of trees a long time ago, it was paved for parking, the building was constructed.  Now it and other such buildings are a missed opportunity in our Town.  The passive act of waiting for a tenant to appear is not a strategy for keeping the town on an even keel - certainly it’s not a way to assure jobs and healthy growth. I believe we need to look into partnering with owners in productive public/private initiatives 

 

Encourage innovation

Food processing/production businesses and farming (on both land and in our creeks and bays) are among the many businesses that hold great promise. These possibilities are just waiting to be unleashed by a supportive government partner. Traveling around the country, I’ve seen the way that business incubators support and accelerate job creation. Too often this administration blocks innovation rather than facilitating it.

 

Support job creation

Without workforce and middle-class housing job creation is impossible. If people don’t have a place to live, no job will be attractive enough. The average housing price in Southold Town is beyond the reach of the average Southolder. This has grown into a full-blown crisis. Our local government must commit to a more pro-active program of unraveling the lack of middle-class housing. Note that not one unit of workforce housing has been created in the last ten years, until recently.  Government support of prospective and existing entrepreneurs will grow jobs too. 

 

Keep farmers in farming

Farmers need to be successful businesses to keep producing a stream of local food.  Farming is in Southold’s DNA and it’s vital to preserving the future of our home. Opportunities for farmers to sell what they grow, either fresh or processed, is key to their financial sustainability. Agricultural processing regulations have only recently been passed after 4 years of industry pressure. The important aquaculture/mariculture update has, similarly, been languishing for 6 years. 

For YOU 

Southold Town is your town. You need a government that works for you – that gets results to match the scale of the challenges and changes coming our way. On far too many issues this administration points fingers or proposes gimmicks instead of offering real solutions. 

 

As Supervisor, I will:

 

Run government as an accountable business 

Results matter! Far too often the results from this administration’s efforts are half-hearted. As a Town, we can’t just turn our back on the problems, hoping they will resolve themselves while standing passively on the sidelines. Governing requires active stewardship. 

 

Strengthen the commercial tax base

The more money that comes from commercial entities, the less money the government needs from residents. It’s that simple. Supporting small businesses strengthens our commercial tax base and takes pressure off residents. 

 

Retain and attract young families

The 2 biggest factors pushing young people from our community is the lack of housing opportunities and the dearth of good paying jobs. This administration isn’t promoting policies that give people a sense of optimism on the future of Southold.  

 

Control short-term rentals

Businesses like Airbnb have innovated in our territory, we need to innovate back!  Out of control short-term rentals destroy our valuable sense of community.  By passing an unenforceable rule banning rentals shorter than two weeks, current elected officials have done nothing to cure the problem.  In reality, short-term rentals have been increasing, according to Newsday.  We need more ideas, more input from other resort towns and more effective regulations.

 

Write clear, enforceable Town code

Far too often this administration rewrites the town code without careful consideration of unintended consequences. Multiple loopholes prevail and the rules sometimes have no effective means of enforcement. 

 

Develop sustainable deer and tick solutions

This administration has not come even one tiny step closer to solving the deer and tick problem. This problem is literally making us sick. Less than ten percent of the deer population has been culled in the last few years.  The current town administration blames the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  What don’t we know?  To solve this problem, we need real action, with real goals and guidelines for judging our success or failure, not excuses.

 

Engineer an intelligent traffic plan

Suggesting bike lanes to use as seasonal traffic lanes is a gimmick, not a solution. It also sends the wrong message when our elected officials try to make an end-run around the law to get a desired result.  Pointing fingers and focusing blame on local business owners, other municipalities, the State of New York, or others is useless unless they are coupled with real solutions. We need a multi-modal transportation plan to not just address seasonal traffic problems but to meet the needs of our community. 

 

Implement 8-year Supervisor Term Limits

Stale government isn’t working for the people of Southold Town. Results matter. It’s time to thank Mr. Russell for his 29 years in elected office and his 14 years as Supervisor. 

 

It’s time to turn the page.