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Oct 28, 2009 1:07 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town supervisor candidates verbally spar over youth programs, affordable housing in Flanders

Oct 28, 2009 1:07 PM

Neither candidate for Southampton Town supervisor wants to look Flanders, Riverside and Northampton children in the eye and tell them that their youth programs have been cut.

Instead, Republican incumbent Linda Kabot and Democratic challenger Anna Throne-Holst offered different solutions on how to possibly save the programs offered by the town’s Youth Bureau, which is facing deep cuts if the Town Board passes Ms. Kabot’s proposed $78.8 million 2010 budget on November 20.

Ms. Kabot explained during a debate Monday night that was hosted by the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association that surgical cuts must be made to next year’s budget because the town is facing multimillion-dollar deficits. She told the nearly 50 people in attendance at the David W. Crohan Community Center in Flanders that her proposed budget is $4.5 million leaner than the current spending plan.

The Youth Bureau will be hit with a 38 percent reduction in next year’s budget if the town’s spending plan passes as-is. The bureau’s full-time salary line will drop from $245,000 this year to $131,000 next year, while its part-time staff salaries will be reduced from $140,000 this year to $102,000 in 2010.

Fewer staff members mean that the hours at the drop-in centers in Flanders and Southampton, which provide a safe place for kids to hang out after school, may be scaled back. The Youth Bureau stands to lose two full-time workers, a youth counselor and an assistant director if the 2010 budget passes as currently proposed.

Taking an opposite position from her opponent, Ms. Throne-Holst said that restoring Youth Bureau services in Flanders is a priority of hers, adding that she will fight to restore cut funding.

“You have my commitment, like you did last year, to get funding back,” Ms. Throne-Holst said.

She also said that cutting youth programs will only cost the town more in the long run because if children and teenagers do not receive these services, they are more prone to getting involved with crime and drugs.

Even with the necessary cuts to next year’s budget, which also includes 44 layoffs throughout the town, Ms. Kabot said she is still committed to offering youth services in Flanders.

“That commitment will be there,” she said, but added that unless residents wanted their taxes to go up, the town has to scale back on staffing levels.

The town might also have to rely on more volunteers to keep programs running at the Flanders Community Center, which operates as a drop-in center for children, Ms. Kabot said.

The issue of the proposed cuts to the Youth Bureau was raised twice during Monday’s debate, once by FRNCA President Brad Bender, who moderated the debate, and again by 16-year-old Zachery Smith. Zachery, who says he participates in Youth Bureau activities at the Flanders center, said he was worried about the children of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton, and what they would do if certain programs were no longer available. He said that some kids might turn to drugs and crime.

“[These programs] keep kids off the street,” he said. “It worries me. Where are these kids going to go?”

The two supervisor candidates also sparred over affordable housing properties in Flanders. Ms. Throne-Holst said that the hamlet was already saturated with affordable housing units and should not be subject to more.

“You have your fair share,” she said.

Ms. Throne-Holst added that she has applied for grants to turn blighted and foreclosed properties into affordable housing units instead of building new ones.

Suffolk County gave the town about a dozen properties in the community with the stipulation that it build affordable homes on them, Ms. Kabot said. She said the town’s housing authority could build affordable homes rather than rental units.

Both Ms. Kabot and Ms. Throne-Holst claimed to be the fiscally responsible candidate. Ms. Kabot said she has “tirelessly worked” to find solutions to financial problems that were left behind by the previous administration. Ms. Kabot has called for temporarily piercing the town’s 5 percent tax rate cap to pay off old capital fund debts.

“They said they are asking tough questions,” she said, referring to her Democratic opponents, “but we are looking for solutions.”

Ms. Throne-Holst said she feels as if she “live[s] in an altered reality” when she listens to Ms. Kabot’s explanations of the budget. She said there were millions of dollars that were mismanaged and “until we find what that means, I will not pierce the tax rate,” she said.

Republican John McGann and Democrat Alex Gregor, the two candidates looking to succeed outgoing Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Bill Masterson, also debated on Monday night. They verbally sparred over who is more qualified to run the town’s second largest department, and both men accused each other of being politicians and not public servants.

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The political campaign so far has produced many distinguished nominees, but the Selection Committee has now reached agreement on who should receive the Slime Award for the year 2009. The ommittee has voted unanimously to confer the Slime Award on John McGann, Republican cnadidate for Highwa
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on Oct 28, 09 12:42 PM
SORRY, INCOMPLETE COMMENT ABOVE. STARTING OVER: The political campaign so far has produced many distinguished nominees, but the Selection Committee has now reached agreement on who should receive the Slime Award for the year 2009. The Committee has voted unanimously to confer the Slime Award on John McGann, Republican candidate for Highway Superintendent, for his stunningly vicious performance at the October 26 FRNCA debate in Flanders. In closing remarks redolent of the gutter, McGann attacked ...more
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on Oct 28, 09 1:01 PM
Home run, John! Republican John McGann's underhanded back-alley swipe at Alex Gregor is a textbook example of how to take the low road, the kind of creepy-crawly stuff that makes people think all politics is dirty. John, you really give the kids something to look up to, you know what I mean?
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 28, 09 1:21 PM
Vote the rethugs out of office!
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Oct 28, 09 1:32 PM
Is it me or is Linda's hair getting bigger?
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Oct 29, 09 8:23 AM
Ms. Kabot's running mate is Chris Nuzzi. Regrettably, Chris Nuzzi's Sign Dogs are back again, pulling out opposition signs and throwing them in the woods. Even if he didn't start it, Chris Nuzzi can make it stop, and he needs to do that, or we'll all think he's OK with this infantile cheating.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 29, 09 3:10 PM
Regrettably, Sally Pope's Sign Dogs are back again, pulling out opposition signs and throwing them in the woods. Even if she didn't start it, Sally can make it stop, and he needs to do that, or we'll all think she's OK with this infantile cheating.
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Oct 30, 09 12:11 PM
get off the sign bandwagon-signs are stolen every year-its part of the election process
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Oct 30, 09 1:52 PM
Typical SHP....your reporter omitted the fact that Linda Kabot WILL look the kids in the eye and say "times are tough", cut their programs "surgically" and sit on her big fat personal staff of FOUR.
Anna Throne-Holst made a comittment then and there to reduce her staff at least by half in order to restore the Youth Bureau funding.
Not a minor oversight, just typical biased reporting.
By EQme (112), East Quogue on Oct 30, 09 5:00 PM
Sure ath will get rid of lnda staff and bring in her own just like every supervisor.

exactly what cuts has ath made?

the answer is none other than firing the vet tech last year
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Nov 1, 09 4:18 PM
I guess if you don't do any work, who needs a staff. Big talker that ATH how about saying no to the police dept raise 4.5 % and retire some of them who are eligible. That would save probably all the jobs on the lay-off list.
What do you think how would that be for a commitment?
By golfbuddy (180), hampton bays on Oct 30, 09 8:22 PM
Turkey Bridge is posting the same exact statement about lawn signs on every comment section of dozens of articles. Does anyone really think these lawn signs help any of these candidates get elected? Just a waste of money and an eye sore. If there truly are any "sign dogs" out there, as he says, please get rid of the rest of them, including the life size ones that say "vote for me, I'm attractive"!
By hamptons2009 (12), westhampton on Oct 30, 09 11:02 PM
EQme makes a good point about the biased reporting: No mention of ath's specific proposal to cut the supervior's 4 full time staffers (all those job cuts from town hall and not ONE from her own office) which would allow youth services to be funded....guess the Press is too busy worrying about ath's treasurer missing the first filing date....SCANDAL!
By Tim Tanuka (38), Southampton on Oct 31, 09 12:22 PM
thats because ath has made no cuts or offered any ideas
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Nov 1, 09 4:19 PM
And not one mention about the salary increase for the police. They are asking for a 4.5 increase. A zero increase for the police would save a lot of jobs. How could ATH not give the police a raise, she wouldn't want to never be endorsed by them. Any Comments?????
By golfbuddy (180), hampton bays on Oct 31, 09 1:43 PM
Golfbuddy,,,,are you Linda Kabot or her husband? Come on...come clean.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Nov 1, 09 12:17 AM
This comment is typical, you can't and won't respond to my comment because you know I am right. Your candidate ATH has no plan and she has been bought by the pba.
By golfbuddy (180), hampton bays on Nov 1, 09 9:03 AM
It's not a tough call. If Flanders wants youth programs to continue, its residents should vote for Linda Kabot. Anna Throne-Holst proposes decreasing Town employees, (the police department excepted), by 20%. Since the youth programs are ALREADY on the block, how much do you think that you will have to claw back to get the youth programs RE-funded under the ATH austerity program.

You COULD have youth programs continued if the old STPD cops, (27 of them at $3.6M/yr.), retired as they ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 1, 09 1:37 AM
no doubt that if the PBA (as well as the CSEA, the LIBI, enviromental voters forum and all the rest) would have endorsed kabot...she have promptly told them "no thanks, i don't want your endorsements...I happy just with the SHP endorsement, that's the only one that really counts and is genuine."
By Tim Tanuka (38), Southampton on Nov 1, 09 9:21 AM
Heaney had the pba, csea libi etc. Did that help him get elected in 2007? NO.
Some people are for sale and some are not.
By golfbuddy (180), hampton bays on Nov 1, 09 8:17 PM
What's wrong with police officers staying on the job after 20 years? Their experience is invaluable. Being able to retire after 20 does not mean someone has to retire.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Nov 1, 09 10:34 AM
right on EastEnd68.....and what's wrong with the cops making the money they make? anyone who goes to work and could conceivably get killed as part of the job should be able to make as much money as possible.... and to all you morons criticizing the police: next time someone's trying to break into your house or you're in fear for your llife....call someone else
By Tim Tanuka (38), Southampton on Nov 1, 09 3:34 PM
I don't think you understand the Law. Yes they have to retire.
The LAW is the SH police signed on to retire after 20 years of service. It is at the option of the town board to allow them to stay after 20 years or retire them. It is not at the option of the police officers. When they accepted the job this is what they signed on to do.
To say they should be able to make as much money as possible because they could get killed is crazy. How can anyone put a price tag on someone's life. The ...more
By golfbuddy (180), hampton bays on Nov 1, 09 4:28 PM
Linda was not privy to Heaney’s money manipulations. Why would he share his “slum fund" machinations with his competitor for the Super Seat?

I still remember that fat check showing Hamton Bays voters , no fault of their own, receiving Hundreds of Thousands of misappropriated CPF money that belonged to Flanders, et al.

The only problem Ms Kabot has is that she’s a bit too ethical. But, I’ll deal with that conundrum anyday, and so should you all.

Anna is a lightweight ...more
By fazool (22), Southampton on Nov 1, 09 11:01 PM