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Oct 23, 2012 1:40 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

LaValle, Fleming Debate Issues In East Hampton

Oct 23, 2012 4:51 PM

Debating for the second and final time before Election Day, Republican State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and Democratic challenger Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming clashed in East Hampton on Monday evening, focusing in part on campaign finance reform and the state-mandated tax levy cap.

Fielding questions from the audience and the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons, which sponsored the debate, as well as Bryan Boyhan, editor of The Sag Harbor Express, and David Rattray, editor of The East Hampton Star, the candidates addressed an array of topics, from coastal erosion to pension reform. Carol Mellor of the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons moderated.

Ms. Fleming repeated criticisms of the senator’s spending record, again accusing him of allocating $140,000 of taxpayer money to fund campaign-style mailers, which she displayed for the roughly 30 community members in attendance.

In response to a question about the need for more disclosure in campaign financing, Mr. LaValle said he supported such reform on the state level but opposed the overturning of the U.S. Supreme Court decision from two years ago asserting that corporations and unions have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money when supporting or criticizing candidates.

“I think, in some way, we have to take a look at that, but the court has spoken and I don’t believe that you can selectively say, ‘You know, I don’t like this Supreme Court decision, so we’re going to try to overturn that, but I like that one,’” he said. Mr. LaValle then added that federal lawmakers need to find a way to regulate Political Action Committees, or Super PACs.

Ms. Fleming, who has sponsored a resolution currently before the Southampton Town Board in favor of a constitutional amendment establishing that corporations are not entitled to the same rights as individuals, took the opposite stance. “When something is so destructive of the very fabric of the democratic process as the influx of unlimited undisclosed spending, we have to take action,” she said.

Mr. Rattray asked whether the candidates felt the tax cap was sustainable and fair, given the fact that municipalities can pierce it with a favorable vote from 60 percent of their boards, which he pointed out was easier to obtain than 60 percent approval of taxpayers when a school district opts to pierce the cap.

Mr. LaValle stood by his vote in favor of the tax levy cap, and said schools need to look toward consolidating and sharing services in order to save money. He said he has encouraged local school districts, most recently Tuckahoe and Southampton, to consider such a merger. The senator also stressed the importance of mandate relief, such as the state takeover of Suffolk County’s medicaid expenses.

When Mr. LaValle pressed her late in the debate, Ms. Fleming said she would have voted in favor of the cap only if it was accompanied by stronger mandate relief for school districts. She disputed that it allows towns to more easily avoid cuts, and said that the cap puts pressure and the burden on individual town board members. “I can tell you that there is a great deal of discomfort around the idea of even getting close to the cap,” Ms. Fleming said.

She was more cautious on the topic of consolidating school districts and said the State Legislature needs to create some type of incentive to encourage schools to merge or share services.

Both candidates agreed that pension reform would reduce the burden placed on school districts. Mr. LaValle touted his vote in favor of Tier 6 pension plan—legislation that Ms. Fleming said she was not fully familiar with when Mr. LaValle again pressed her on what her vote would have been. Under the new plan, state employees, including teachers, hired after April 1, 2012, will have to contribute more money to their health benefits and see a reduction in their pensions. Tier 6 also raises the retirement age from between 55 and 62 to 63.

Nearing the end of the debate, Mr. Rattray asked the candidates to address what he called the “600-pound gorilla in the room”: the role of the state in controlling coastal erosion and rising sea levels. Neither candidate offered a clear response.

Mr. LaValle said the issue is something he has been working on alongside State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and criticized the Long Island Power Authority for not being more proactive in establishing renewable energy sources to curb global warming.

Ms. Fleming spoke briefly about the importance of local waterways to the East End economy, and said she was undecided on a $24 million beach rebuilding project before the Southampton Town Board.

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How can you run for the senate and not know about Tier 6? How can you be a town councilwoman and not know about tier 6? Seriously.
By FredShart (19), Suffolk on Oct 23, 12 6:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Believe me I think Ken Lavalle needs to be replaced or retire. But Bridget Fleming just showed me how little she knows. Listen to her Gibberish at a town board meeting and she will say she knows everything because she is a lawyer. She is a nice lady but like most lawyers she will bs her way through life
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 23, 12 6:51 PM
RE: $24 million beach rebuilding project before the Southampton Town Board.
Bridget has not made up her mind yet because Anna Throne-Holst has not told her how to vote yet. She just votes in lock step with ATH and always has.
She is a wind bag and does has a good line of bs.
Whoever said this woman is good looking needs an eye exam.
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Oct 23, 12 8:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
I need an eye exam, I need an eye exam...
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Oct 23, 12 9:49 PM
Fred, I don't know if you were at the debate, but I was, and Bridget Fleming never said she didn't "know about" Tier 6, as you allege. She said, responsibly and honestly, that she hadn't fully worked out the consequences of the legislation, which is a different thing entirely.

Chief, I go to almost all the Town Board meetings, and to call Bridget Fleming's comments "Gibberish" is more than a bit much. You and others may disagree with her remarks, but I don't think you'd find much company ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 24, 12 10:56 AM
There you go again, George. Read the article.

I quote: Mr. LaValle touted his vote in favor of Tier 6 pension plan—legislation that Ms. Fleming said she was not fully familiar with ..."

By FredShart (19), Suffolk on Oct 24, 12 12:03 PM
Quote all you like, Fred. Carol hasn't got the context that Bridget stated. That doesn't make Carol's report wrong, it's just that she left the door open for a spinner like yourself to do your tiresome thing.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 24, 12 12:14 PM
Please save the BS about Fleming. When her economic plan is too make a farmers market in Flanders that no one attends, and no farms exist. I have too wonder what is swirling in her brain. I have been too meeting too and she said she knows budgets because she is an attorney and makes her an expert on budgets. She didn't know what tier 6 is so get a grip.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 24, 12 2:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
George aka Turkey Bridge and you lines are very different from what Fleming said. You say Bridget and others have reservations putting public money into moving sand that will go away again in a short time, as it always does.

Bridget said:
“I have not decided how I am going to vote on that because it is very important to save our beaches,” she said, “but it’s also very important not to spend millions and millions of dollars on something that there’s no ...more
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Oct 24, 12 8:02 PM
@Reg Rep. Have to disagree with your closing remark. To my mind George Lynch aka Turkey Bridge aka Clam Pie aka who the heck knows has about as much credibility in his comments as Mitt Romney has in his, to with: zero. Neither of them would appear to have the faintest idea of what a fact is. The only distinction between the two is that Mitt doesn't chose to comment on this site.

@to all - Don't neglect Election Day please vote for the candidate(s) of your choice.

It may be ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Oct 24, 12 11:42 PM
N Tiger very surprised you would be voting for Obama even if you are a democrat. He has credibility? He has done in office what he said he would 4 years ago. Was the Libya attack about the video? Shocking for a smart man like you.
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Oct 25, 12 9:38 PM
First I may simply not be a smart man.

Why Obama over Romney for me, First the matter of who gets to appoint Federal District Court, Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court judges and justices. It is those in the black robes who are the ultimate arbiters of our fate as individuals and as a nation. Life tenures give those women and men decades to craft our course. No question in my mind that Obama's choices would be closer philosophically to my own than Romneys.

Second the concerted ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Oct 26, 12 8:56 PM
Obama said he would cut the defecit in half, and cut unemployment. He did neither we are still over 15% unemployed and under employed. a disaster of a prez.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 27, 12 4:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
You neglect to consider that at that time he said that he was unaware of exactly how dire the economic conditions created by the Bush (yes and Clinton) deregulation policies was. Nor did he contemplate that the Republican members of the Senate and House would put their party above their nation. (yes we can argue that one for a long time) We could also argue whether the recovery would have been faster had the Republicans agreed to the full recovery plan Obama tried unsuccessfully to implement, likewise ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Oct 27, 12 5:21 PM
Obama had a very comfortable democrat majority in his first 2 years in office. What crap this is blaming the rep in the house.
If Obama is a one term president its his own fault.
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Oct 27, 12 8:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
Actually while he had a comfortable majority in the House, the same was not true in the Senate. At best with the switch from Pa. he had in the Dem caucus, but that did not always translate into 60 votes. Unlike the Republican caucus which voted pretty much in lockstep a good number of the 60 in the Dem caucus didn't as they say always toe the party line. If 51 votes had been an actually majority what you write would have been true, but that is not the case these days, it takes 60 votes. The new ...more
Oct 27, 12 10:20 PM appended by NTiger
BTW in case you don't know the author of my edited quote, we liked to call him AuH2O and he was also a Barry.
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Oct 27, 12 10:20 PM
As usuual another person whose beliefs are based on what the liberal media feeds them. Obama may have accidently been in office when Bin laden was taken down, but he had three previous opportunities that never were acted upon in time due to his indecisiveness. The only two area that really matter inm this election are the economy and forign policy. Why do liberals keep bring up gay tights and womaen's rights? While those area may be important to some, they shouldn't even factor in the direction ...more
By Walt (292), Southampton on Nov 2, 12 3:38 PM
First of all I don't rely on the "liberal media". I read a cross section including the natioanl review and sift through the bs on both sides to attempt to arrive at some truth. Hopefully you get your info from more than Rubert Murdoch's media and entertainment empire. Seems to me Pres Bush Had 8 years of not findi g Bin Laden. Give Obama credit where he has earned it.

Secondly if you read my pists you might have concluded my libertarian streak puts me closer to Rep. Ron Paul.

So ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Nov 4, 12 7:35 PM
NTiger thank you for taking the time to detail your perspective. What is disturbing to me is your statement that Libya is a non-issue to you. I heard someone else say that as well, can't recall where I heard that. I'm sure this was NOT a non-issue for the families of those 4 men that were killed. Those navy seals were hero's trying to protect the ambassador. Obama got lucky that Bin Laden was taken out on his watch. He brags about it all the time on the campaign trail, the navy seals should be ...more
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Oct 27, 12 1:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
NTiger, even though I agree with 80-90% of what you've said on national issues, I have to say, from a personal and stylistic viewpoint, that you and reg rep deserve each other. Enjoy.

Now then, back to business: In all the many times you've criticized my posts, I think you've always had the intellectual honesty to specify exactly what it was that caused you to to take objection, and exactly why, usually at length and in detail.

This time, not so much. Uncharacteristically, you've ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 27, 12 1:52 PM
George, I have warned you for gosh darn near 2 years that you fill your posts with sound bites, opinion stated as fact, propaganda and spins and doing so damages your credibility. Yet you persisted. Unfortunately, that leaves you, in my mind, a political chicken little. Just can't tell when you are being factually accurate and not worth the effort to determine the validity of anything you write.

To borrow a sound bite from StarKist Tuna commercials of old, "Sorry, George".

My ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Oct 27, 12 5:35 PM
All of which tells me you have nothing substantive to say, no real objection to my post. No surprise there.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 28, 12 9:19 AM
George, I suggest you reread the second sentence of my third paragraph.

You do know how to read, don't you George? Your hypersensitivity to my comments is something you might wish to to work on.

Weather the storm well, my friend, and try to work on not overreacting to my posts. It is not very becoming of an officer of the Southampton Democratic Committee.
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Oct 28, 12 10:55 AM
Nice words all around, Mr. Tiger. As a voter from the right, I too am voting for President Obama, and Senator LaValle. For the President for the same reasons of which you speak (judicial appointments and individual rights) I am NOT casting a vote for the 1st CD. Randy is among the worst is what politics has to offer. He tried to buy a seat in Jersey against a popular incumbent. When the State Party said no , he moved to St James to buy this seat. His money has turned local party leaders into whores ...more
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Oct 28, 12 11:14 AM
It is ridiculous that most Democrats think that most Republicans agree with the far right. We need in this country someone who is able to move more to the center, which is where most Americans are. Romney can (and I believe will) move more to the center to reflect where most Americans are. Obama is so left that if given another 4 years, he will move off the field entirely. I am voting for Mitt Romney because we need someone in the White House who knows how to attract businesses to the US and ...more
By Leon789 (50), westhampton on Oct 31, 12 3:33 PM
Leon, sorry, Obama is much closer to centrism than Romney. Obama has continued the centrist traditions started by FDR. Romney now spouts the extremist Tea Party issues. If you prefer the Romney economic model, thats your perogative, but let us stop the left wing radical Obama bs, it is simply not true. It is big business versus the middle class. Romney favors big business, Obama the middle class. Govermental regulation versus let business regulate itself. Unfortunately business, historically ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Nov 1, 12 8:29 AM
Relavent dicussion on why obama is the man still going on at

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By local 84 (353), riverhead on Nov 1, 12 9:35 PM