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257 Comments by Rickenbacker

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Thiele: Governor's Proposed State Aid Package Could Shortchange Three East End Schools

$35,000 per student? Some districts are in this range, Southampton, Tuckahoe, Springs, East Hampton, Sag Harbor. Others are not: Sagaponack (over $40k), Montauk (over $58k), Bridgehampton (over $60k), Amagansett (over $75k), and last but not at all least, Wainscott (over $100k). How could this be? Because all these tiny districts shouldn't exist, and the money could be better used for smaller more efficient districts. Why do they stay this way? Because there are little tax havens within the towns, where your property taxes are tiny (Bridgehampton), or huge (Tuckahoe), depending on what corner of the towns you live in. Dirty little secret, this. " Jan 27, 17 1:17 PM

Schneiderman Skeptical On Approval Of Tuckahoe Center Proposal

Hello. CR39 only goes from the east of the canal (the north hwy) to the intersection at Flying Point Rd. So, frankly, no one west really has a "stakehold" in it. In no way would it minimize village business. Might it take some business away from the village S&S, sure. But since the village is primarily clothing, jewelry, local restaurants and home goods, this supermarket isn't going to hurt the village at all. That's just more spin. " Jan 27, 17 2:27 PM

Ok, like you then, I guess I have no life for posting passionately in this comments section. We may be very alike in this regard. I have mentioned that in posts before that my prime reason for being all over this was to call BS on the exaggerations, distortions, and downright lies posted by opponents on this project, exposing, to use your word, the "myopic", NIMBY-esque, and backwards-looking mndsets regarding what is needed for our communities to evolve in this town.

You have represented your position better than most but it has been clear to me that the practical reality of the Town you claim to want to protect is fast moving beyond you. However, even as I write that, I am also cognizant of that old-guard way of thinking, one that still that has potent political power in this town which many times warps reality in order to kill good ideas in a way that we always feel we are going be maching in place to some old drumbeat of how things were in 1980.

There is growing anger amongst opponents on this particular project that bears this out, an appalled self righteous indignation whose foundation in its position is not the merited debate of relative pros and cons of the issue, but the slinging of any anti-fact that can be thrown against the wall to offset actual facts that might support (or not support) the effort. Because in this case, for opponents, facts, studies, planning, don't matter, only the relentles, and in my opinion, mindless insistence that we keep things as they are even when it means we ignore the realities of ongoing change in the town.

You just did it when you responded to my post. June Bug tried to claim CR 39 went west all the way to the west end of town. The fact is that CR39 starts at the east side of the canal and ends by the Princess diner. June Bug was attempting to use an anti-fact about the road to defend western civics from hsving a "stakehold". I pointed out the "fact" that CR39 doent go west beyond the canal and then YOU tried to make an issue of that because it is a "county" road. That is beside the point.

I expect you won't get this - you are too locked into your bubble, but I will continue to post on the project to defend the facts as facts and to call BS on attempts to undermine them with lies passing off as facts. I dont subscribe to this aging political viewpoint that the Village needs to be the center of everything and that traffic is the only thing you can use as a club to beat down otherwise good planning ideas. The Tuckahoe Center is still the best idea Ive seen for CR39, and I willl feel this way regardless of the outcome at the town board.
" Jan 28, 17 1:34 PM

Mr. Lynch/Turkey Bridge, Funny, then, isn’t it, that when "walloping great glob(s) of condescension" are heaped on by opponents when supporters point out actual facts, the primary retorts that you and they rely on are to 1, discredit the poster, 2, assume the poster is on the take, 3., twist the poster’s facts in a way that it seems not to be a fact. You just did these things in your last posts to me. Notice that I haven’t done that to you. All of those tactics, however, don’t work, and are seen by people who take this application seriously, as a desperate attempt to change the narrative in a way that tries to amp up fear and loathing while at the same time avoiding the reality of the situation.

And this Turkey Bridge, is where you do go off the rails. Your opponent associates, let’s say Nancy McGann and the mayor, The Southampton Association, the Group for the East End, Susan Van Olst, and the resident
Lunatic (you know who you are), have all come out in recent weeks with paid advertising or blast emails stating that Tuckahoe Center will cause the “degradation of Village business center, more empty mom & pop stores”, called it “precedent-setting”, an “enormous shopping center”, a “320,000 square ft commercial development”. Every single point there put out by these groups is a gross distortion or just a LIE. Your last post indicates that these false ideas are not important to opponents, that "TC's demographic isn't the one to which these other businesses cater”. You are absolutely correct, the reality is that the village will not be hurt at all by this development, which I and others have been saying for years now. The so-called damage to the Village is both paranoid and unfounded. I’ve discounted this argument from the beginning.

In your own posts above, you use the words “destroy”, “destruction”, “disaster” frequently, and that is part of of the sword of damocles line of reasoning that opponents like to trot out in face of actual scientific studies and planning votes that say otherwise. But let me address your particular point. I do understand what you are contending, that this relatively small neighborhood shopping center will be like a gateway drug to larger and more massive 100,000+ shopping centers like you’ve seen in HB and or in BH, and that if we do this it will probably eventually lend itself to 500,000+ sq ft shopping centers, the expansion of Montauk Hwy, and, frankly, the ruin of all East End civilization. I empathize with this point of view because I wouldn’t want to see that either. But that’s far too much to put on a modest shopping center which seeks to clean up a blighted part of the entrance to Southampton with something that can be utilized by the whole community in the area it serves. A development that meets every need of 21st century planning in the Town and County. A development that every study and report has concluded is very much in demand. First time and second homeowners, working families, and the underprivileged in the area will be served by the Tuckahoe Center. None of what you anticipate is likely to happen. Why? There is no precedent-setting, a shopping center here does not make other ones more likely, in fact it makes them less likely. In addition, CR39 cannot support more than one shopping center like this, and there is no compelling reason that any other developer could even convince a future town board to consider one. The road itself can never look like Rt58 because there is not enough land on either side of the roadway to build something like that. In fact CR39 is already built-out in most places. So, that line of reasoning is just morbid fantasy.

The biggest problem I have with your overall argument, though, is that it seems ok with you that under current zoning we can keep on building houses, absolutely build-out the market area but at the same time claim there is no concomitant need…EVER... to support the actual existence of it with the simple addition of a grocery store center. It’s ok for more an unlimited amount of luxury car dealerships ad nauseum, but not ok for this modest infrastructure improvement. It doesn’t make any sense. 20 years from now, there will not be LESS people here, and I suspect, 50 years from now, our natural beauty will still be our biggest attraction.

Let’s end this thing on CR39. It is a fact that CR39 is a roadway that starts at the canal from the west, and ends at Flying Point Rd on the east. That’s all I am saying. June Bug tried to say it was a longer road than that in order to encompass other “stakeholders”. I have no issue with people west or east of the market area having an opinion, but to say they are stakeholders in the market area stretches the truth. The people who live in the market area are the most served and the most affected, and they have come out in overwhelming support over 5 of the 6 public hearings, have written hundreds of letters (as have opponents). The aging cranky naysayers (and that’s essentially my observation after 6 public hearings, and from reading the Lunatic’s many letters to the editor), just don’t match up to the many, many locals that believe this center will be good for their community.
" Jan 28, 17 5:46 PM

Hey George, look at david h's post, see what I mean about the gateway drug phenomenon? Not based in any reality, just a bad trip down a rabbit hole of unlikely scenarios." Jan 28, 17 5:48 PM

That's not true either." Jan 28, 17 7:48 PM

Three East End Schools Listed This Week By State Comptroller As Being In 'Fiscal Stress'

Excuse me for re-quoting my own comment from another school story, which was quickly shuttled off this site's homepage:

$35,000 per student? Some districts are in this range, Southampton, Tuckahoe, Springs, East Hampton, Sag Harbor. Others are not: Sagaponack (over $40k), Montauk (over $58k), Bridgehampton (over $60k), Amagansett (over $75k), and last but not at all least, Wainscott (over $100k). How could this be? Because all these tiny districts shouldn't exist, and the money could be better used for smaller more efficient districts. Why do they stay this way? Because there are little tax havens within the towns, where your property taxes are tiny (Bridgehampton), or huge (Tuckahoe), depending on what corner of the towns you live in.

The failed Southampton/Tuckahoe merger anticipated that Southampton would eventually run into financial trouble in its own. Here is the tip of the iceberg. Thank you Southampton Association!

Dirty little secret, this. " Jan 28, 17 8:01 PM

The real problem is we have too many school districts for the students that attend them. There are 10 east of the canal alone. Some of those, like Sagaponack and Wainscott, while quaint, end up sucking money that could be used to help make bigger districts more efficient. It is a terrible, balkanized system, with feeder districts that have outlived their time. It doesn't help students in districts forced to make educational program cuts in order to meet the tax cap.

Less districts also means less superintendants, less business managers, less directors of special ed, which are not luxuries dreamed up by the districts but state and federally mandates.

Fred Thiele made a big issue out of creating a centralized district 2 years ago, when Tuckahoe and East Quogue especially were looking for solutions. Nothing has happened on that issue as far as I know. " Jan 29, 17 1:03 PM

Schneiderman Skeptical On Approval Of Tuckahoe Center Proposal

Agree wholeheartedly!" Jan 29, 17 1:05 PM

Residents Want Hampton Bays Business District To Have 'Small-Town Charm,' Survey Finds

HB Proud, I don't understand your contention. All communities, except 55+ and over specialized communities have children. Maybe you once raised children somewhere, maybe even in HB? When you have or did, or whether you were never in a position to, you cannot rant against school children, since this is what makes the community a community. It's not about the taxes. You can argue about tax rates, and then I'd suggest you are in a larger discussion about the fact that there are way too many small districts forcing local homeowners to foot bigger and bigger school tax bills when the answer is larger and more efficient schools that bring the tax burden down or at the very least spread it out more evenly.

You are correct that HB taxes are high, but so are Tuckahoe's, and others. Look to Bridgehampton, where under 2000 are enrolled, or Sagaponack and Wainscott, where less than 20 students are enrolled, and look at their tax rates.

HB gets penalized because it does not have the estate sections of some of the other locales, and as such, is under far more strain the districts there. However, Southampton, is now under a fiscal stress watch list, and that is now directly attributable to what was predicted when the Southampton/Tuckahoe merger failed. And why did it fail? Because of an organized group called the Southampton Association, whose only mission it seems is to be a tax hawk, and say the very same thing you are stating.

Let's think larger and about the children in our communities, and less about your pocketbook. The only way to make these districts more efficient is to merge them. Let's start that discussion asap. " Jan 29, 17 1:18 PM

BH has less than 200 students, sorry, typo. " Jan 29, 17 1:19 PM

I don't disagree with you at all. But it's not the kids, it's the dysfunctional school district taxing system. While you are paying $13.00+ per $1,000 valuation, Sagaponack district taxpayers, the wealthiest village on the South fork, and maybe the country, pay a tiny fraction of that. I agree that HB is in a tough spot, and it isn't fair, but it isn't the kids or the school's fault. It is however, a larger Town-wide problem, and while some politicians as you say, throw you a bone, nothing seems to get done about it.

Maybe we can focus the attention on the district taxing system, the essentially gerrymandering of tax havens that allow wealthy communities to pay far less (in Sagaponack's case, for 15 students in a one-room school house), while working family communities, like HB, get stuck in a squeeze. " Jan 29, 17 7:10 PM

Three East End Schools Listed This Week By State Comptroller As Being In 'Fiscal Stress'

That's a big, racist, conspiracy-theory-laced bundle of garbage you just said there. Someone ought to mark it "inappropriate", but I sort of like you hanging by your own username, as it projects what I think about your statement even better." Jan 30, 17 1:57 PM

Schneiderman Skeptical On Approval Of Tuckahoe Center Proposal

I don't have anything else to add to my statements above, other than to say if you think this little development is the "end", then you need to check your own delusion. There is no factual basis on which you can make your claim. Name one place where the data shows that what you contend will be "the end" will actually occur.

Why isn't "Pumpkintown" the end then, considering that has more high-traffic trip generation than anything along RT27 other than maybe BH Commons? Is that part of the rural character? What is your definition of rural character anyway? Does it involve, like, maybe one farm field? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on that one, that one single farm field might define a place that could still be viewed as rural, right?.

Except that Tuckahoe sold off its last remaining farm field 2 years ago, which is now approved for a 28-home subdivision. Where is that located? On South Magee St, right down the street from... drum roll please...the Tuckahoe Center.

Your stakeholder scope is really silly. By that argument, we also both have a stake in the Verrazano Bridge because we might use it once in a while. But I think that's a little different, don't you? By what degree do you measure a stakeholder? I measure by the market area, personally, and if you want to claim the whole South Fork, that's your right. But I don't subscribe to that way of thinking with regard to who will be the most served or impacted by this development.

And while we are on the subject of suburbanization, by what standard do you use this term? You know already this is not a 20th century shopping center design, and it isn't big enough to be legitimately considered a mall. It's not inventing something new either. It's simply answering a demand that exists in the most intelligent way, and which has been projected to not only meet the existing demand, but will still leave enough demand that the other supermarkets won't be affected in any tangible way.

You don't live in the country, George, I guess that's what I'm trying to reveal to you. This may be your Matrix moment. There may still be Main streets, farmstands, natural beauty, and hopefully there always will be as preservation efforts are strong here, but while the area isn't suburban per se, it certainly isn't country, either. We have some hybrid of country rural, suburb and urban in our lives here, from farm fields to $95/sq ft rentals on Main St, to Kmart and Michael Kors.

And you believe I need to get over myself? Sheesh!" Jan 30, 17 3:19 PM

Residents Want Hampton Bays Business District To Have 'Small-Town Charm,' Survey Finds

I think you are hitting a good point here, but maybe not the way you meant it. The local schools are so small, that even though costs seem fixed, the overall cost of doing business as a school district in the county is actually higher than any school locally can efficiently meet. To your point, here are some relative costs per student east of the canal (sorry, I don't have the others at hand, and these numbers are approximate and are now a few years old): East Hampton, $33,000, Tuckahoe, $35,000, Springs, $35,000, Southampton, $36,000, Sag Harbor, $36,000, Sagaponack, $41,000, Montauk, $58,000, Bridgehampton, $61,000, Amagansett, $77,000, Wainscott, $112,000. The county average is $25,000, the national average more like $15,000. The data suggests that the optimal size district in the county, given normal expenses, is roughly a student body of 6,000 students, which is a good sized district, but one able to meet the cost per student norm. Go smaller and things go up, unless your district is very efficient-running, like Tuckahoe, Springs, and maybe HB if you contend that is so. The entire South Fork, from Westhampton to Montauk comprises about 6,000 students.

The problem I see is that the cost bar for a minimally efficient school district in the county is much higher than what these small districts can deal with, and unless you have a big estate area to milk for the overage, you are out of luck and necessarily have to bilk the local average homeowner to meet the demands of today's educational system through significantly large school tax rates (hello Hampton Bays, Tuckahoe, Springs). It's not that the system inherently doesn't work, but it's like an undercapitalized company that can't possibly collect enough cash to maintain the operations. The only answer to this initially was to try to trim waste on one hand or tax the district taxpayers on the other, and the people have over time resisted the former while the state has now capped the latter. The only solution it seems to me is to realistically look at merging districts into larger entities to serve more students at more efficient cost (which has been the state's preferred solution). We came ever so close with the Southampton/Tuckahoe merger, but local activists, most depressingly by the Southampton Association, a tax hawk, that undermined their own constituents best interests, helped derail the last attempt.

So, you are correct in saying that costs would be fixed if there only 5 students in a given district, but the real question we should be asking, is what number of students and what tax base is necessary to operate a viable school district today, and into the foreseeable future? Southampton has nearly 2,000 students, but was just placed on the state's fiscal stress watch list. Since it is one of the largest on the East End, it should send a chill down every school board member's spine. These schools are too small to efficiently operate. It's not the fault of administrators, teachers, or the amount of children in a community, it is the fact that the tax district setup that was created well over a century ago is now antiquated and dysfunctional and no longer serves the needs of the public, unless, of course, if you happen to live in a district where school taxes are artificially low. And change can only happen when we address that dirty little secret head on." Jan 30, 17 4:03 PM

Even if they were consolidated into 3 or 4 districts, it would be far better than the 14 or so districts now. BH just voted themselves a $25 million bond for expansion (they have less than 200 students), Sag Harbor voted to take over the Stella Maris buildings (counting on leases to support them), so the library wanting $10 million is not surprising, but still, like the others, crazy town. I'll fight for h*** to freeze over if it meant making significant changes to the way the school district taxes are allocated. " Jan 30, 17 8:38 PM

Three East End Schools Listed This Week By State Comptroller As Being In 'Fiscal Stress'

I can't believe June Bug and I agree on something, but there it is. " Jan 30, 17 8:41 PM

Southampton Town Board Members Agree: Tuckahoe Center Not Likely To Be Approved

Dear Town Board: if you are just politically too weak to separate fact from fiction, then listen to your own quotes above: if you believe in fairytales and spin, then ignore the traffic studies, one of which YOU paid for. If not, then think about what you are saying, because it sounds to me that, for the next generation or two, you would NEVER approve anything on CR39, since anything in the future that can be viably developed will inherently be additive to traffic. The grocery store is not additive (which is why the traffic studies were done and which both say the center will be reductive for traffic), since we all are grocery shoppers somewhere, we aren't making more of them. But to ignore good planning, and say that you are not going to approve it because you are unsure of yourselves because of the "fear" of traffic, is not a solid place to make a decision.

You will, in essence, be setting a precedent for no-development, for good ideas, bad ideas, and just so-so ideas, because you will get a fight about traffic every time. That will make those opponents who, from the beginning, are not against this development alone, but are against all development along this corridor, very happy, but it then becomes a planning tool for the ignorant and mis-informed. If opponents know they can invoke the nuclear option and always cry "traffic, traffic, traffic" (Marsha, marsha, marsha), then you won't ever be able to separate the good development ideas from the bad. They will just look all bad, and you will have not served your constituents or the Town very well, only those cranky people who never want anything developed. Then you would simply be a shill for a point of view that is not fully represented by the majority of the town residents or others who utilize our area for living, work and recreation. " Feb 1, 17 11:30 AM

Ok, let's go with your metaphor, and add that all the building density and continued residential building is like a chain smoker who refuses to give up. No matter what you do with the arteries, the patient is going to continue to suffer from his own bad behavior. The Tuckahoe Center may be more like a pacemaker, and until we can expand the roadway (which you cannot do with an person's artery), or find ways to manage the bloodflow, waiting and doing nothing until such time as the patient wises up, is a futile goal.

We should approve this center on the science that is before us, not drink the Kool-Aid from those who claim to have a better way but based on a lot of hokum. " Feb 1, 17 1:22 PM

Not precedent-setting, not nightmare-inducing, and you don't own common sense. I contend that common sense says you can't keep jamming residential building into an area without the necessary infrastructure to support it. That's a recipe for further sleepless nights. " Feb 1, 17 2:18 PM

Frankly, you only need to look at the market data report and the Cashin Associates analysis, funded by the Town, to conclude that your speculation about market size and demand is totally incorrect. However, regardless of how these homes are used, they are not sitting empty all year either. Even many second homeowners come most weekends, which has been true for at least 50 years. I have given no false facts here. You may try to avoid the fact of this residential density, and the condo-palooza in Tuckahoe, or you can embrace the fact that we are way more people here than decades ago. And then support smart ways to support them. " Feb 1, 17 5:20 PM

Schneiderman Skeptical On Approval Of Tuckahoe Center Proposal

Mr Nill is not married and lives in the Town of Southampton. Is that direct enough?" Feb 1, 17 9:26 PM

Southampton Town Board Members Agree: Tuckahoe Center Not Likely To Be Approved

So, you just invalidated your whole argument, because you can't look at any of this objectively. The point of what's been said above is that every study, every report, every planning analysis, has come out on the side of approving the zone change for the Tuckahoe Center. If one or two reports were in conflict, maybe there would be room for debate on objective facts, but there isn't. Maybe members of the Town Board read these comments, maybe they don't. There is not one single report or study that does anything other make a recommendation for the center. Even the corridor study, which did not take a position, left it up to the Town to do its due diligence. All of which has now been completed and the results are clear: the Tuckahoe Center would be a form of good planning even in the difficult situation we find ourselves with trade parades, more residential density, etc. Over time there needs to be additional mitigating factors to address the traffic, the TC is just one small piece of it, where both traffic studies showed a significant reduction of traffic along CR 39 if it were built.

The fact that you didn't like the former supervisor is not relevant. " Feb 2, 17 9:54 AM

First, it's not a mega or mini mall. The point is that there are already grocery store shoppers, Tuckahoe Center will not create new ones but divert existing ones from having to travel on CR39 or side streets to much more distant locations, and back. You point is silly. " Feb 3, 17 4:29 PM

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman To Run For Reelection

Wow, you are a political creature, aren't you? I like Jay as well, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. The lack of doing things is not leadership, it is marching in place. That's not a knock on Jay, but as much as I'm indifferent to the political stunt of a PDD "moratorium" when the board, as Scalera said many times, could just as easily not consider new PDDs, I'm also not agreeing with your contention that Jay gave any sort of "extensive" hearing on the Tuckahoe Center. Jay did exactly one thing on that one, a single hearing for the benefit of new board members, yet cannot seem to acknowledge the five previous hearings where many more supporters were heard. He has also been not candid about the amount of support for the project, and has lately discounted any attempt at acknowledging facts vis a vis non-facts.

I lean mostly Democratic in my daily life, but if your party is one that believes marching in place is a good strategy for the future of Southampton, I think you are going to be surprised at election time. " Feb 11, 17 11:37 AM

I agree on this one. This should have been a non-starter. The road belongs to us, not to the golf club.

And doesn't a hospital on the university property require a zone change? It isn't zoned for a hospital. " Feb 11, 17 11:44 AM

PDD Law Could Be Fully Repealed, Southampton Town Officials Say

The devil will be in the details. The PDD law came about for good reasons. This one town board eliminating it will require them to create new mechanisms to account for evolving land use, and do it in a way that won't create major headaches for future town boards or the needs of an ever more diverse community. My question, considering that the headline is repeal with any clear replacement idea (where have I heard that before), is whether this town board is up to that complicated task. " Feb 14, 17 2:17 PM

PDD's needed to be approved by a super majority, too. That speculative statement about the CPF and PDDs are not really related, are they? I mean, yes, the CPF makes buildable land more valuable in some sense, but the PDD itself has nothing to do with it. " Feb 14, 17 3:29 PM

Southampton Town Supervisor Pushes For Alternative To Tuckahoe Center: Assisted Living

Oh boy, this has about as much chance of flying as the dude ranch Bob DeLuca pitched to substitute for the project at The Hills. Yes, would it be nice to have an assisted living facility, sure, but the Tuckahoe Center already has a better and higher use for that property. Nice misdirection, Jay, but it seems more an attempt to get the public to focus on something else rather than the facts supporting the Tuckahoe Center, which are overwhelming. The board may not yet have the votes to approve, but you also don't have the facts on your side to reject, either. One lopsided public hearing and unsubstantiated allegations about traffic, not supported by expert studies, doesn't appear to me to be sufficient grounds for a down vote. " Feb 21, 17 4:05 PM

Southampton Hospital Merger With Stony Brook Draws Near

Can someone answer this question? The university property is zoned U25 and there is no permitted use for hospitals according to my reading of the use table. Does the university property need to go through a zone change application to get the hospital there? From what I'm seeing, and this is the reason I am asking this question, the SIC Codes in the zoning code table of uses do not have listed the "806" classification which where classifications of hospitals is. The town zoning allows for a couple of health-related uses, but they are all outpatient, research labs, and doctor's offices. Anyone know any more about this?
" Mar 1, 17 12:12 PM

'The Hills' Public Comment Period Extended

Tuckahoe Center also had an extended written comment period, two weeks additional I think. " Mar 3, 17 9:50 AM

Lobster Inn Property Goes On The Market

Good luck with that price. Not even in the ballpark." Mar 3, 17 8:10 PM

Southampton Fire Department Raising Money To Restore 1912 Fire Truck

As this truck is important to the village's fire department history in many ways, I'd also like to know if this is the same truck that was involved in the unfortunate accident in 1918 when Nathan Cooper Howell, a department founder, slipped when trying to get on a running board of a fire truck during an Armistice Day parade on Main St. Tragically, he died after being run over by the rear wheel. Anyone know if this is that same truck? Maybe a remembrance can be added to the vehicle?" Mar 8, 17 4:37 PM

Court Orders Southampton School District To Turn Over Farina Materials For Review In Private

So, I'll just go back to my original comments on this case... it's a loser. The Press emphasized the reimbursement of court costs in several articles on this complaint, and, as expected, the court disagreed. So, now the Press, and the Southampton Association, which is splitting the bill (not mentioned in the article above, but should be), are at least now going to have to pay for this self-initiated fishing expedition.

You might still win, but odds are once the judge gets a private look at the information, he will decide the district acted within the terms of their contractual agreement with Farina and that the FOIL law was not violated.

Hopefully, we'll see soon. I'm hoping the Press will report the outcome, either way. " Apr 14, 17 5:10 PM

It's not just someone else, it's the Southampton Association. The same group of people who helped derail the Tuckahoe merger and which consequently has now landed both districts into financial peril.

I'm not defending the district at all. I just think this "noble" act of the Press for a self-righteous "benefit" to the community misses a lot of practical reality when it comes to legal contracts and non-disclosure agreements. The fact that the Press trumpeted its belief as front page "news" that it would get its attorneys fees back was a telltale sign that they may be pretty naive about the whole thing.

While they did get the court not to just say "No", which is laudable, it still doesn't mean the public will see the light of day regarding unproven allegations against Farina. Even the Press's own expert agrees with that aspect of the complaint.

So, I guess a potentially heavily redacted copy of the info may be the way the court ultimately balances the public interest and the private interest, but that will only tell the district that it cannot just reject out of hand FOIL requests, but if it doesn't give what the Press really seems to be after, which is exactly why Farina was let go, and why he was paid off. My feeling is they will get a bun and no burger. " Apr 14, 17 5:49 PM

First, I have no knowledge of what went on with Farina, only the rumor that's out there, which is what I expect everyone else commenting here has heard. And I guess that's my point. The superintendent had a contract to work in the district, and we are not privy to that contract, I suppose, but normally in contracts there are clauses that protect both parties from wrongdoing on either side. However, if one were to believe the rumor, then it was also not an incident that happened on school property or on school time, or in the capacity of Farina as an employee of the district. Which is why, it seems, he was not legally in breach of that agreement.

Additionally, I've not heard that the rumor was ever proven or that it caused Farina to make decisions in the district that were counter to his contract, but that the optics of it were very embarrassing to all involved, including the district. However, since they were under contract, and since it seems there was no legal breach of that contact, the district essentially had to buy him out of the contract to get him to leave. I know that's not exactly what happened, but it is what happened in practical, simple terms.

I don't defend Farina, or the district, and think, yes, maybe the district should have done more due diligence on their choice when hiring. But I would disagree with everyone here who says that it's the public's right to know salacious details on unproven facts about personal matters that apparently did not affect his professional job performance as superintendent, and the disclosure of which could actually be personally and professionally damaging to Farina in the future. Hence, the non-disclosure agreement which the district concurred to as a condition of his resignation.

The flip side of that is if the district had seen that Farina breached his contract due to actual facts, then they would have likely, via the contract, been within their rights to fire him without any severance. Clearly, that didn't happen, so unless you believe the unlikely scenario that the district board was in collusion with Farina to get him a big pay day, then what really happened was a sequence of unfortunate events that led to an embarrassing situation that made Farina's staying at his post untenable, but which contractually did not alleviate the district from their financial responsibility. So, no xtiego, you likely don't have 300,000 reasons to know about the details.

I will say that if anything, the Press may get some sort of ruling that will have precedent with regard to timely and more accurately answering FOIL requests. Both local governments and school districts use the knee-jerk rejection far to often on legitimate FOIL requests. It is time someone warned public agencies that the FOIL is an important duty to the public. For that I applaud the Press effort.

" Apr 15, 17 11:57 AM

Dumb analogy on a number of points. Superintendent is not a company, he is an employee. The school is not your house, it is an entity of collective ownership of the neighborhood. The employee had a contract to perform in that entity, and no one is saying he didn't perform well in that capacity. The issue the entity had was with embarrassing information related to the employee, which did not occur on the entity's time or in the employee's position. But it was embarrassing enough that the representatives of the neighborhood believed he needed to resign, so, since there was no violation of the actual contract, or at least one the representatives felt they could not win in court, they had to settle in a way that both made good on the contract and kept the embarrassing information, an unproven rumor as far as the neighborhood knows, out of public view, or it would hurt the future professional capacity of the employee, which would put the whole neighborhood at risk for a lawsuit where it could lose a whole lot more.

You are correct that the whole thing hurts the children. It was a bad situation, and probably handled as best as the district could do, given the legalities involved.

But you probably are still never going to get a real read on what happened from the district, the court, or the press. Move on and help the board make better decisions in the future. " Apr 18, 17 6:41 PM

No, I think I've been clear saying I don't know what actually happened. And I sort of agree that because of they way the board had to deal with this situation, from a taxpayer perspective, it is sort of like theft. My point is that I don't think we will ever get the actual information that led to the resignation and payout, that either the court will deny public disclosure of the incident or so heavily redact it you won't be able to read between the lines. Especially if the incident that started this was unproven rumor and involves personnel who actually did not violate any district rules or policies - to say otherwise is speculative only.

I'm not saying I have any wisdom on this case at all, I really don't, but from a contractual perspective, and the outcome of the district's decision to pay him out, it would seem to me they had considered these things beforehand. That doesn't make it necessarily information that the public has have big detail on. I do think the district should have been more forthcoming, but I wonder if that reticence was based on good legal merit regarding exposing something that can't be substantiated and opening them up (or us up) to further lawsuits. " Apr 23, 17 11:21 AM

Do you have anything that says he did violate board policies or are you just guessing on that? If he did, why did the district pay him out? The only way I can get my thinking to agree with you is to maybe think the district felt they would be open to a lawsuit from Farina that would cost taxpayers even more money and they chose the lesser of two evils. I have enough faith in the district board to think they wouldn't just politely ask him to go and, oh, by the way, here's this $300k parting gift. Are you that naive?" Apr 23, 17 11:26 AM

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