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355 Comments by Publius

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Incumbents sweep in Westhampton Beach, Southampton

Village residents spoke clearly and unambiguously. We will not accept a community with religious divisions, and we will not accept a community with divisions between those who were born here and those who have chosen to live here. This village embraces unity. From this moment forward there is no division between winners and losers. We are one village." Jun 20, 09 12:44 PM

"foundthefacts" J.P.O.E. recognized that a small faction of separatists wanted public officials to declare that certain public property and roadways within boundaries in our community are private property belonging to them. These declarations, when they have been made, were complete with a lease agreement for the area in issue granting property rights from the government to the applicant.

As best I can tell, J.P.O.E. was incensed because good community relations that have existed were being sorely tested by an insular minority requesting these property rights, with a statement that it would only be symbolic recognition of public property as private.

As I have commented before symbolism is important whether it be the confederate flag, the American flag, or the declaration that public property and roadways belong only to some in our village.

Westhampton would have been best served if at the very outset all elected officials had simply informed this small group that they were mistaken about the nature of American government with both the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause that bookend these questions from the formation of our nation.

The sooner it is clear that such public declarations will not be considered, and are not the business of government, the better. This election cycle began that process with the clear statement of the two Trustees. Once we have a Mayor who doesn't vacillate on such basic issues of governance then the issue will be truly concluded.

The election of Levan and Tucker was in favor of good community relations, it was in favor of a community for all, not just a few." Jun 20, 09 5:29 PM

Westhampton Cemetery expansion continues to hit obstacles

The following are three separate web links and a portion of the related material.

http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9802/12/t_t/burial.ground/
Far beneath the busy cityscape of New York's lower Manhattan lies a centuries-old cemetery. The burial ground, discovered in 1991 by construction workers, contains more than 400 remains of what is believed to be the first group of African slaves brought to the city. It also tells a little-known story of early New York.


http://www.ibsgwatch.imagedjinn.com/learn/newyorklaw.htm
The office or parks and recreation shall have the power to designate any Indian cemetery or burial ground as a place of historic interest pursuant to subdivision one of section 3.09 of the parks and recreation law provided, however, that each cemetery or burial ground is not located upon any Indian reservation located wholly or partly within the state. No person shall destroy, alter, convert, or in any way impair any such cemetery or burial ground which has been so designated as a place of historic interest or any artifact or other object thereon which is or may be of relevance to the historic interest thereof without the prior express written permission of the office of parks and recreation.
The attorney general, at the request of the office of parks and recreation, is hereby authorized to institute an action in supreme court in the judicial destrict wherein such cemetery or burial ground is located to enjoin violations or threatened violations of this section.

http://www.nps.gov/vive/
Deliberately setting aside the controversies of the war, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors the men and women who served when their Nation called upon them.


When you drive on the Long Island Expressway to Manhattan you can see the great expanse of Calvary Cemetery, it is a "thriving" necropolis.

The question is, how do we best honor our love ones? " Jun 29, 09 8:39 AM

Turkey Bridge,

the transfer of public property to an unincorporated cemetery association is not a simple matter for an oral agreement.

The requirement that agreements for the sale / transfer of real property must be in writing is founded upon the understanding that the significant rights that are being transferred should be in writing so there can be no misunderstanding or disagreement.

For the cemetery association to claim it was relying upon oral representations should call into question both the wisdom or accuracy of that contention.

For the cemetery association to expend money on what is nothing other than a political advertisement requires that the nature of the association itself be examined. What is the entity "Friends of the Westhampton Cemetery" ?

Is either the "Association" or the "Friends" a not-for-profit corporation; are either recognized as a charity; do either have any obligations to the public, are either operated for private benefit?

The targeting of the Trustees on this issue should be critically examined. The interests of all should be considered.

These are questions that merit consideration. The are not offered for speculation, but are facts that should be presented for the public to consider as the issue has been put before the community for its input.
" Jun 30, 09 10:22 PM

The contention that the property is "landlocked" is of doubtful validity.

There is the doctrine of easement by necessity which permits an owner of property that has no access to a public road to obtain an easement to reach the road. That would require a court action to establish ($$$), and it is questionable whether such an easement would be created that would accommodate funeral processions under that doctrine.

Maybe that is why the 2 acres went for $200,000.

Is the "swap" of a "similarly sized" lot that is not landlocked, and would not require a court action to open an easement, be in the public interest?" Jun 30, 09 11:01 PM

Empire and hospitals take negotiations to the wire; no deal in sight

highatsize is right in part. See http://www.nyhealthcarecommission.org/docs/final/appendix2-longislandrac.pdf the relevant portion of the Berger report." Jul 28, 09 9:43 PM

Councilwoman wants to crack down on owners of vehicles cited for violations

Vehicle Forfeiture is a bad idea, and will create more problems than it solves. It does, however, have a certain shallow political appeal.

WHAT COULD HAPPEN WITH THIS LAW:

Consider this: Junior gets a ticket and either forgets to go to court, or forgets to pay the fine. The dutiful court sends notice to the DMV and Junior's license is suspended. Friday night Junior is allowed to use the family car (to be home by 10:00 because these parents know where their children are). Junior is fiddling with the radio and the car begins to drift to the shoulder. Responsible Officer pulls Junior over to see if Junior might be under the influence, after all it is Friday night. Junior is fine, but his license is suspended.

Here we go, family car is towed (incurring a towing charge) it is impounded (incurring an impound fee) a forfeiture hearing is scheduled (requiring a magistrate, an attorney for the town, and because the family car is at stake, the family attorney).

Maybe the magistrate is reasonable and does not forfeit the $20,000 family car. Now Dad can stop bumming rides to work as he has been doing every day for the past week while the family car was accruing impound fees. Maybe, after they have paid the family lawyer, they have the $200 to pay the tow operator and impound yard to get the car released.


Consider this: Dad likes to take a dip in the ocean after a long day at work, it is refreshing and helps get rid of the spare tire around his waist. Dad usually puts the keys under the mat, its Ponquogue Beach, its pretty safe. Dad leaves his wallet at home because he isn't going to carry it in his Speedo (alright Dad doesn't wear the Speedo, at least we hope he won't until the spare tire is gone) He doesn't leave his wallet in the car because Ponquoge Beach is safe, but not THAT safe.

Dad is like Junior, or Junior is like Dad. Dad is fiddling with the radio and the car begins to drift to the shoulder. Responsible officer pulls Dad over to see if he might be under the influence, after all lots of people like to have a few beers after work. Dad is fine, but when asked for his license and registration he has neither.

Here we go, Dad only has his wet swim suit and the sand that is beginning to chafe. Responsible Officer, while polite, knows that some people give someone else's name and date of birth if their own license is suspended. Responsible Officer knows the failure to produce a license provides her with reasonable suspicion to conclude that Dad is unlicensed.

The tow truck is called, the family car goes to impound, Dad goes to the precinct and hopes that Mom hasn't taken Junior to his ball practice yet so that she can bring his license and registration and this can all be cleared up. Dad is not as irresponsible as Junior, but the tow truck driver has to be paid and maybe some impound fees (the tow wasn't free).


Consider this: Juan is driving the landscaping truck and fails to signal a lane change. Responsible Officer pulls Juan over and Juan can't produce a driver's license. Once again, this is reasonable cause to call for the tow truck, and besides it isn't Stinchi Landscaping.

Assume the hearing is held and while the Truck Owner insists that Juan showed him a license when he was hired, the magistrate gets his coffee at the 7-11 and wasn't born yesterday. Truck is forfeited, Juan pays $50 (if he shows up in Court) Truck Owner loses a $15,000 truck (Okay, he didn't lose the truck it had a lien on it for $20,000 for the loan when he bought the truck) Truck Owner pays impound and towing fees and gets back to the 50 customers he has waiting for him.


TROUBLE AHEAD:

EVEN IF, after hiring Magistrates, more town attorneys, paying tow operators and impound yards a Forfeiture Program turns out to been wildly successful in raising revenues (that is what is what this is about) there is a bigger problem on the horizon.

The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the excessive fines clause. A fine must be proportional to the wrong committed. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Bajakajian

There will be attorneys to bring the civil rights actions to argue that the forfeiture of the Mercedes www.mbusa.com/ is excessive and unconstitutional. There will also be another attorney who advances the legal theory is that Juan Chavez is being treated differently than John Smith and that this violates the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution. These actions not only provide for the return of the vehicle, but for attorneys fees as well.


NOT AN ORIGINAL IDEA

Suffolk County has just such a Forfeiture Law and whether that is truly successful from a revenue standpoint (County Attorney Salaries, Magistrate Salaries, Tow Truck Operator's costs) has yet to be completely analyzed, there remains the liability for having actually forfeited vehicles.

The Statute of Limitations on a Civil Rights Action is 3 years so the County could be tagged for compensation for 3 years worth of forfeitures and associated attorneys fees before it undoes what has been done.

WHILE THERE IS A SHALLOW POLITICAL APPEAL, THIS LAW WILL PUT THE TOWN IN DEEP WATER.
" Aug 5, 09 10:37 AM

Former Suffolk Legislator George Guldi is arraigned on 110 charges in alleged mortgage fraud scheme

Thomas T. McVann was also arraigned on two counts in this indictment.. He has been charged with Grand Larceny in the First Degree and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree. He was represented by the Suffolk County Legal Aid Society." Aug 13, 09 7:47 AM

Math requirements will increase for Westhampton Beach High School students

Way to go ! ! !

Every student in high school can learn and master calculus, with the exception of a very small sliver of a tiny minority who will graduate with IEP diplomas.

Math is nothing more or less than commons sense. If the proper fundamentals of math are taught over the years, every high school student who is encouraged to be confident and work at it can learn even calculus.

Have students failed math in the past. Sure, but does this mean these students did not possess the basic intelligence necessary to learn math through the calculus level? No. It means these students did not receive proper instruction in the fundamentals as they went along, or did not receive appropriate encouragement, or failed to put in enough effort, or some combination of the three.

Every high school athlete knows that even a person of average ability can excel if he/she practices hard and gains confidence. If these same students put the same time in to all studies, including math, as into other endeavors, they can not be stopped and will have an education of which they can be proud.

Bravo to the Board members who encourage the continued education in a rigorous math curriculum.

Our students deserve our high expectations. They can do it." Aug 19, 09 2:38 PM

Price wants village to pay; serves Westhampton Beach with notice of claim

We Do have such laws. In both State and Federal Court sanctions can be imposed and often are imposed in large sums. " Aug 20, 09 3:42 PM

Westhampton Beach trustee, blogger spar over residency issues

It goes without saying that it is critical that the integrity of elections be protected. That means people who are not qualified to vote must be prevented from casting illegal ballots, and that the process of casting a ballot must not become unnecessarily burdened.

It appears that there is good reason to question whether, in the past, unqualified voters cast ballots in a closely contested election and whether those ballots may have determined the outcome of a previous election. That was and remains cause for concern.

This year, in an effort to prevent a repetition of that problem, challenge lists were employed on election day to invoke heightened scrutiny on the part of election officials. In the case of village elections that official was the village clerk.

However, the number of people who found that they were being challenged on election day made the potential for abuse clear. When taken to the extreme, challenge lists could be as disruptive to an election, as the risk of an unqualified voter or two casting a ballot.

I have not read, nor have I heard, that anyone has said the use of challenge lists was illegal. I am surprised to read that an official inquiry was made into whether the process was illegal when that was never presented as the issue.

The question is whether there is a means by which the process can be improved so that unqualified voters can be prevented from affecting elections, and, at the same time, use a process that minimizes delays on voting day that could otherwise be destructive to the electoral process.

There appears to be no reason why a person who appears as an enrolled voter with the Board of Elections months before the village election in June should only first be challenged on election day when passions of those involved run highest and rational thinking runs lowest.

There is no reason that candidates and their ardent supporters should not be required to challenge registered voters in advance of election day. The challengers would be able to present their reasons for their challenge to the qualifications, and the registered voters would be able to present proof. This would be more reasoned, more dispassionate, and less disruptive.

I would expect all elected officials to support an appropriate review and reform the process as required." Sep 4, 09 11:50 PM

The blogger who is the subject of this article has demonstrated how good and valuable tools can be put to bad use. In a recent post on his blog entitled, Six Corners' Stonewall, he has attacked and insulted a public official.

His complaint is that the Village Clerk, whom he refers to as playing "the rule book clown" did not immediately comply with his demand made under FOIL for a letter written by the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) and sent to the Village Attorney.

Before the Trustees had even been made aware that this letter had been received by the Village Attorney, this blogger was asking about the letter at the meeting of the Board of Trustees. The blogger then made a FOIL request so that he could "officially" obtain the letter. However the letter was not immediately produced by the Village Clerk, and the insults began to fly in
cyberspace.

I think it is fair for the Trustees to be able to read their mail before the blogger reads their mail.

We should be clear, again, the issue in this Village is NOT whether the blogger broke any law on election day when he presented a written list of voters whom he contended were not qualified to vote in the Village election.
The issue IS whether there is a procedure that could prevent the disruption presented by such numerous last minute challenges.

We want all qualified voters to be able to vote without harassment and without unnecessary delay. At the same time we want to make sure UNqualified voters ARE prevented from voting. No one claims the blogger broke the law, only that he demonstrated how the electoral process was at risk.

The letter from NYCOM is from an informal association, it does not issue binding opinions like a Court, it does not pass laws like the Legislature, and does not even promulgate regulations like State Agencies. It can be a resource, but it is really an informal club. The letter from this club could not be momentous, and it apparently did not address the question for this Village. That question was and remains: What procedures, if any, can be adopted to limit the disruptive effect of the use of last minute challenge lists on election day?.

The blogger reports that he engaged a Trustee in "a[n] hour-long and often heated colloquy on the steps of Village Hall" If there is any discernible indiscretion on the part of the Trustee it is that he listened so long to the blogger. The Trustee went above and beyond being polite in listening for so long.

The blogger, as the article notes, unsuccessfully ran for the office of Trustee, and now seems to be getting derailed from important civic issues in this village and is instead advancing a personal agenda." Sep 10, 09 8:56 AM

Supervisor Kabot will fight DWI charge, stay in race

Setting aside the electoral prospects of a candidate on Town Board when the current financial mess was created, Mrs. Kabot IS presumed innocent.

It seems that the overwhelming majority who have posted to this page presume she was drunk and/or presume she refused to take a breath test. That could turn out to be true, or the evidence might not overcome the presumption of innocence.

The police SAY she failed two field sobriety tests, and refused to take a breath test. If the tests are objectively reasonable and if everyone would agree that she failed, then just run the video tape of her performance on those tests.

The police SAY she refused to take the test, was that a verbal refusal, or an "insufficient sample" as recorded by a machine. For a proper test the subject must blow for at least 4.5 seconds and deliver at least 1.5 liters of air at a flow rate of at least 2.5 liters/minute. Think of that 2 liter bottle of Coke in the fridge, are you ready to fill that two thirds full with your breath? If you don't blow a sufficient sample its called a refusal.

Or, perhaps she demanded a breath test? Again, run the video tape. Another possibility is that Mrs. Kabot did have a couple of drinks, had no conception that to be intoxicated you must be very polluted and out of fear did in fact refuse. (That's bad, it has its own punishment, but doesn't mean she was drunk.)

The overwhelming presumption of guilt expressed on this page is a testament to the experience of the readers which is that they have not personally experienced either negligent police work, or outright malevolent conduct on the part of police. That is heartening, but at the same time, what has been our experience? A speeding ticket when we were in fact speeding?

When the Defendant is a public figure is it possible that police didn't give her the same benefit of the doubt another citizen might get fearing they might be accused of favoritism? Maybe she performed reasonably well on those field tests, but the officer was afraid to cut her loose and risk allegations of favoritism.

We have a Court system because we do not want to grant unchecked power to anyone. Let the checks and balances of our system work. If Mrs. Kabot maintains she is not guilty, let the evidence, or the lack of evidence, be weighed by people who actually get to hear it before rendering a verdict." Sep 10, 09 7:03 PM

Hey, about that 2 liter bottle, and you blew it 2/3 full; let that count as a refusal because it takes 3/4." Sep 10, 09 7:16 PM

Whether Mrs. Kabot is innocent of the charges that have been made or not. You can be sure it is a difficult time for her. Compassion doesn't cost a dime.

When it comes to the legal process, the public, the Legislature, and even the Courts have gone just a little nuts. Consider that a person's drivers license can be suspended without a trial at all.

Sure some will regurgitate the mantra driving is a privilege, not a right. Try living on the East End without that "privilege." That privilege/right distinction is just one example of crazy courts.

Next consider that if a person is found to have refused the test they lose their license for at least six months. However, if they refuse and are convicted of either driving while impaired or driving while intoxicated, then they can immediately have their license back while they take (and pay for) a course.

However, a complete acquittal of the drinking driving charge by a person who has refused makes that person ineligible for the course, and he must sit out the six month period. Guilty pleas are rewarded with the return of driving privileges.

Drunk drivers put all of us at serious risk. Notice how the State is more than happy to license bars in rural areas which almost by definition creates drunk drivers? How much revenue does NY receive in taxes on alcohol? We need to approach this problem consistently. It goes well beyond the Southampton Town Supervisor.

Dispensing with the presumption of innocence if the charge is DWI, as it appears some here want to do, will NOT change anything. Presumed innocent is a bedrock principal that can not be tossed aside. The requirement of proof beyond all reasonable doubt is the measure for all criminal accusations, whether you personally like the Defendant or disagree with her politics.

In the final analysis Mrs. Kabot is a neighbor to us all. She needs to be treated like that no matter what the outcome of her case." Sep 10, 09 9:34 PM

Westhampton Beach still has not endorsed high school district study

"Abolishing tuition will thin the coffers of Westhampton Beach School District, a possibility that Mr. Schwartz pointed out when discussing the issue this week...
We believe Westhampton Beach would not at all benefit financially,” Mr. Schwartz said.

We have no business spending money on a study when the fundamental concept is to shift the tax burden to Westhampton School District residents.

People bought homes in their respective districts and the price was, in part, dictated by school tax rates. Westhampton residents had to pay more to live in a district with lower taxes.

Now Senator LaValle (a former school teacher) thinks it is fair to restructure the district so those who paid more for houses will now pay even more for taxes, and those who paid less for the same homes in another district, will pay less in taxes.

Everyone has made economic choices, some were willing to pay for a more expensive smaller home in order to pay lower taxes.

The voters in Westhampton should be watching the School Board very closely on this one." Sep 10, 09 10:11 PM

Supervisor Kabot will fight DWI charge, stay in race

There is a wide ranging sentiment that once a person becomes an elected official that they can be treated as sub-human. An earlier post states "she is a public figure and should expect criticism for all of her actions" is just one such example.

I think it is long past time to recognize that, like us, our elected officials are entirely human. When we focus on the warts, real or alleged, we risk missing those valuable contributions that person makes to our community.

When we claim a right to be disrespectful to those in public office simply because they are in public office we drive away many people who would serve, are capable, and have talents to share, but know they are not perfect and don't want the abuse.

I write this in support of those who serve in public office generally, and it is offered now in the context of Mrs. Kabot's immediate problems.

The sentiment extends to those who serve in the Press as well, which, as far as I am concerned, is a quasi-public office." Sep 11, 09 8:39 AM

The reason I consider working in the Press a quasi-public office it is based upon the unique status granted the Press in this country. It is different from other corporate enterprises.

Freedom of the Press is constitutionally based in both our Federal and State Constitution. In NY we also have a shield law which permits reporters to refuse to answer questions about confidential sources without fear of being jailed for contempt. (The same issue in federal court is more in doubt after the jailing of Judith Miller)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Miller_(journalist)

The special rights also create special duties to the public.

With respect to the public comments section below the news article, that is a function that has moved away from the primary purpose of a news organization, but is a valuable adjunct.

It does, however, present challenges. How far does the Press go in permitting defamatory, or simply rancorous remarks to be posted on its page. At the same time, permitting free speech on a page in which it has a proprietary interest and responsibility is also important or people simply won't post to a page that is censored unfairly.

The internet is a new frontier, and everyone is sorting their way through it." Sep 11, 09 9:39 AM

To highhatsize:

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures.
In Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961), the Supreme Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment applies to the states by way of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights that expressly prohibits the Congress from making laws "respecting an establishment of religion", prohibiting the free exercise of religion, infringing the freedom of speech, infringing the freedom of the press, limiting the right to peaceably assemble, or limiting the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The Supreme Court has held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the limitations of the First Amendment to each state, including any local government within a state.

Scientific evidence is always something that can add to our information, and make our decisions more informed.

It is critical, however, that such evidence is subject to complete and fair examination at trial.

If scientific evidence can't reasonably be taken apart and assessed by jurors, with the aid of expert testimony, then, in the case of the intoxilyzer/breathallyzer it is nothing more than magic box that declares guilt or innocence.

If jurors can't understand the breath test, but nonetheless rely on it, we can dispense with trials altogether. As the posts show here, most citizens are willing to do just that. (never mind all of the various modifications that have had to be made to the machine over the years to correct for previous, proven, deficiencies.. such as RFI intereference, and the distorting affect of breath ketones exhaled by those dieting heavily (Atkins diet, etc.)" Sep 13, 09 8:36 AM

Quogue Village Police Department is now a state-accredited agency

Congratulations to the Village of Quogue Police Department.

One of the biggest challenges to police departments protecting residents in small municipalities is the lack of crime. That is a problem most would like to have. In small departments when a significant crime is reported officers are called upon to use skills that are NOT honed on a daily basis. This is particularly challenging because evidence recovery and the proper investigation and pursuit of a suspect is time sensitive and it is difficult to go back to the books when time is flying.

Regular training is the only way for small departments to be fully prepared to meet the challenges that a crisis presents. Congratulations again to the Village of Quogue Police Department." Sep 17, 09 8:12 AM

Westhampton Beach parents angry over new math requirement

"Clint Greenbaum abstained." Was any reason given why Mr. Greenbaum abstained. Was there some conflict? Does he have no position on what should be taught in school?

I agree with Dina in part. The foundation of a math education begins in the elementary school and you just can't pass a rule on the top end saying "students perform" There must be groundwork on the front end. It is well past time for more transparency.

Even with respecting children's privacy test grades, class grades should be posted so that parents will know whether there is grade inflation and whether children are actually being educated. Testing should track longituninally. For example do some students who had teacher x in 5th grade do exceptionally well later in mathematics, or those who had teacher y do poorly? If so copy x correct y. It isn't even about merit based pay, its called measurable results so that we all know where we stand. Students and teachers alike.

What I don't agree with is the notion that parents dictate board policy on a case by case basis. The members of the board are our representatives. We don't have plebiscite.

Still, it is terrific that the value of math education is recognized by 4 members of the board of education. As for the other 3, that is disappointing.

" Sep 18, 09 2:57 PM

Tim Bishop pushes the House to pass college aid bill

Subsidizing another loan program, in truth is money to the colleges which have become grossly overpriced. Just like subprime mortgages inflated the cost of housing, education loans inflate the cost of education.

When college prices are out of line, and students don't come, prices will adjust to the true value of the education. Recently the cost of higher education has been distorted by the home equity loans people took out to pay for kids college when housing values were artificially inflated by loose lending.

With these kinds of policies, President Obama IS going to get change." Sep 19, 09 8:45 AM

Westhampton Beach won’t participate in high school centralization study

The post above and the Press, it its editorial "Missed Opportunity" do a disservice to the public. Both invite readers make false assumptions of fact when they argue that the sending districts are a "cash cow" to the Westhampton School District. That is false.

Westhampton is prohibited by State Law from making a profit from sending districts. By law it is only permitted to charge for the cost of educating a student, no more. When you say the sending districts are a "cash cow" you imply that the members of the Westhampton Beach Board of Education are breaking the law.

For example, if it costs the Press $200 to produce an advertisement in your paper and you only charge $200, you wouldn't consider such advertisements a "cash cow." That would not be a money maker, and you might ask why do it at all?

That same question applies to Westhampton, why does Westhampton take in sending district students at all? The Press struck upon one crucial point in its Editorial. The Board of Education controls a budget and employment opportunities that far exceed the requirements of the Westhampton community.

The question is whether that economic power is wielded in a manner that produces the best education for students who attend Westhampton?

That can best be assessed by examining how Westhampton performs on Regents Examinations compared to similar schools (The State Education Department has defined similar schools, and there is a group against which we should compare Westhampton's performance)?

How do our students perform on AP examinations, how about performance on various components of the SAT?

These are the measures that the Board of Education, Westhampton residents, and those considering sending their students to Westhampton must examine.

Westhampton BOE, how about posting this information on the District's Home page? It could be a really good advertisement.

The absence of the information only breeds suspicion, contempt, and "cash cow" comments." Sep 21, 09 9:00 AM

CMO you are correct to argue that any comparison includes the comparison of the education for the tax dollar spent.

This is distorted by different levels of statel aid given to districts such as ESM and CMO, making those districts, while not necessarily more thrifty, less expensive for the sending districts. Nonetheless, if state subsidies make an equal education less expensive, then that is where EMO students should attend.

I would like to see true comparisons of the respective educational production of each district. That is of critical concern to taxpayers, students and parents alike. " Sep 21, 09 2:21 PM

CMO, there is no doubt that there is a basic threshold of funding required to offer a top notch education. However, above that threshold more money is typically wasted money.

When it comes to education, money is not a substitute for 1. motivated students who study; 2. parents who support a home life conducive to studying; and 3.teachers dedicated to delivering the best curriculum in an engaging manner.

Once you have those three in place, more money is meaningless. It is the challenge to put all three elements into the same place at the same time.

Westhampton has an advantage of a reputation for delivering a good education. This attracts 1. students from EMO who are motivated; 2. parents who support scholastic achievement; and 3. is up to the Westhampton BOE to insure we have dedicated teachers.

You simply can not equate money with performance. Performance is its own measure." Sep 22, 09 2:18 PM

Westhampton Beach parents angry over new math requirement

Mr. Greenbaum, glad to hear that there is one more vote in favor of actually educating students in our high school.

In order to increase the math requirement the Board needed 4 affirmative votes. An abstention was as good as a "no" vote. An abstention could not pass that motion.

If your position was that more public discussion was needed to get the public on board, then you could have moved to table the vote for that reason. If such a motion to table passed you would have gotten what you felt was appropriate and then, later, had your vote recorded in favor of the increased math instruction.

As it stands, you did not vote for it. That is too bad because the official tally is kept by the District Clerk as a record of the Board's proceedings. Viewpoints and posts to this site are not the place to cast your vote.

Your argument that a graduation requirement for 2013 did not need to be voted on Sept. 14, 2009 does not ring true. It takes 4 years for most to meet the graduation requirements. If anything, the motion was overdue.

Mr. Greenbaum, the residents deserved your vote as a Board member and it got nothing.

Service on the Board of Education is difficult, challenging, and perhaps the most import leadership role in any community.

An abstention on an important vote is like being "in abstentia." We need our elected officials to be present, cast their votes, and speak their minds in the meetings, not later when it just doesn't matter any more.
" Sep 26, 09 7:38 AM

Southampton Town Supervisor Kabot, attorney give first interview on DWI arrest

This story and all of the posts is the best argument for speedy trials. There is no reason that a trial should not be held within just a couple of weeks.

There is no scientific evidence to examine and evaluate in preparation of this case. The case is the officers' testimony and the videotape, and Mrs. Kabot's testimony, as well as her family who might support her contentions, should she elect to present a case.

Rather than trying the case in the media, a jury should be selected and the story can then be about evidence presented and the conviction or acquittal that results.

While we wait either Mrs. Kabot unfairly suffers under a cloud, or the arresting officers suffer with unfounded accusations against them.
" Sep 28, 09 8:28 AM

Attorney: Linda Kabot will be vindicated

Rules lawyers are supposed to live by:

DR 7-107 Trial Publicity

(A) A lawyer participating in or associated with the investigation of a criminal matter shall not make or participate in making an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication and that does more than state without elaboration:

(1) Information contained in a public record.

(2) That the investigation is in progress.

(3) The general scope of the investigation including a description of the offense and, if permitted by law, the identity of the victim.

(4) A request for assistance in apprehending a suspect or assistance in other matters and the information necessary thereto.

(5) A warning to the public of any dangers.

(B) A lawyer or law firm associated with the prosecution or defense of a criminal matter shall not, from the time of the filing of a complaint, information, or indictment, the issuance of an arrest warrant, or arrest until the commencement of the trial or disposition without trial, make or participate in making an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication and that relates to:

(1) The character, reputation, or prior criminal record (including arrests, indictments, or other charges of crime) of the accused.

(2) The possibility of a plea of guilty to the offense charged or to a lesser offense.

(3) The existence or contents of any confession, admission, or statement given by the accused or his refusal or failure to make a statement.

(4) The performance or results of any examinations or tests or the refusal or failure of the accused to submit to examinations or tests.

(5) The identity, testimony, or credibility of a prospective witness.

(6) Any opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the accused, the evidence, or the merits of the case.

(C) DR 7-107(B) does not preclude a lawyer during such period from announcing:

(1) The name, age, residence, occupation, and family status of the accused.

(2) If the accused has not been apprehended, any information necessary to aid in his apprehension or to warn the public of any dangers he may present.

(3) A request for assistance in obtaining evidence.

(4) The identity of the victim of the crime.

(5) The fact, time, and place of arrest, resistance, pursuit, and use of weapons.

(6) The identity of investigating and arresting officers or agencies and the length of the investigation.

(7) At the time of seizure, a description of the physical evidence seized, other than a confession, admission, or statement.

(8) The nature, substance, or text of the charge.

(9) Quotations from or references to public records of the court in the case.

(10) The scheduling or result of any step in the judicial proceedings.

(11) That the accused denies the charges made against him.

(D) During the selection of a jury or the trial of a criminal matter, a lawyer or law firm associated with the prosecution or defense of a criminal matter shall not make or participate in making an extra-judicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication and that relates to the trial, parties, or issues in the trial or other matters that are reasonably likely to interfere with a fair trial, except that he may quote from or refer without comment to public records of the court in the case.

(E) After the completion of a trial or disposition without trial of a criminal matter and prior to the imposition of sentence, a lawyer or law firm associated with the prosecution or defense shall not make or participate in making an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by public communication and that is reasonably likely to affect the imposition of sentence.

(F) The foregoing provisions of DR 7-107 also apply to professional disciplinary proceedings and juvenile disciplinary proceedings when pertinent and consistent with other law applicable to such proceedings.

(G) A lawyer or law firm associated with a civil action shall not during its investigation or litigation make or participate in making an extrajudicial statement, other than a quotation from or reference to public records, that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication and that relates to:

(1) Evidence regarding the occurrence or transaction involved.

(2) The character, credibility, or criminal record of a party, witness, or prospective witness.

(3) The performance or results of any examinations or tests or the refusal or failure of a party to submit to such.

(4) His opinion as to the merits of the claims or defenses of a party, except as required by law or administrative rule.

(5) Any other matter reasonably likely to interfere with a fair trial of the action.

(H) During the pendency of an administrative proceeding, a lawyer or law firm associated therewith shall not make or participate in making a statement, other than a quotation from or reference to public records, that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication if it is made outside the official course of the proceeding and relates to:

(1) Evidence regarding the occurrence or transaction involved.

(2) The character, credibility, or criminal record of a party, witness, or prospective witness.

(3) Physical evidence or the performance or results of any examinations or tests or the refusal or failure of a party to submit to such.

(4) His opinion as to the merits of the claims, defenses, or positions of an interested person.

(5) Any other matter reasonably likely to interfere with a fair hearing.

(I) The foregoing provisions of DR 7-107 do not preclude a lawyer from replying to charges of misconduct publicly made against him or from participating in the proceedings of legislative, administrative, or other investigative bodies.

(J) A lawyer shall exercise reasonable care to prevent his employees and associates from making an extrajudicial statement that he would be prohibited from making under DR 7-107." Sep 29, 09 4:11 PM

Linda Kabot's DWI case expected to be moved to Riverhead Town Court

"Both Mr. Keahon and Ms. Kabot want to conclude the trial before the November 3 election for town supervisor."

Does that mean defense waives all pretrial suppression hearings to move this along?

Is that a jury or a bench trial?

Put the Riverhead Court on notice, I bet they will be glad to move the case right to trial given the exigencies of the impending election." Sep 30, 09 8:32 PM

Westhampton Beach Police remain mum on ongoing internal investigation of incident

If the Mayor has not been designated as the representative of the Board of Trustees to negotiate the next contract with the Chief, and if he was talking about the next contract with the Chief, then at the very least he owes the Board of Trustees an apology. He wasn't saving any one "a dime."

As for motions made, and resolutions passed at the meeting of the Board of Trustees, the notion that the motions needed more than a vote of three to be binding on this board unsupportable.

The Mayor does have some duties, and the first was to cut the comp time the Chief claims he accumulated in excess of 200 hours. He still hasn't done that, and his appointee, the Village Attorney, seems to be trying to run interference for him.

The Board of Trustees has the right and the duty to set the parameters of contract negotiations, and it can put the duty in the hands of the Labor Attorney, or another Trustee. The Mayor has no claim to that.

Change can be difficult, but it is time for a change from the "good old days" and the "good old boys."" Oct 2, 09 8:00 PM

When Chief Dean says he already initiated "the" investigation, did he really mean "an" investigation? Was the Chief doing his own, in house, investigation? OR, Had he already kicked it to an independent police agency?" Oct 3, 09 8:11 AM

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