Huntington Supervisor / Town Board
Huntington is at a crossroads: The question is whether the Town surrenders to unchecked apartment developments, or whether we keep our suburban and green neighborhoods and way of life.The two candidates for Town Supervisor represent very different approaches, with Councilman Ed Smyth representing the much better path forward.
Smyth has served one four-year term on the Town Board, as part of a majority coalition. The results have been impressive. Smyth led the effort to fight - and then settle - the decade-long litigation against LIPA. The Northport power plant was massively over-assessed, and LIPA wanted its taxes cut 80% and a $800 million refund on past over-payments. Had LIPA won, the Town and Northport School District would be bankrupt - with taxpayers facing 100% property tax increases. Smyth led the negotiations - and settled on terms no one thought possible: LIPA abandoned its refund, and cut its tax reduction in half, phased-in over a decade. Every major observer - from this newspaper to liberal Newsday - has praised the result.
Smyth has also distinguished himself in preserving our historic downtowns against uncontrolled development. Smyth sponsored the local law to stop uncontrolled apartment building, and has been critical of the political-favor development "giveaways" that characterized the waning years of the Democrats' 25-year reign in Town Hall.
The Democrats' Rebecca Sanin is clearly the "B Team." She is the head of a failing leftist not-for-profit that has declined under her control. Her only prior government experience was as a low-level political appointee in Steve Bellone's county administration. She wants more apartments, and higher taxes - just what we don't need.
The Leader endorses Ed Smyth for Supervisor, and Ed's Republican teammates businessman Sal Ferro, and educator Dr. Dave Bennardo for Town Board..
The Highway Superintendent is one of those positions that voters often ignore. Not this year. The incumbent Kevin Orelli has been a total disaster - turning the office into a political patronage sump, putting grossly unqualified political hacks - with huge salaries - into positions they are not qualified to do. Worse, Orelli's operatives have politically meddled in everything - including trying to gin-up fake press stories and criminal investigations. We need road engineers, not political hit men.
Andre Sorrentino is a decent, likeable, well-meaning man. He currently and competently heads the Town's General Services Department. The Leader endorses Andre Sorrentino for Highway Superintendent.
Suffolk Legislature - 18th North Shore District
Democrat Mark Cuthbertson, a 22-year incumbent on the Town Board, is facing Stephanie Bontempi, a Centerport educator, who holds two Master's degrees and teaches at the Greenvale School..
In a race that should have been about "ideas" regarding the direction of Suffolk County, Cuthbertson has done the inexplicable - made the race into a vile expression of his anti-woman sexism and misogyny - as he distorts Bontempi's features in his ads, mocks her as a "dumb blonde" and then attacks not her - but her husband - a local businessman. Cuthbertson's strange nasty campaign has earned the rejection of most of the local media, and even brought former Town Clerk Joann Raia out of retirement to denounce him.
Count this newspaper among those who find Cuthbertson's tactics rude, sexist, misogynistic and offensive. Stephanie Bontempi is a capable, professional woman. The Leader endorses Stephanie Bontempi for Suffolk Legislature.