Editorial: Anna Throne-Holst for Southampton supervisor
The longest-running drama in Southampton Town is the rivalry between incumbent supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and former supervisor Linda Kabot. When they ran against each other for the first time in 2008, Kabot was the incumbent and the town was in a financial crisis. Kabot also was under the cloud of an arrest on a drunken-driving charge two months before Election Day. She lost that election, but later was acquitted by a jury. In 2011, she waged an unsuccessful write-in campaign when town Republicans failed to nominate a candidate.
In her two terms, Throne-Holst, 53, of Sag Harbor, an Independence Party member also running on the Democratic line, has straightened out the town's finances while working with a GOP town board majority. Staff has been reduced by 13 percent, debt is down and reserves have more than doubled. Both operating costs and the tax levy have been flat for four years, including in Throne-Holst's proposed budget for 2014.
Kabot, 45, a Republican from Quogue who was supervisor for one term and a councilwoman for six years, agrees the town is in good financial shape, but says the recovery was made possible by a corrective-action plan she put in place for 2010. Throne-Holst disagrees. Kabot complains that Throne-Holst's 2014 budget raids reserve funds; Throne-Holst says those funds would remain well above statutory minimums. They also disagree on Southampton's police force; Kabot says it's understaffed, Throne-Holst says staffing is adequate and notes the town now has access to extra support by participating in the East End Drug Task Force. While both advocate for environmental protections, Throne-Holst offers some exciting new ideas, such as a state-funded collaboration among local research institutions to develop ways to reduce nitrogen emissions from septic systems.
Throne-Holst has presided over Southampton's financial recovery while articulating a vision for the future. That's a winning combination.
Newsday endorses Throne-Holst.