Editorial: Suffolk Democrats hold on, and so does Vecchio
One of yesterday’s most interesting election night dramas involved the effort by Suffolk Democrats to hold onto their supermajority in the county legislature. They did — barely.
Republicans picked up a seat to cut the margin to 12-6, exactly the number needed to make borrowing easier for County Executive Steve Bellone. But that seat wasn’t just any seat. It was the 14th district, in the heart of Babylon Town, home turf of Bellone and party boss Richard Schaffer. Kevin McCaffrey, the deputy mayor of Lindenhurst, beat financial planner Thomas Dolan, on whose behalf Bellone and Schaffer went to war.
They poured money and resources into the campaign. Bellone made several robocalls. Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote a letter. Residents were bombarded with fliers featuring Bellone and Schaffer more than Dolan. But McCaffrey prevailed.
We welcome another independent voice to the legislature. But we also implore the party’s majority — including those whose victories were cemented by support from Schaffer and Bellone — to speak with a strong voice and not shy away from redirecting Bellone when he goes off-track. We’ll be watching newcomers William Lindsay III and Monica Martinez in particular, hoping their independence will not be compromised by party support.
The other big news in Suffolk was yet another victory by Smithtown’s 35-year supervisor Patrick Vecchio, who won a three-way race with less than 45 percent of the vote.
More people, in other words, deplored the town’s deteriorating roads and crumbling infrastructure than backed his mantra of low taxes, low debt and keeping everything the same.
It is customary the morning after to congratulate the winner and convey best wishes in dealing with the problems that await. And Vecchio’s run indeed has been amazing. But his refusal to act proactively or creatively or energetically has been a big factor in the town’s decline. And with such a long track record, there is little reason to expect the 83-year-old supervisor will change his M.O.
So there you have it, Smithtown — four more years.