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Striegel: A rare politician keeps his ego in check

In a refreshing pledge, Larry Cantwell, the new

In a refreshing pledge, Larry Cantwell, the new supervisor of the Town of East Hampton, says he won't ask for his name to put on town park signs. (Nov. 15, 2012) Credit: John Roca

Three cheers to newly installed East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell, who told the town board on Thursday that they should not be surprised if they don’t see his name on signs at town parks. “It is not because the parks department forgot,” he said. “I asked they not waste time and money preparing these signs.”

How many of us have shaken our heads in disgust at the way elected officials plaster their names on public buildings, park signs, road signs, construction signs, wooden road barriers, summer movie posters and even highway truck mudflaps? It seems that no public official from the highest level on down, and from any party, can resist the free advertising and chance to puff up his or her accomplishments — all at taxpayer expense.

In the late 1980s, the practice became a campaign issue when a candidate for Suffolk County executive attacked his opponent, the acting executive, for emblazoning his image and name on an anti-drunken-driving poster. The challenger said the incumbent used more than $500,000 in county funds to promote himself on the poster, as well as on trick-or-treat bags and anti-arson comic books.

Cantwell told the town board that his name will be posted only at one place -- East Hampton Town Hall. We hope that newly sworn officials settling into their jobs this week across Long Island, as well as those politicians who have been entrenched for years, will follow Cantwell’s lead.