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Editorial: Re-elect Walter in Riverhead

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter (Jan. 27, 2011)

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter (Jan. 27, 2011) Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

Every town on Long Island has problems, but the Town of Riverhead has one problem that should be easily remedied: the term of its town supervisor is just two years. Some other towns have sensibly adopted four-year terms, and Riverhead should do the same.

That would take voter approval, yet the question isn't on the ballot this year. So why does it matter now? The issue is continuity, which makes it crucially important to the question of who should be elected town supervisor in the upcoming election. A two-year term makes it too difficult to take an appropriately long-term view of such matters as what to do with the 2,900-acre Calverton property known as EPCAL.

Phil Cardinale, the 62-year-old Democratic challenger from Jamesport, served three terms as town supervisor until his narrow defeat two years ago by Sean Walter, a 45-year-old Republican from Wading River. Both men are intelligent, experienced attorneys who've done a decent job running their fractious town. And both have notable weaknesses. Neither is the best consensus-builder in the world. Both have hurled ugly charges at one another.

During his tenure, Cardinale and others laid the groundwork for much of the downtown revival now under way. He was decisive in heading off a fiscal disaster mushrooming from the town's landfill.

But Walter has successfully continued and expanded the downtown renaissance, working closely with business and cheerleading at every opportunity. Riverhead, a town with too much turmoil and turnover, needs continuity. Newsday endorses Walter. hN