Southampton faces clear and well-defined issues. Jay Schneiderman and Richard Yastrzemski agree on most of them. Water quality and environmental protection are critical. Development must continue but not go too far. Housing that's affordable is needed for the middle and working classes currently priced out of the East End.
But in the race to succeed Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, who is leaving to run for Congress, Schneiderman's long history of legislative and executive experience and his knack for creative solutions make him the right person for the job.
Schneiderman, 53, of Southampton, an Independence Party member running on the Democratic line, is finishing his 12th and final year in the Suffolk legislature. Before that, he served four years as supervisor of East Hampton. Yastrzemski, 49, a Southampton Republican, is a financial adviser and deputy mayor of Southampton Village.
Both stress the importance of upgrading antiquated residential septic systems, which requires working closely with Suffolk County; Schneiderman is better-positioned to do that. They share concerns about overdevelopment, but Schneiderman has a more detailed and nuanced approach. Yastrzemski says the ship has sailed on preserving land at a proposed golf course/residential subdivision in East Quogue. Schneiderman says preservation still is possible and also wants a moratorium on such planned development districts to give the town time to re-examine the law that allows them. Both support affordable housing, but Schneiderman has an intriguing idea for the town to match young professionals with empty-nest homeowners who have space for apartments and the willingness to rent them.
Newsday endorses Schneiderman.