Guest Spot: There’s a better way for Riverhead

06/30/2011 4:23 AM |

After a close and painful election loss in November 2009, what I thought I needed most was to withdraw from the limelight and avoid comment about town matters. I did that for more than a year. I stopped talking, but I couldn’t stop listening. And what I heard from my successor disturbed me.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
I thought about that and about what I had tried to do during my six years as Riverhead Town supervisor — much of which was being undone by my successor.

I discovered Riverhead’s future still did matter to me, and I was sure there was a better way for Riverhead.

I’d come full circle. I stopped being silent. Around the first day of spring this year I decided to run.

What is a better way for Riverhead? A town government that’s honest, open, fair and prudent. It’s what we don’t have and badly need. It’s why I’m running and why I’m asking the questions that follow.

HONEST

How is it honest for a supervisor to announce after his election that he will continue his law practice and work part-time at that while accepting a full-time salary from the town?

How is it honest for a supervisor to credit himself with the work of his predecessor and others downtown, where virtually every project now under way was started before he came into office?

How is it honest for a supervisor to claim the town is nearly in an all-out fiscal crisis when the town actually has over $7 million in reserve funds and its highest credit rating ever?

Dishonesty steals our better future.  Honesty is a better way for Riverhead.

Open

How is it open for our supervisor to disregard town ethics law and refuse to identify law clients he represented before town agencies?

How is it open for the Town Board to repeatedly discuss in closed executive session topics that the open meetings law requires be discussed in public?

How is it open to repeatedly fail to program Channel 22, leaving silent and black the government public access channel?

How is it open to schedule for the same time public hearings on proposed actions and the actual votes on those actions — telegraphing the Town Board’s disregard for public input?

How is it open to take months to respond to Freedom of Information Law requests, which must by law be answered within five days?

How is it open to announce a taxpayer-financed investigation of possible criminal wrongdoing by town workers, and then refuse to discuss the investigation or disclose its results or refer the matter to the Suffolk County District Attorney?

Information is the lifeblood of democracy. Open government is a better way for Riverhead.

Fair

How is it fair for our supervisor to disregard the Master Plan and the zoning laws passed after years of public participation as “a load of crap”?

How is it fair for the Town Board to look the other way, fail to protect our neighborhoods and disregard the laws governing land use in order to benefit political supporters?

How is it fair for the town to treat some town residents differently than others?

The rule of law applies to all of us. Enforce the law equally. No special rules for special people. That’s a better way for Riverhead.

Prudent

How is it prudent for our supervisor to refuse to even consider comprehensive redevelopment and condemnation downtown when virtually the entire south side of Main Street is empty?

How is it prudent to lay off a fire marshal, jeopardizing public safety?

How is it prudent for our supervisor to refuse to even consider purchase offers at the Grumman property, leaving the land off the tax rolls indefinitely while spending more than $500,000 on another unnecessary study?

How is it prudent for our supervisor to use our tax dollars to play real estate developer at the Grumman property, wasting years of time, spending millions of dollars and taking enormous risks with taxpayer money?

Prudence is a better way for Riverhead.

To find that “A Better Way for Riverhead” we must talk to each other, not through each other. In that spirit and with that hope, Ibegin my run for supervisor.

Mr. Cardinale, of Jamesport, is the Democratic candidate for town supervisor. He is a lawyer and former Riverhead Town supervisor.

7 Comment

  • Phil, I think you answered your own question. Sean knows nothing about being Honest, Open, Fair, or Prudent. There are fools around here that think a few new businesses mean Sean is doing a great job, when in reality the town is imploding from the inside. As you noted, many of these businesses were already underway prior to his arrival anyway. This administration is a disaster, and any fiscal crisis can be placed at the feet of our illustrious financial adminstrator, who also has Sean’s full support.

  • Mr. Cardinale, your act is getting very old and tired.

    How honest was it that you practiced law all the time YOU were Supervisor feeding business to your law firm in Jamesport and even having the gall to advertise [in this newspaper] that your firm would assist clients having problems with the Master Plan?

  • PHIL, WHY DON’T YOU POST YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS INSTEAD OF ALWAYS KNOCKING EVERYONE ELSE.I AM SURE YOUR ARTICLE WOULD BE A LOT SHORTER AND YOU HAD 6 YEARS TO GET THINGS DONE AND IN A GOOD ECONOMIC MARKET.YOU ALSO SAY YOU DID NOT PRACTICE LAW WHEN YOU WERE IN OFFICE,ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THAT.HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU VIOLATE THE OPEN MEETING LAWS???

  • FIRST HOSED1 YOU SHOULD POST YOUR REAL NAME IF YOU WANT TO MAKE NASTY COMMENTS ABOUT PEOPLE.SECOND YOUR FRIEND PHIL CARDINALE HIRED BILL ROTHAR AND I HAVE A FEELING THAT MAYBE PHIL WAS NOT TOO ANXIOUS TO GET THE AUDIT DONE.UNDER SEAN AND THE TOWN BOARD MR ROTHAR GOT THE AUDIT DONE.WHY WOULD YOU FIRE YOUR COMPTROLLER AND THEN START FROM SCRATCH???I THINK THAT YOU AND THE PEOPLE OF RIVERHEAD SHOULD KEEP ONE VERY IMPORTANT THING ON YOUR MIND,THAT IS THE 5000.00 DOLLARS THE TAX PAYERS PAY EVERY SINGLE DAY BECAUSE PHIL LET IT HAPPEN (THE LANDFILL ).HE WAS TOLD BY MORE THAN ONE OF HIS ADVISORS TO STOP IT BUT INSTEAD HE MADE A JOKE OUT OF IT.THE WORST PART IS WE COULD NOT BOND IT BECAUSE HE DID NOT FIND IT IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO GET THE AUDITS DONE.WE WOULD BE PAYING A LOT LESS IN TAXES IF WE WHERE NOT STUCK WITH THAT BILL AND WE WOULD HAVE A LOT OF MONEY IN OUR RESERVE ACCOUNT WHICH WE DON’T BECAUSE PHIL USED THAT MONEY TO HELP DEFRAY THE LANDFILL DEBACLE

  • Ray, I prefer to be anonymous, but that doesn’t mean what I say is untrue. Sorry if the truth hurts. Phil is not my friend, and I don’t even know the man. I am Republican, but can look at facts objectively. I know he hired Mr. Rothaar, but I can see that you foolishly follow Sean blindly. The audits got done because the town hired a slew of accountants, at great expense, because Mr. Rothaar doesn’t do his job. All of the things that have come out in the last 18 months with no consequences ARE Sean’s fault. He protects his Republican buddy. When Phil left office, the audits were one year behind, and Sean did nothing for his first year to see that 2008 and 2009 were completed. That only added to the town’s inability to bond, and cost the taxpayers even more. Yes, I would fire Mr. Rothaar, since there is a Deputy Administrator, and based on his track record!!! The landfill was a debacle, but did not happen overnight, and not with just Phil’s vote.

  • Good article, this administration is a disgrace. In past administrations you could walk into town hall and talk to anyone on the board, they were always there, ready to help, this latest crop is self serving and aloof, and embodies not what Republicans are all about, but the worst of what they can be when they have no souls. Vote out Giglio and Walter, especially.

  • I believe George deserves to be re-elected though. Otherwise, everyone running for re-election in November needs to go!!