05/14/13 9:42pm
05/14/2013 9:42 PM
Alain "Albie" de Kerillis of East Marion.

Alain “Albie” de Kerillis of East Marion.

The Suffolk County Republican Committee on Tuesday night nominated Alain “Albie” de Kerillis of East Marion as the committees’ candidate to take on incumbent Democrat Al Krupski in the race for the county Legislature seat representing the towns of Southold, Riverhead and parts of eastern Brookhaven Town.

County Republicans held their nominating convention at the Ramada Inn in Holtsville, at which they nominated candidates for county Legislature seats and renominated incumbents Tom Spota for district attorney, Angie Carpenter for treasurer and Vince DeMarco for sheriff.

Mr. Spota and Mr. DeMarco have both run with Democratic backing in the past as well.

The Republicans did not nominate someone to run for the state Assembly seat left vacant when Dan Losquadro was elected Brookhaven highway superintendent in March — but they are expected to do so soon.

“We’re just finishing up some discussions among the leaders, and we will do an announcement on [an Assembly nominee] hopefully by the end of the week,” county Republican chairman John Jay LaValle said after the convention.

Mr. de Kerillis, 46, was not present at the convention, and could not be reached for comment.

He is a veteran of the U.S. Army, where he was a paratrooper. He’s also a member and former captain of the Greenport Fire Department, a volunteer at Maureen’s Haven, which provides food and shelter for the homeless, a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Paris, France, and a commissioner of the Orient/East Marion Parks District.

He works for Riverhead Building Supply in Greenport and ran for Southold Town Board in 2009, but finished third in a race for two seats.

“Albie is a lifelong Republican and he’s in the private sector now and that’s what we like,” Mr. LaValle said. “He’s served his country with distinction. He’s a pretty well rounded guy.

“He’s someone working in the private sector who knows what’s going on out there.”

“Albie is a strong candidate, he’s a solid Republican and he’s a tireless campaigner,” said Southold Republican leader Peter McGreevy.

In the County Legislature’s second district, which represents the South Fork, the Republicans nominated Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi to challenge incumbent Jay Schneiderman of Montauk, who was elected as a Republican but has since switched his registration to the Independence Party. He was re-elected with Democratic backing two years ago.

Mr. Nuzzi has been on the Southampton Town Board for eight years, and thus, cannot serve any longer as a councilman under that town’s term limit laws.

Mr. Nuzzi said he considered running for supervisor, but decided instead to run for Legislature.

The North Fork’s seat on the county Legislature had been held for many years by Ed Romaine, but when Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko resigned last fall, Mr. Romaine ran for that seat and was elected.

That set off a special election to fill his county seat, and Mr. Krupski, a former Southold Town Board member, handily defeated Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter in January for the remainder of the term.

Shortly afterward, Mr. Losquadro ran for a vacant Brookhaven Town highway superintendent seat and won, leaving his old Assembly seat vacant.

To date, it doesn’t appear that Governor Andrew Cuomo intends to call a special election to fill the Assembly seat, instead waiting for the November general election date.

Mr. Cuomo has not publicly commented at all on his plans for the vacant Assembly seat.

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03/21/13 11:04am
03/21/2013 11:04 AM

FILE PHOTO | The state capitol in Albany.

Local and county Republican committee leaders met with seven potential candidates for the state Assembly seat vacated this month by Dan Losquadro, though it still remains unclear if a special election will be held anytime soon, party officials said.

Mr. Losquadro, of Shoreham, left state office less than four months after being elected to a second two-year term in Albany in November.

He was voted in as Brookhaven Town highway superintendent March 5.

The 2nd Assembly District encompasses all of Southold and Riverhead towns, and stretches as far as Mount Sinai along Brookhaven Town’s northern shore.


Governor Andew Cuomo must decide when to hold the special election for the remainder of Mr. Losquadro’s term.

“Nobody knows if [the special election] is going to be lumped into the general election,” said Riverhead Republican Committee chairman John Galla.

The seven people who screened at county Republican headquarters in Holtsville Wednesday night include (in no particular order):

Raymond Negron, a Mount Sinai attorney and Purple Heart recipient

John Kreutz, deputy receiver of taxes in Brookhaven Town

Stephen Kiely, a Mattituck attorney

Bob Ghosio, a Southold Town trustee

Anthony Palumbo, a New Suffolk attorney

Bill Faulk, former Ed Romaine aide of Manorville

Chris Talbot, a Southold Town Board member

The names were provided by Mr. Galla, who said he was impressed with all the candidates.

Catherine Stark, a Riverhead Republican Committee member and aide to county Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk), is considering screening but had a scheduling conflict Wednesday night, he said.

Southold and Brookhaven party chairmen also attended the screenings.

Mr. Galla said he agrees the special election coincide with the May 21 school budget votes, something the Times/Review Newsgroup editorial board has called for, rather than on Election Day. Calls to the Governor Cuomo’s office about the special election have not been returned.

“I think it makes perfect sense on so many different levels that we would combine the special elections with that of the school budgets,” Mr. Galla said. “The new voting machines are going to be in the voting places anyway, and certianly state aid to education plays into school budgets.”

“I’m not going to bash the governor, but I would ask him [to agree to a May special election], had I had the opportunity. I think he would agree on some level that the people of the Assembly District should be represented” from now until November.

“I would favor that earlier vote,” Mr. Galla continued. “I think it makes perfect legitimate sense.”

County leader John J. LaValle was not immediately available for comment.

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Read more in the March 28 News-Review newspaper.

03/18/13 1:08pm
03/18/2013 1:08 PM
Phil Cardinale eyes Assembly seat

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Former Riverhead supervisor Phil Cardinale still has more than $20,000 left in his campaign fund from his Town Board races.

Riverhead Councilman George Gabrielsen — who on Friday expressed interest in running for the state Assembly seat recently vacated by Dan Losquadro — said Monday that he has decided not to run.

Meanwhile, former Riverhead supervisor Phil Cardinale, a Democrat, said he has interest in running for the post.

But Mr. Cardinale plans to wait until the governor decides if there will be a special election before making any decision, he told the News-Review Monday.

“I have some interest in state office,” said Mr. Cardinale, a real estate attorney who lives in Jamesport. “I’m going to consider whether I have enough interest to throw my hat into the ring by talking with town leaders and others, but I haven’t done so yet.”

So far, it’s not known if Governor Andrew Cuomo will declare a special election to fill the Assembly seat or leave the seat open until the November general elections.

A spokesperson for the governor has yet to return a call from the News-Review on that question.

“There may be no special election,” Mr. Cardinale said. “Once it is clear if there will be a special election, I will make a decision. However, if the governor decided to wait until November, I will have time to consider my options.

“I don’t know if I have enough interest, and you need to have great interest to toss your hat into the rink.”

Mr. Cardinale, who served three two-year terms as Riverhead supervisor from 2004 to 2009, said he still has about $20,000 in unspent campaigns funds left over from his last race for town supervisor in 2009.

The Suffolk County Board of Elections indicates he had exactly $18,524 as of January.

Mr. Cardinale says that’s still not enough for an Assembly run, and he would also want to be sure if he has solid financial and party backing.

“I would want considerably more in that the bank than that,” he said of the figures.

The former town supervisor said he is intrigued by the possibility of  state office, because there are certain issues, like pension reform for government employees and mandate relief, where a state official can be more effective than a town official.

He also believes a Democratic Assembly member can work effectively with the Democratic governor and Democratically controlled Assembly.

The enrollment breakdown in the first Assembly District is just about even between Republicans and Democrats, he said.

Board of Elections statistics from November show 29,762 registered Republicans, 28,273 registered Democrats and 24,643 blanks (not registered with a party) in the district.

“On the other hand, I’m enjoying life,” Mr. Cardinale said. “I know first hand that when you’re in office, you’re on duty all the time. You really are a servant of the people.”

As for Mr. Gabrielsen, the councilman said he “went over the whole thing” in his head over the weekend.

“The bottom line is, I just got elected and I’ve still got  almost three years to serve in this term,” Mr. Gabrielsen said. “I have an obligation to the taxpayers. They elected me to serve four years. I feel I’ve got to do the job I was elected to do.”

He said he will not screen for the Assembly nomination, as he believes the Enterprise Park at Calverton subdivision is so close to completion, and he wants to remain on the Town Board to see that process through.

“There’s still unfinished business I feel has to be done,” Mr. Gabrielsen said.

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02/15/13 4:00pm
02/15/2013 4:00 PM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | Former congressman George Hochbrueckner addressing the Riverhead Town Board in October.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | George Hochbrueckner addressing the Riverhead Town Board in October.

State legislation needed to create a special commission to fast-track development proposals at Riverhead Town’s Enterprise Park at Calverton was re-introduced in both the state Senate and Assembly last week, officials said.

The bill last year was approved in the Senate but never even came up for a vote in the Assembly.

Supervisor Sean Walter, who has touted the proposed commission as a key to redeveloping the former Grumman site now referred to as EPCAL, said he’s heading up to Albany the week of Feb. 25 to meet with some key Assembly members.

“Congressman Hochbrueckner is my new strategy,” Mr. Walter said of Assembly efforts this go-around. “Last year I went as far as a Republican supervisor for the Town of Riverhead could go, and congressman Hochbruecker is the next step.”

Former congressman George Hochbrueckner, a Democrat who lived in Coram when he held New York’s First Congressional seat in the mid-1990s, was recently hired by the town as a lobbyist on EPCAL issues, since he was the congressman who wrote the legislation that got EPCAL turned over to the town for economic development once the Grumman Corporation left.

In addition to being a congressman, Mr. Hochbrueckner, who now lives in Laurel, served as a state assemblyman before he ran for Congress.

The bill proposed last week is exactly the same as the one submitted last year, according to Drew Biondo, an aide to state Senator Ken Lavalle (R-Port Jefferson), who is again sponsoring the bill in the Senate.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor), is again the main sponsor in the Assembly, with Assemblyman Dan Losquadro (R-Shoreham) and Assemblyman Ed Henesssey (D-Medford) as co-sponsors.

The bill is based on legislation used in Devens, Mass, in that is seeks to get all of the players involved in processing development applications at EPCAL in the room at the same time, so that projects aren’t stalled by having to go from one level of government to another.

If approved, it would establish a seven-member commission comprising five Town Board members, along with one member each appointed by the governor and the county executive. There also would be two non-voting, ex-officio members who would come from civic or environmental groups.

Mr. Walter said that he and deputy supervisor Jill Lewis, deputy town attorney Annmarie Prudenti and community development agency director Chris Kempner are also heading upstate with him. They have even registered as state lobbyists for the upcoming trip to Albany, he said.

Mr, Walter said Ms. Prudenti suggested this.

“I personally don’t think the town supervisor has to register as a lobbyist to speak with state representatives,” he said.

Last year, Mr. Walter said there were some officials in the Assembly who wanted the bill to be redrafted to help their own districts, and others who feared it would set a bad precedent in their districts.

“I think it just ran out of time in the Assembly,” Mr. Biondo said.

The commission, which would also have a paid executive director, would be similar to the state Pine Barrens Commission, in that an overall plan for the area in question is developed first, and development applications that comply with that plan can be approved quickly.

The town would retain zoning power, but any plan that is submitted and deemed a complete application must be acted on by the commission within 90 days, or it is automatically approved, according to the proposed legislation.

If the bill fails again, Mr. Walter said that assuming he is re-elected in November, he probably would resubmit it for a third try the next year.

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01/18/13 5:00pm
01/18/2013 5:00 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Assemblyman Dan Losquadro in 2011.

Members of a pro-gun Long Island web forum have been bombarding state Assemblyman Dan Losquadro’s Facebook page with comments critical of his vote in favor of stricter gun control measures in New York State.

They’re also complaining that their comments are getting deleted.

And at least one member has started a Facebook page called “Dan Losquadro is Dishonest,” calling on people to protest the second-term assemblyman’s campaign events as he runs for Brookhaven Town highway superintendent.

“Dan has told everyone he is an avid shooter, supporter of the Second Amendment, and is against the rifle ban that was recently passed in New York and then only hours later he voted for it,” the “Dan Losquadro is Dishonest” page states.

The 6,000-member Long Island Firearms website reports comments members posted on the Brookhaven Town Republican Committee Facebook page have also been removed.

“What would we expect?” one poster wrote. “They don’t support the 2nd Amendement, why would they support the 1st?”

“Nothing worse than a politician who isn’t man enough to face the music for a vote he cast,” another stated.

Mr. Losquadro, a Republican from Shoreham and self-described pro-Second Amendment advocate, says he voted for the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act because there were sections the Republicans were able to negotiate into it which he feels will have more of an effect on gun crime that gun restrictions.

These include requirements that mental health care providers report threats made by patients, increased penalties for gun offenses, a section making gun ownership records no longer public, and measures streamlining the steps needed to get mental health care for people who need it.

He says he’s been taking phone calls about his vote and is happy to explain his position to anyone who calls.

As for the Facebook comments, he said “it’s a political page and I actually don’t manage that page.”

“I think, ultimately, there were comments that were inappropriate, there were comments that had nothing to do with the post they were attached to, and I think, ultimately, it was decided that instead of getting into a back and forth with individuals, the page was taken down for a period of time,” he said.

He said the people he’s spoken to about his vote have come to understand the process that went into it.

“The way this process was forced on the legislature by the governor, there were a lot of things negotiated into the bill by the Republicans that the Democrats did not want to give up,” he said. “Voting against those things we tried so hard to get in this bill that would have had a real effect on public safety, wasn’t something I wanted to do.”

“I have tried to call everybody back and speak about it,” Mr. Losquadro said.

Mr. Losquadro says there are things in the bill he disagrees with, such as the seven-round limit on magazine size,  but he believes the good parts of the bill were more important.

He’s also heard from a lot of people concerned about gun violence in the wake of the recents shootings at a Connecticut elementary school, he said, adding that he’s spoke at a lot of local school forums on the subject.

“There are a lot of people who are very nervous about [gun violence],” he said.

In a press release on his vote on the SAFE bill, issued earlier this week, Mr. Losquadro said:

“This is not a perfect world and at the end of the day I voted for the act because I do believe it will make a positive difference in making our communities and schools safer. As the husband of a teacher and the father of a 3 year old son, that is my top priority.”

And what about state Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), who also voted for the SAFE act?

He seems to have gotten off easier than Mr. Losquadro. There’s just a few mentions of him on the Long Island Firearms site, and some comments about the SAFE act posted on his Facebook page.

The senator, however, also had previously set up a strict policy for posting to his Facebook page, which says the page’s managers have the right to remove comments that are, among other things, derogatory, inappropriate, personal attacks, or not related to the original post or discussion.

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11/08/12 6:00am
11/08/2012 6:00 AM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Senator Ken LaValle delivers his acceptance speech Tuesday. Mr. LaValle has served in the New York State Senate since 1976.

The past couple years haven’t left us feeling warm and fuzzy about our government.

The historically partisan 112th Congress accomplished very little before returning home Sept. 21, the earliest it’s broken up to begin an election season in more than 50 years.

Our state government’s most effective moments over the past 15 months were spent undoing past missteps, like battling the MTA tax and finally approving marriage equality.

At the county level, we’re constantly reminded that we’re broke, then we have to stand by and listen as legislators and the county executive argue over just how broke we are. Meanwhile, the only fixes they seem interested in making are short-term and we remain no better off financially then we were the year before.

Our one saving grace here on the North Fork has been strong local representation. Now, it appears, we’ll need our elected leaders to flex their muscles more than ever before.

According to early election reports and projections, each of our local elected officials at the state and federal level will likely serve in the minority caucus next year. That will certainly be the case for Congressman Tim Bishop and state Assemblyman Dan Losquadro — and it appears Ken LaValle could be back in the minority in the state Senate.

If a Republican is elected this February to replace Ed Romaine in the County Legislature, we’ll also be represented by a freshman legislator in the minority party.

Now that the election is over, we need our representatives to turn their attention to delivering for the North Fork. And we need them to fight harder than ever before.

We will need firm leadership in battling issues like water pollution as we move forward in the months following superstorm Sandy. We will also need our representatives to continue to fight development and preserve the remaining parcels of open space in our communities, even as funding becomes tougher to come by. Additionally, we keep hearing reports that the helicopter noise issue is being resolved, but that’s usually followed by the sound of choppers overhead.

And, of course, these elected officials will have to do their part to mitigate tax increases as they work to level record deficits.

Each of the local representatives re-elected this week received the support of this editorial board. They received our support because we believe they have what it takes to tackle the many issues facing our communities.

Now, even as they serve in the minority caucus, they have to prove it.