09/19/13 6:00am
09/19/2013 6:00 AM

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Town Democratic nominees, from left, Icilio ‘Bill’ Bianchi, Millie Thomas, Angela DeVito and Greg Fischer in May.

To the editor:

Grant Parpan’s column last week walked us through the corrosive infighting that we’ve witnessed among the members of the all-Republican Town Board these past four years. He ended it with a wonderful quote from Republican Councilman Jim Wooten, who observed: “If I were a Democrat, I’d seize the momentum. I hate to say it, but it’s true. They have a real opportunity here.”

I agree with Mr. Wooten. But we Democrats have an advantage that extends far beyond voter disgust with the self-dealing government we have all had to put up with, to our great detriment. Our unquestioned potential to take back Town Hall is found more fundamentally in the highly qualified and selfless candidates who will appear on the Democratic line on Nov. 5: Angela DeVito for supervisor and Bill Bianchi and Millie Thomas for council.

These good people also have a unified Democratic Committee behind them – the strongest party organization I’ve seen in decades, led by our new town leader, Marjorie Acevedo, a dynamo with boundless energy and smarts. Our current supervisor — the modest, self-effacing and breathtakingly charming Sean Walter — is fond of referring to his opponents as “toast.” This November, it will be Mr. Walter and his Republicans who will be toast.

John Stefans, Northville

Mr. Stefans is a Riverhead Town Democratic Committee member.

06/07/13 3:11pm
06/07/2013 3:11 PM

TIM KELLY PHOTO | Assembly hopeful Jennifer Maertz addresses the Southold Democratic Party during its May 29 convention.

Rocky Point attorney Jennifer Maertz will try to accomplish through a primary what she couldn’t do through political conventions, namely gain the Democratic Party’s nomination in this year’s special State Assembly election.

The party’s official choice is Manhattan attorney John McManmon, who lives in Brooklyn but uses his parent’s Aquebogue home as his permanent address.

“Maybe it’s a get-your-feet-wet or get-name-recognition race,” said Ms. Maertz. “I’d hate to see this become a throwaway race, which it appears to be.”

Rather than have the county leadership make the choice, the party took the unusual route of leaving the nomination to the three local committees. For the 2nd Assembly District, that’s the organizations in Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southold. Mr. McManmon finished first with Ms. Maertz second.

The Republican candidate is New Suffolk attorney Tony Palumbo.

The winner will fill what’s left of the unexpired term of former Assemblyman Dan Losquadro, who won a special election earlier this year to become Brookhaven highway superintendent.

Ms. Maertz argues that she has far more government experience than the 28-year-old Mr. McManmon.

In the political arena, she ran unsuccessfully for a state Senate seat against Republican incumbent Kenneth LaValle in 2010. She replaced Regina Calcaterra of New Suffolk in that race after Ms. Calcaterra was disqualified for failing to meet the residency requirement.

Last year Ms. Maertz again ran for the state Senate, but lost a Democratic primary to Southampton Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, who then lost to Mr. LaValle.

Mr. McManmon does not concede the experience question.

“I’m younger than most people seeking public office, but I am extremely well qualified, have deep roots in the community and an absolutely the right person for the job.

He also argues that the residency question is a non-issue.

“Once people understand the facts they’ll know that I’m well within the spirit of the law,” he said. The attorney also rejects the idea that he’s waging a throwaway race.

“I am 100 percent committed to winning,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in it if I didn’t think I could win.”

tkelly@timesreview.com