05/29/13 11:43am
05/29/2013 11:43 AM
McManmon of Aquebogue, NYC

COURTESY PHOTO | John McManmon outside his family’s home in Aquebogue.

It appears New York City attorney John McManmon has the support he needs to run for the state Assembly seat vacated by Republican Dan Losquadro last year.

Suffolk’s Democrats left the decision to the Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southold town committees and on Wednesday morning Mr. McManmon held a mathematically insurmountable lead for the Democratic nod.

The Southold committee is scheduled to hold its convention Wednesday evening, the last of the three to do so, but its numbers are not enough to change the outcome.

Other Democratic contenders included Cutchogue winery owner Jim Waters of Manorville, Rocky Point attorney Jennifer Maertz, East End Arts director Pat Snyder of Jamesport, Suffolk County Park Police officer Tom Schiliro of Manorville and Riverhead attorney Ron Hariri.

Suffolk’s Democrats gathered on May 20, but rather than select an Assembly candidate the party took the unusual step of putting the choice in the hands of the party committees within the 2nd Assembly District, which extends from north central Brookhaven east to Fishers Island.

Riverhead’s Democrats met first, holding their convention last Thursday night, and offering their support for Mr. McManmon. The voting was weighted based on the number of gubernatorial votes cast in each town in the last state elections.

The Riverhead committee gave 4,280 votes to Mr. McManmon. He picked up another 1,843.5 at the Brookhaven contention Tuesday night to give him a total of 6,123.5. Ms. Maertz received 2,196.5. Even if Southold gave all of its votes to Ms. Maertz, which appeared unlikely, she would still come in second to Mr. McManmon. None of the other candidates came close.

Although its votes won’t affect the outcome, Southold was expected to support Jim Waters, the owner of Waters Crest Winery and a Manorville resident.

“I think he’s extremely well qualified and we’re going to do all we can to support him,” said Art Tillman, Southold Democratic Committee leader.

Although it appears he’s receive the nomination, there’s been a backlash over Mr. McManmon’s candidacy based on his residency. Mr. McManmon, 28, works for a Manhattan law firm called Millbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCoy, and his address is listed as that of his parents in Aquebogue, although some have said he lives at an apartment on Dean Street in Brooklyn.

He said last Thursday that although he lives in Brooklyn during the week for work purposes, he still votes here.

Mr. McManmon’s father, James, is an attorney who works for OTB and who has made three unsuccessful runs at a state Assembly seat. His mother, Jeanne O’Rourke, is a deputy commissioner for the Board of Elections.

“If you check with the Board of Elections, John has been registered from his family address since he was 18,” said Riverhead Democratic Committee chairwoman Marge Acevedo. “His job is in New York City and he travels back and forth. His residency should not be in question at all. There are no real jobs out here and people should take that into consideration. Once everybody meets him they’ll know he was born and bred in Riverhead.”

Referring to the name of Riverhead School District athletic teams, she added, “He’s a Blue Waves kid.”

tkelly@timesreview.com

05/23/13 9:29pm

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Riverhead Republican nominees, from left, Mike Panchak, Laverne Tennenberg, John Dunleavy, Sean Walter, Anthony Palumbo and Jodi Giglio.

It’s Sean Walter vs. Angela DeVito for Riverhead Town Supervisor.

The incumbent Republican Mr. Walter and the Democrat and former school board president Ms. Devito received the nominations of their respective parties Thursday night.

Despite having twice won elections for Town Supervisor, Mr. Walter wasn’t a guaranteed nominee. Assessor Mason Haas and Councilman Jim Wooten had both screened with party officials, but come Thursday both had backed off plans to oppose the sitting supervisor.

Mr. Haas even went so far as to nominate Mr. Walter, who promised to “be a better supervisor.” When asked if he was surprised by the support shown to him Thursday, Mr. Walter admitted he hasn’t always been a friend to everyone in the party.

“I think it’s very easy to lose sight of the people that got you elected and by reconnecting with the committee and finding out what their needs and concerns are to get renominated brings you back to your roots,” Mr. Walter said.

“In my zeal to get things done I ran over a lot of people,” he added.

Mr Wooten said that’s just how things are.

“There are no friends in politics,” he said. “We can’t afford to look back. We have to look forward.”

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

Ms. DeVito was nominated with the unanimous support of the Democratic screening committee, though current Riverhead school board president Ann Cotten-DeGrasse and Greg Fischer of Calverton received support from the floor. Ms. DeVito easily won the nomination, though.

She said recent votes give her hope she can win the election.

“This is the year,” she said. “The thing I learned in the Obama campaign and the Krupski campaign is that we Democrats can win. I got three calls for Sean Walter this year. He is scared. He is worried about the Democratic slate … we are going to bring the people together.”

Ms. DeVito, 64, is a member and former president of the Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association and is retired from her position as director of workforce development with the Long Island Building Trades Council.

Icilio “Bill” Bianchi and Millie Thomas received the Democratic nominations for Town Council. George “Gio” Woodson received the nomination for re-election as Highway Superintendent. Mr. Fischer later received the Democratic nomination for Assessor.

Mr. Bianchi, 82, is a former New York State Assemblyman who used to live in Bellport and now lives in Riverhead and owns a greenhouse on Doctors Path, where he grows orchids.

Ms. Thomas, 62,  is a real estate broker and owner of Landmark Realty in Wading River.

As expected, incumbent Republican council members Jodi Giglio and Jon Dunleavy were nominated for re-election. No other designations were made. Afterward Anthony Coates, who had screened with GOP officials, said he’s going to move forward with a primary campaign.

“I am running for the town board to propose new policy,” he said. “I am running to offer fresh ideas and to be a new voice.”

Laverne Tennenberg received the GOP nomination for re-election as assessor, while Mike Panchak was nominated to oppose incumbent Democrat George “Gio” Woodson for Highway Superintendent.

Riverhead Democrats voted to support John McManmon of Jamesport for the vacant state Assembly seat, though the move was met with controversy. While he’s registered to vote at his parents’ address in Jamesport, some Democrats, led by Greg Fischer of Calverton said he lives in New York City.

Mr. McManmon, an attorney in Manhattan, told the News-Review he does live in Brooklyn during the week for work purposes but has always voted here.

Brookhaven and Southold Democrats still have to choose a nominee for Assembly at their town conventions next week.

Republicans announced earlier Thursday that they will support New Suffolk attorney Anthony Palumbo for Assembly.

ORIGINAL STORY

Rootin’ for Wooten for Supervisor? Have a hankering for some Haas?

Sorry, this doesn’t appear to be your year after all.

GOP sources said Thursday that Riverhead Town Councilman Jim Wooten and Assessor Mason Haas have both backed down from their intent to run for Town Supervisor. Instead, sources have confirmed, incumbent Supervisor Sean Walter, 46, is expected to get the support of the Republican Committee at tonight’s nominating convention at Polish Hall.

The same sources said Thursday that incumbent council members Jodi Giglio and John Dunleavy will also get nominations for re-election, as has been expected.

Mr. Wooten, 53, stopped short of saying he’s no longer interested in running for supervisor, but he did say he’s in favor of party unity.

“The convention is tonight, and you never know what will happen,” Mr. Wooten said. “But I think the Republican Party is poised to stand together and unify their choices, and as far as my pulling out, I’m going to do what’s best for the party.” He declined to say if that meant he would not challenge Mr. Walter in a primary.

Mr. Haas, 55, could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday. Riverhead GOP chairman John Galla declined comment.

Town Board hopeful Anthony Coates, 52, appears poised to wage a primary battle in the likely event he fails to earn a nomination over Ms. Giglio, 44, and Mr. Dunleavy, 72.

“It’s a decision I will make in the aftermath of the convention, but I am strongly leaning in that direction,” he said.

The GOP convention at Polish Hall is scheduled for 7 p.m., the same time Democrats will gather at the nearby VFW Hall.

The Riverhead Democratic screening committee is recommending Angela DeVito for Supervisor, and Icilio “Bill” Bianchi and Millie Thomas for council, according to Democratic chair Marge Acevedo. The screening process took more than 35 hours, and they screened four people for supervisor and seven for council, she said.

The screening committee recommendations don’t always get the support of the full committee, as was the case two years ago.

Ms. DeVito, 64, is a former Riverhead Board of Education president, a member and former president of the Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association and is retired from her position as director of workforce development with the Long Island Building Trades Council.

Mr. Bianchi, 82, is a former New York State Assemblyman who used to live in Bellport and now lives in Riverhead and owns a greenhouse on Doctors Path, where he grows orchids.

Ms. Thomas, 62,  is a real estate broker and owner of Landmark Realty in Wading River.

tgannon@timesreview.com

04/16/13 4:56pm
04/16/2013 4:56 PM

VERA CHINESE FILE PHOTO | Riverhead school board president Anne Cotten-Degrasse is considering a run for Riverhead Town Supervisor.

While the Riverhead Republicans appear to have some high profile internal battles for Town Board seats awaiting them this election season, the town Democrats are taking a more low-key approach.

The committee is just beginning to set up a schedule now to screen potential candidates.

“Our screening committee will be meeting tomorrow night to set up a schedule for next week,” said Riverhead Democratic Committee chairwoman Marge Acevedo. “We have had about six people that have expressed a desire to screen. So far we have three for supervisor and three for council. Our screening committee has always had a policy that we do not give out names, if the candidates wish to do so that is up to them.”

So far, a few names have gotten out.

Angela DeVito, a former president of the Riverhead school board, announced in March she would seek the Democratic nomination for supervisor, and Ann Cotton-DeGrasse, the current president of the Riverhead school board, confirmed this week that she would also seek to the screened by the Democrats for supervisor.

Ms. Cotton-DeGrasse said she had hoped to keep her intentions quiets until after the screening, but it was leaked at an event over the weekend.

Also seeking to screen with both the Democrats and the Republicans is Greg Fischer of Calverton, who announced his intention to screen with both parties for a Town Board seat but did not specify if he would be seeking a supervisor or council seat.

Mr. Fischer ran a Democratic Primary for council in 2007 and for supervisor in 2011, when he also remained on the ballot on an independent line. He has been calling for elected trustees at the Long Island Power Authority, and has gone to court in an attempt to force that change.

Aside from her work on the school board, Angela DeVito is a retired director of workforce development with the Long Island Building Trades Council, and is active in the Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association, the Riverhead Democratic Committee and has sat on the town’s Industrial Development Agency board.

“I have many, many years of public sector service that I think will serve the citizens of this town better,” she said last month.

Ms. Cotton-DeGrasse is a retired teacher of 32 years who served as president of the Riverhead Central Faculty Association, the union serving district teachers, for five years. She and her husband, Antonio DeGrasse, also founded the North Fork Breast Health Coalition in 1998, and Ms. Cotton-DeGrasse served as president of that organization for eight years.

“I’ve never known when to quit,” Ms. Cotton-DeGrasse said. “I think I have a lot to offer. I certainly know how to get peep to work together.”

The Republicans held their first screening session Wednesday night, after press time.

tgannon@timesreview.com

01/29/13 3:52pm
01/29/2013 3:52 PM

The first person Legislator Al Krupski placed on his staff since taking office last week may be new to the intricacies of county government, but he’s no stranger to public service or the business world.

Mr. Krupski chose John Stype, a senior partner in the Neefus Stype Agency, an insurance and financial planning company, as his legislative aide.

“The reason I asked him to help me is I needed someone who knows the district and someone I can trust completely,” Mr. Krupski said.

The two have been friends for years. During the busy harvest season, Mr. Stype has helped out at the Krupski family pumpkin farm in Peconic by driving the hayride tractor.

“I have confidence that I could send John anywhere and he could represent the district well,” Mr. Krupski said. “With me just starting out, that’s important.

Mr. Stype is a member of Southold Town’s Economic Advisory Council, created to strengthen the sometimes strained relations between the town and area merchants. That’s based largely on a perception held by some that town building codes and the permit review process is often lengthy and cumbersome and so anti-business.

Southold Supervisor Scott Russell believes the new legislator made a good choice in hiring Mr. Stype, but fears the town could lose the benefits of his experience and business acumen.

“John is a key part of my Economic Advisory Council and I certainly hope he stays in some capacity,” the supervisor said. “If he has to curtail his role to some extent given his new responsibilities I would understand that. He’s been an absolutely outstanding member.”

tkelly@timesreview.com

01/22/13 5:32pm
01/22/2013 5:32 PM

Krupski-copy

With the Suffolk County Board of Elections certifying his Jan. 15 special election victory Tuesday, Al Krupski will be sworn in as the county legislator for the North Fork and Shelter Island at the County Center in Riverhead on Wednesday.

Mr. Krupski said he expects a quick, no-frills event when he takes his oath in the County Clerk’s office at 11 a.m.

The Southold Democrat will step into the office previously held by Ed Romaine, a Center Moriches Republican. With Mr. Romaine’s election in November to Brookhaven Town supervisor, Mr. Krupski will serve the 11-plus months left in Mr. Romaine’s term.

He already took possession of his predecessor’s legislative office in the Cooperative Extension building in Riverhead.

Mr. Krupski, who is leaving his Southold Town Board seat, handily defeated Republican Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter in the Jan. 15 special election. His two-to-one victory margin was the highest of any special election held in Suffolk over the past decade.

tkelly@timesreview.com

01/20/13 2:30pm
01/20/2013 2:30 PM
TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Sean Walter ‘surrenders’ to Al Krupski at the Dark Horse on election night Tuesday.

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Sean Walter ‘surrenders’ to Al Krupski at the Dark Horse on election night Tuesday.

Tuesday’s landslide special election victory by Suffolk County Legislator-elect Al Krupski over Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter provided some interesting statistics for political junkies to chew on.

We broke down several facts and figures compiled from the preliminary election results:

• Mr. Krupski won with 6,561 votes to 3,182 for Mr. Walter. That’s a split of 67 percent to 33 percent, the highest percentage victory in the last decade for any special election held in Suffolk County.

• While voter turnout was only about 16 percent in the legislative district, 24 percent of registered voters in Southold Town showed up at the polls Tuesday. Turnout in Mr. Walter’s hometown of Riverhead was just under 17 percent. Voter turnout was particularly low in Brookhaven, where only 1,754 votes were cast, just an 8 percent turnout.

• The only election districts Mr. Walter won in his hometown of Riverhead were in Glenwood Village; along West Main Street, where only 34 votes were cast; and in Calverton, where he prevailed by just one vote.

• Mr. Walter fared best in Brookhaven Town, where he received 48 percent of the vote. He received 43 percent of the vote in Riverhead, 30 percent on Shelter Island  and only 17 percent in Southold.

• Mr. Krupski received a higher percentage of the vote than all but five county legislators who faced opposition in the 2011 general election.

• Mr. Krupski also received a higher percentage of the vote than his predecessor, Ed Romaine, did his inaugural 1st District legislative campaign in 2005, when he received 63 percent of the vote even with a long history in county government.

• Mr. Walter received a total of 3,182 votes, about 1,700 fewer than he received in his previous supervisor run, even though almost 2,000 more people voted in this election.

01/17/13 5:00pm
01/17/2013 5:00 PM

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Al Krupski taking the oath of office from Southold Justice Rudy Bruer in Jan. 2009 following what turned out to be his last town election victory.

It’s been less than two days since Al Krupski won a lopsided victory to become the North Fork’s county legislator-elect, but he already has committee assignments and a new office. And he knows there’s a lot more ahead as he says farewell to the Southold Town Board and hello to the Suffolk County Legislature.

Mr. Krupski will take the oath of office next Thursday, Jan. 24 — where has yet to be determined — with his term officially beginning on Friday. First, however, there’s the business of the county Board of Elections certifying the election results. The BOE is already into the “recanvassing,” the standard post-election review of all the ballots, and could declare Mr. Krupski the winner sometime next week, said James Anthony, assistant to Democratic Commissioner Anita Katz.

He’s filling a vacancy, which means his office has to be up and running in a matter of days. Since the county owns the Cooperative Extension headquarters building on Griffing Avenue in Riverhead, he’ll take over the office space of his predecessor, Ed Romaine, vacated after his election as Brookhaven Town Supervisor.

Next up is the often politically tricky task of filling his staff.

When his title changes to Legislator Krupski, the Peconic pumpkin farmer will serve on the budget, finance information and technology committee, public works and transportation, health and human services and, of course, the environment, planning and agriculture panel.

“I feel like I have a week to breathe then do a few things at home and I’ll be ready to go,” Mr. Krupski said.

The Legislature’s next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 5. A ceremonial swearing in will likely be held on that date.

tkelly@timesreview.com

01/17/13 11:48am

TIM KELLY PHOTO | Sean Walter ‘surrenders’ to Al Krupski at the Dark Horse on election night Tuesday.

“You stomped me bad.”

Those were Sean Walter’s words Tuesday night after he crashed the Democrats’ Election Night party to deliver his concession remarks personally to Legislator-elect Al Krupski.

The handshake and smile the Riverhead Town Supervisor shared with the man who had so easily defeated him was a classy and unusual move in Suffolk County politics, where typically a phone call is placed or no concession is made at all.

“I’ve never seen that before,” said deputy county executive Jon Schneider, a behind-the-scenes player on every major Democratic campaign in Suffolk County for nearly a decade.

Certainly the move, similar to one Phil Cardinale made after his defeat in 2009, was made possible by the close proximity of the two headquarters: While the Democrats laughed the night away in a private room at the Dark Horse Restaurant on Main Street in downtown Riverhead, Republicans drowned their sorrows in pint glasses filled from the taps of neighboring Cody’s BBQ.

For the past month, we’ve all heard the sledgehammer ads on the radio and listened as Mr. Walter painted himself as the loudest elected official on the North Fork, a man who’s not afraid to stand on someone’s desk to get the job done.

He’s a politician who keeps his friends close and his enemies on another continent.

In some ways, that frank approach in politics is refreshing, like an ice cold beer on a 100-degree day. Have too much of it though, and you’re left feeling dizzy.

The heads at Cody’s were certainly spinning late on Election Night, where Riverhead GOP insiders were contemplating next steps as if their guy were the one moving on. And he just might be.

“I’m not sure where this leaves Sean,” said Republican Councilman Jim Wooten, who could very well run a primary for Riverhead supervisor this year. “The party should maybe take a lesson from this to preserve [itself].

“The party is certainly going to have to sit back and evaluate where it is today.”

And Riverhead’s Democratic leader Marjorie Acevedo was quick to point out that Mr. Walter could face competition from more than just Democrats.

“He’s on very shaky ground,” she said. “Even in his own party.”

The voting breakdown in Riverhead says it all. Mr. Krupski, the first Southold Town resident elected to the Legislature, won all but three election districts in Mr. Walter’s hometown.

The only districts Mr. Walter won in Riverhead were in Glenwood Village; along West Main Street, where only 34 votes were cast; and in Calverton, where he prevailed by just one vote.

Even the folks cutting their lawns next to Mr. Walter’s in Wading River sided with Mr. Krupski.

Particularly interesting Tuesday night was the way Republicans didn’t seem to have a bad word to say about Mr. Krupski or hardly a good one for Mr. Walter.

Of Mr. Krupski, former Riverhead councilman Vic Prusinowski said, “He’s a nice guy, people voted for the guy they liked.”

Suffolk County Democratic chairman Rich Schaffer told supporters Tuesday night that the likability of the two candidates was evident from the beginning of the campaign. He said that during one endorsement screening, a union leader told Mr. Krupski that after seeing Mr. Walter earlier in the day, meeting with Mr. Krupski was like having “a cup of coffee with a friend.”

So who are Mr. Walter’s friends?

Anthony Coates, who has served as a political adviser to the supervisor for the past several years, was speaking Wednesday as if the political faction he and Mr. Walter belong to is unrelated to the local GOP.

“The national Republican party doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo that it lost handily in November; the local party cannot make that same mistake,” Mr. Coates, himself a declared candidate for Riverhead Town Board this coming November, said in a statement. “True change comes by humbling oneself, taking inventory and acting decisively. Riverhead Republicans need to understand that they need to change their ways to keep the public’s trust.”

Mr. Coates’ remarks certainly signal that Mr. Walter is prepared to move on without the help of his “friends” if he’s going to be re-elected come November.

While it might be true that the local and national GOP is in need of some real reform to keep up with the times — the crowd at Krupski headquarters was certainly much younger than at the Republican event — it’s hard to believe they’ll be taking suggestions from Mr. Walter and Mr. Coates.

True change, as Mr. Coates said, certainly does come by humbling oneself. Hopefully, Tuesday night’s handshake was a starting point for Mr. Walter.

gparpan@timesreview.com