11/08/12 12:00pm

JOHN GRIFFIN PHOTO | The crowd goes wild at Suffolk County Democratic Committee Headquarters as they hear Obama won Tuesday night.

Times/Review contributing photographers John Griffin and Robert O’Rourk documented election night with their cameras Tuesday.

Griffin shot the Democratic gala at the Islandia Marriott. O’Rourk was with the GOP at its gala at Emporium in Patchogue.

Below are some photos from the events they covered:

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11/07/12 1:56pm
11/07/2012 1:56 PM

Riverhead Town made a clear choice for president, favoring Republican challenger Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama, according to unofficial county results provided by the Riverhead Republican Committee chairman John Galla.

But in the heavily contested race for the 1st Congressional district seat, Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop emerged the winner by a slim margin.

Mr. Romney held the edge over Mr. Obama in Riverhead Town, winning 7,035 to 6,214 with 53 percent of the vote, the numbers provided by Mr. Galla show.

But Republican candidate Randy Altschuler lost a close race here.

Mr. Bishop won Riverhead by just 158 votes, 6,491 to 6,333, according to the results.

Mr. Galla said he was surprised the local enthusiasm for Romney in the election didn’t translate into for success for Altschuler.

“I had people all around town calling me asking for Romney signs,” he said. “That’s never happened before, even under Reagan, to be honest.”

Mr. Galla said he thought Mr. Altschuler would be able to ride Romney’s coattails and “win big” in the town. Mr. Galla believed “deficiencies” in Mr. Altschuler’s campaign is to blame for their close race in Riverhead town.

“Every campaign is the difference about opportunities taken and opportunities missed,” said Mr. Galla, a longtime political activist who’s run several campaigns himself.

While Riverhead was a solid win for Romney, Suffolk County was a different story. Mr. Obama pulled ahead with just over 50 percent of the vote and won the county, 274,830 votes to 259,348 for the Republican challenger, according to the unofficial results.

The final results should be available in the next week to 10 days, Mr. Galla said.

psquire@timesreview.com

11/07/12 12:55am

JOHN GRIFFIN PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop gives his victory speech at Suffolk County Democratic Committee Headquarters at the Islandia Marriott Tuesday.

Congressman Tim Bishop is headed back to Washington for a sixth term.

Two years after it took 36 days for the Southampton Democrat to claim victory over opponent Randy Altschuler, it took him less than three hours to deliver an acceptance speech Tuesday.

“My opponent may have had the guys with the big checks,” Mr. Bishop told supporters at the Islanda Marriott. “I had the guys with the big hearts.”

Mr. Bishop secured 132,525 votes to 121,478 for Mr. Altschuler, a Republican businessman from St. James.

The Congressman, who garnered 52 percent of the vote Tuesday, had defeated Mr. Altschuler by just 593 votes in 2010.

Mr. Bishop, who was also celebrating President Barack Obama’s reelection Tuesday night, will still be in the minority next year as Republicans kept control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“We’ve got serious problems to solve in this country and I very much hope now that a very, very brutal election season is behind us, we’ll set partisan differences aside and try to resolve issues for the American people,” Mr. Bishop said. “The dysfunction over the last two years certainly demonstrates that hyper-partisanship doesn’t work. We’ve tried that, we’ve now had an election, the president was reelected, so now let’s go to work to support the American people and businesses.”

Mr. Altschuler said thanked his supporters and credited his opponent in a concession speech delivered at Emporium in Patchogue shortly after midnight.

“I’m going to go home and spend time with my family and help the community,” said Mr. Altschuler, 41. “Congressman Bishop ran a good campaign.”

Mr. Bishop is the first Congressman from New York’s First District to win a sixth term since Otis Pike of Riverhead, who served nine terms before retiring in 1978.

Mr. Bishop was one of several area incumbents to claim a win Tuesday, with Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Assemblyman Dan Losquadro (R-Shoreham) winning reelection with landslide victories.

Mr. LaValle, 73, is now, along with Schenectady Republican Hugh Farley, the longest tenured New York State Senator. Both men were first elected in 1976. Senator Owen Johnson, also from Suffolk, did not seek reelection this year after serving since 1972.

Mr. LaValle secured 60 percent of the vote Tuesday over Southampton Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, a Democrat from Sag Harbor.

Mr. Losquadro, 40, easily defeated Nicholas Deegan of Mattituck with 66 percent of the vote.

Reporting from Jennifer Gustavson and Michael White.

11/06/12 11:41pm
11/06/2012 11:41 PM

We’ll be live blogging Election Day results all night tonight. We’ll also have reporters with Congressman Tim Bishop and Republican challenger Randy Altschuler.

Follow along with the results, watch live streaming video of the speeches and to share your own election night thoughts and opinions.

We’ll also have reaction from Senator Ken LaValle, Assemblyman Dan Losquadro and County Legislator Ed Romaine, who’s running in a special election for Brookhaven Town Supervisor.

Additionally, we’ll have reporters keeping tabs on town elections in both Riverhead and Southold.

Tonight’s blog will be sponsored by Blackwells at Great Rock in Wading River and Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor.

11/06/12 5:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop (left) and Republican Challenger Randy Altschuler at a Riverhead debate in September.

First Congressional District

Tim Bishop (D-Southampton)

Five-term incumbent Tim Bishop, 62, worked at Southampton College for 29 years, starting as an admissions counselor and serving for many years as provost, the chief administrative post. He left the college when first elected to Congress in 2002, defeating incumbent Republican Felix Grucci.

Mr. Bishop says if re-elected his legislative priorities will include job creation and economic expansion, protecting the environment, working for seniors and the middle class, providing access to affordable health care and supporting veterans.

A twelfth-generation Southampton resident, Mr. Bishop received his bachelor’s degree from The College of the Holy Cross and his master’s from Long Island University.

He serves on the Committee on Education, the Workforce and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Congressional Arts Caucus.

Mr. Bishop voted for the Affordable Health Care for America Act, commonly known as Obamacare, and the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, and his voting record reflects that he votes with the majority of House Democrats on almost every key issue.

Randy Altschuler (R-St. James)

Randy Altschuler, 41, is currently the executive chairman of CloudBlue, which recycles electronic equipment. Prior to that, he was the CEO of OfficeTiger, a company that provided office support services with employees around the world.

Mr. Altschuler ran for Mr. Bishop’s congressional seat in 2010, losing by 263 votes after an intense recount that proved to be the longest in the nation that year.

Mr. Altschuler attended New York City public schools, received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, studied abroad as a Fulbright Scholar and received his MBA from Harvard University.

If elected, Mr. Altschuler pledges to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, work for the Republican plan for Medicare and Social Security reform, reform teacher tenure requirements and support school voucher programs.

First New York Senatorial District

Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson)

Incumbent Ken LaValle, 73, has held the 1st District state Senate seat since 1977, having been elected in November 1976. He has been chairman of the Senate committee on higher education since 1979 and is chairman of the Senate Majority Conference. He was a teacher before entering politics. Since he’s been in office, he earned a law degree from Touro College and is now a practicing attorney as well.

Mr. LaValle said he continues to receive support from his constituents, which is why he has won his re-election bids by overwhelming margins.

He says he’s working to get approval for the commission that Riverhead Town has advocated as a way of fast-tracking projects at EPCAL and, among other things, has been instrumental in establishing the Stony Brook Business Incubator in Calverton; has secured grant money for the J. Kings food processing facility in Baiting Hollow; and has helped to create a synergy among the three East End hospitals.

Mr. LaValle also lauds the 2 percent government tax levy cap.

“We’ve also reduced taxes for every tax category, with the majority of it going to the middle-income taxpayers,” he said.

Republicans currently have a majority in the state Senate, while Democrats control the Assembly.

Mr. LaValle is the father of two grown children and lives in Port Jefferson with his wife, Penny.

Bridget Fleming (D-Noyack)

Challenger Bridget Fleming, 52, is a matrimonial attorney who has been a Southampton Town councilwoman since March 2010.

Prior to that, she has served as chief of a Manhattan district attorney’s office unit that prosecuted fraud in public assistance programs such as welfare, public housing and Medicaid. Before that, she said, she prosecuted sex crimes.

As a Southampton Town Board member, Ms. Fleming says she’s helped to eliminate a budget deficit, thereby restoring the town’s credit rating; focused on proper staffing and controls in the town finance department; and spearheaded economic initiatives such as the Farm Fresh Market in Flanders, which is run by teenagers and sells local produce, and the Youth Build Project in Riverside, which teaches young people about sustainable building methods while restoring blighted homes.

She claims Mr. LaValle has not been effective in bringing the East End its fair share of school aid and says the amount of money East End residents pay in state taxes is more than what they get back in state services.

“Money comes out of our district, goes up to the pot in Albany and then doesn’t come back with us getting our fair share,” she said a recent debate. “We need somebody who is fighting for our local needs.”

A resident of Noyac since 2001, Ms. Fleming lives with her husband, Robert Agoglia, a general contractor, and their 9-year old son, Jai.

Riverhead Town Tax Receiver

This is a special election to fill the last three years of longtime Riverhead tax receiver Maryanne Heilbrunn’s term. She stepped down at the end of June.

Laurie Zaneski (R-Aquebogue)

This is incumbent tax receiver Laurie Zaneski’s first political race. The town’s deputy tax receiver since August 2003, Ms. Zaneski, of Aquebogue, was appointed tax receiver in September and has been running that office since Ms. Heilbrunn stepped down on June 30, she says.

Ms. Zaneski, 46, was nominated by the Riverhead Republican Committee but, because of a missed Board of Elections deadline, she is forced to run for tax receiver on an independent line, which the committee set up as Riverhead Taxpayers First.

“I’ve been on the job, doing the job,” Ms. Zaneski said. “I have the confidence of the public already; a lot of them already know me. The bottom line is the experience.”

Before working for the town, Ms. Zaneski was secretary to the director of operations at Cablevision in Riverhead. Before that, she worked for Central Suffolk Hospital (now Peconic Bay Medical Center).

She spoke in a candidate interview about “kitchen table economics.”

“People want to know their money is safe and we invest it properly to help the town,” she said.

Ms. Zaneski has been involved in many parent-teacher groups and booster clubs in the Riverhead School District and has three children in town schools. Her oldest daughter, Jocelyn, a high school senior, was a member of the Long Island champion girls’ basketball team this past school year.

Her husband, Kevin, is a 25-year member of the Riverhead Volunteer Fire Department and has worked as a New York City firefighter for the past 16 years.

Robert Gottschalk (D-Wading River)

Former town assessor Robert Gottschalk of Wading River was chosen by the town Democratic Committee in August to run in the special election for town tax receiver.

But like the Republicans, the Democrats missed a Board of Elections filing date so Mr. Gottschalk has had to run on an independent line, called Riverhead Taxpayers United.

Mr. Gottschalk, 56, was appointed to a one-year term as town assessor in 1998 after Leroy Barnes resigned, but lost the following election to Paul Leszcynski. He also ran unsuccessfully for assessor in 2007.

“I’m running for receiver of taxes this year because I feel that there’s a need to have a professional in the job,” he said in a candidate interview. “I have been your state-certified assessor in the past, I have an accounting background, I have been the fund administrator for the pension and welfare funds of several large unions and I have also have been active tax accountant for the last 35 years.

“It’s time that we put some people into the office that can do the job while they’re there,” he said.

Mr. Gottschalk has lived in Wading River for over 30 years and has a background in computers, accounting and real estate. He’s also worked for many years as a business representative and fund administrator for a projectionists’ union.

He’s a former president of the Polish Town Civic Association and a member of the Wading River Civic Association.

He served as chairman of the Riverhead Democratic Committee in 1994 and 1995.

Riverhead Town Justice

Allen Smith (R-Jamesport)

Incumbent Allen Smith, 69, of Jamesport, is running for another four-year term.

And again, he is running unopposed.

Judge Smith was first elected in 2000. His term doesn’t conform to regular town election years because he was originally elected to fill a term left open with the death of Henry Saxtein, and town justices in New York State must be elected to full four-year terms.

“I enjoy the job thoroughly,” Judge Smith said of his part-time role. “It’s intellectually stimulating.”

Before becoming a judge, Mr. Smith served as Riverhead Town supervisor, town attorney, a member of the Riverhead school board, a Suffolk County deputy attorney and a county personnel officer.

He also has a private law practice and has been a member of the Riverhead Fire Department since 1978.

In 2010, Judge Smith was named Judge of the Year by the Suffolk County Criminal Bar Association, the first time that honor ever went to a town justice.

Six years ago, he was also instrumental in establishing the East End Regional Intervention Court, commonly called “drug court,” with Southampton Town Justice Deborah Kooperstein.

“Our Riverhead committee believes that Judge Smith has proven himself to be an extraordinary jurist,” said Riverhead Republican Committee leader John Galla. “Fair, firm. These are the hallmarks of Judge Smith.”

The Democrats also did not challenge Judge Smith in his prior two elections.

10/25/12 6:58am
10/25/2012 6:58 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Tim Bishop at a debate in Riverhead.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Tim Bishop at a debate in Riverhead.

For decades, the Grumman Aerospace facility at Calverton supported thousands of local jobs producing fighter planes for the Navy to defend the seas and skies and for NASA to explore space. To replace the jobs lost with the closure of Grumman, the federal government deeded the site to Riverhead Town for economic development as the Calverton Enterprise Zone, or EPCAL.

We should all hope that EPCAL, like Grumman, will be a jobs engine for Riverhead Town and all of eastern Long Island — with the private sector now driving development. Those of us who represent the area on the local, state and federal levels share the goal of making the government a helpful partner in responsible redevelopment at EPCAL.

To support that effort, I fought along with Senator Charles Schumer for funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to build a rail spur to the Enterprise Zone, linking it to the national freight rail network. I have also worked with Mr. Schumer to push the Navy to ramp up its effort to clean up groundwater pollution that is an unfortunate legacy of Grumman.

Along with senators Schumer and Gillibrand, I was contacted Oct. 5 by Supervisor Sean Walter, who asked us to facilitate a dialogue with Governor Cuomo’s office regarding EPCAL.

The supervisor cited his frustration with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s regulatory process regarding the Town Board’s effort to subdivide the property into appropriate units for public sale.

The senators and I have undertaken the effort to facilitate a dialogue and I have also pledged to work as a liaison with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to the extent that federal environmental regulations may be an issue at the site.

Given my record in support of EPCAL and my commitment to continue being helpful in the future, it was surprising to read an op-ed from my opponent naming me as an obstacle to redevelopment at EPCAL.

Simply put, it is another in the line of baseless and opportunistic attacks that define his campaign. It is also explicitly contradicted by Supervisor Walter, who told the News-Review last week that the senators and I “want to do what’s right by their constituents.”

By shoehorning EPCAL into a political pander, my opponent shows he does not understand the complex issues at the site, including environmental regulations on the books for sensitive animal habitat, not to mention the Town Board’s own evolving consensus about the best plan for EPCAL’s future, which has been chronicled at length over the years in this newspaper.

The people of Riverhead Town deserve representation on the federal level by someone who helps bring federal resources to the table to solve local problems and goes to bat for constituents when their plans run afoul of a bureaucracy acting at cross-purposes.

That has been my record regarding EPCAL, because promoting jobs and economic development in Riverhead Town and throughout eastern Long Island has always been and will always be a top priority for me as a member of Congress.

Tim Bishop, a Democrat, is a Southampton resident and the incumbent congressman representing the 1st Congressional District.

10/25/12 6:57am
Altschuler, EPCAL, Bishop, RIverhead Town

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Randy Altschuler at a debate in Riverhead.

Development at the Enterprise Park at Calverton is critical to the future of Long Island’s economy. The fact that this process has become so bogged down in red tape and political wrangling underscores what’s wrong with government today, and how it’s hurting job creation.

Make no mistake, without new economic development Long Island will continue to struggle with rising property taxes, foreclosures and young people leaving in search of jobs and a better life elsewhere. We must reverse that trend.

We can’t tax, spend or borrow our way out of this; we need to grow our way out of it with forward-thinking economic growth policies that make Long Island a destination for business again.

Every time I speak with Supervisor Sean Walter and the Riverhead Town Board members, or read what they say in the paper, their frustration with this process is evident and I share it.

They have worked tirelessly to complete the redevelopment at EPCAL, yet seem to run into obstacle after obstacle.

Enough is enough. If I am given the honor of representing Suffolk County in Congress this November, breaking this bureaucratic logjam and moving this project forward will be a priority.

Unfortunately, private sector job growth simply has not been a priority for Congressman Tim Bishop. He seems to believe government has all the answers; I don’t. This is a perfect example of where government should be helping to foster economic revitalization on Long Island, and instead they are stifling it.

I will take a different approach. Relying on my experience in the private sector and willingness to work across party lines to get things done, I will bring all sides together and seek to build consensus on a path forward at EPCAL.

The failures to date are a prime example of how government, even with the best of intentions, gets in the way of an economic recovery.

For instance, Gov. Andrew Cuomo established Regional Economic Development Councils to promote and provide state grants for worthy projects. It was a good idea, but the irony is that the state, through the DEC and its over-aggressive regulatory policy, is hindering the implementation of the kind of economic development Gov. Cuomo rightfully promotes.

In my specific, 10-point jobs plan (LIJobsPlan.com), I have outlined several ways to bring more businesses and job opportunities to Long Island. We need to roll out the red carpet, not the red tape, for businesses that want to relocate or grow right here in the 1st Congressional District. We need to make Long Island a magnet for high-quality, good-paying jobs again. Our future depends on it.

We all realize that the EPCAL property could be home to industries from manufacturing to high-tech to recreational entrepreneurs. It could quite literally be the crown jewel of Long Island’s economic future — we simply cannot let this opportunity slip through our collective fingers.

Mr. Altschuler is the Republican challenger to incumbent Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop. He is a businessman and St. James resident. This piece was originally published on Oct. 18 in the News-Review newspaper.

10/24/12 5:13pm
10/24/2012 5:13 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Candidates for federal, state and local races , including State Senator Kenneth LaValle (standing), had the chance to introduce themselves to voters during the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon Wednesday.

Candidates running for federal, state and local offices answered Southold residents’ questions Wednesday afternoon during the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce’s “meet the candidates” luncheon at the Meetinghouse Creek Inn in Aquebogue.

Jeff Strong, president of Strong’s Marine in Mattituck, moderated the two-hour event where nearly 20 people gathered to listen to each candidate’s platform.

State Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) left after making an opening statement because he had another event to attend to this afternoon on Shelter Island. His Democratic challenger, Bridget Fleming of Noyac, was absent.

Below is an excerpt of answers to a question regarding the economy.

Question to congressional and state candidates: Do you see the local economy getting better or worse and what are your plans to help improve it?

Congressional candidates’ answers:

Incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton): The local economy is struggling from what has been the deepest recession in our nation’s history other than the Great Depression. I think there are signs that we are recovering, but we have a long, long way to go. One of things I’m working on is trying to bring the federal government back to the table in terms of investing in local wastewater infrastructure. The second thing is dealing with environment issues. I think the environment is our economy and the economy is our environment.

Challenger Randy Altshuler (R-St. James): When you speak to people locally, there’s a lot of uncertainty in the air. It’s scaring the daylights out of everybody. You see it from unemployment rates going up over the past decade to people becoming underwater with their mortgages. Some local businesses are seeing a little bit of a pick-up, but a lot of them are saying it’s still doing pretty poorly. I think we need change and the only way I think that will happen is if we have more business people in office.

State Assembly candidates’ answers:

Incumbent Dan Losquadro (R-Shoreham): I don’t think the economy is doing very well at all. I think, in large part, that’s because of the burden that is placed upon businesses and residential taxes that drive up the overall cost of living. New York State spent $20 billion on Medicaid expenditures last year. We need to control spending in areas where people may not think relate to education funding. But if we save a billion dollars in Medicaid expenditures, that’s a billion dollars we can put back into education funding.

Challenger Nicholas Deegan (D-Mattituck): I think the local economy is starting on an upspring. The bigger thing out here is transportation. If we’re going to be able to sustain the agritourism and wine industries, then I think we have to deal with transportation very quickly so that by next summer we have a plan going into place. The roads can only handle so much. We need to get some of the traffic off the road.

Check back on Election Day for full coverage.

jennifer@timesreview.com