09/25/12 7:19am
09/25/2012 7:19 AM
Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, Randy Altschuler, Tim Bishop, Congress

xBARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Vail-Leavitt Music Hall on Peconic Avenue in Riverhead is modeled after the Ford Theater in Washington D.C.

The first of a pair of 90-minute Times/Review Newsgroup co-sponsored debates between Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Republican challenger Randy Altschuler of St. James is set for Thursday night in downtown Riverhead.

Suffolk Times editor Tim Kelly will moderate the debate at 7 p.m. Thursday at Vail-Leavitt Music Hall in Riverhead.

The first 45 minutes of the debate will focus specifically on health care reform, Mr. Kelly said, and then be opened to general questions.

The second debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15, at Bridgehampton School. The first 45 minutes of that debate will focus on jobs and the economy.

The Bridgehampton debate will be moderated by Joe Shaw, executive editor for The Press News Group, publishers of the Southampton Press, Southampton Press Western Edition and Easthampton Press newspapers, as well as 27east.com.

“We’re very excited to be working together to give the public more than sound bites to make a decision in this important race,” Mr. Shaw said of the partnership with Times/Review. “Our goal is to allow the candidates to more fully explore the complicated issues and give voters an opportunity to cast an informed vote.”

Both debates will be free and open to the public.

Vail-Leavitt will seat up to 250 people on a first-come, first-served basis. Audience members will have an opportunity to submit questions for the candidates at both debates.

“With so much at stake, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of this race,” Mr. Kelly said. “We’re proud to be teaming up with our South Fork counterparts, The Press News Group, to bring the candidates and the issues to light.”

psquire@timesreview.com

09/24/12 8:09am
09/24/2012 8:09 AM

Randy Altshculer, left, and Tim Bishop, right, will take part in a debate we’re cosponsoring this Thursday at the Vail Leavitt Music Hall in downtown Riverhead.

About two weeks ago, we posted a poll asking our readers to vote on whether we should ban letters on national issues.

We gave readers two options: Yes, letter writers should stick to local topics or No, if the writer is local, so is the letter.

‘No’ won out … barely.

A total of 366 readers voted in the poll and 190 (52 percent) voted no.

When I discussed the issue internally with my fellow Times/Review editors, we agreed that letters on national issues should continue to be printed. There are several reasons for this:

– Like the answer states, any letter written from a local resident is a local letter.

– We want you to dictate what gets discussed on the letters pages, not us. Unlike the internet, where commenting is enabled for almost every story, the letters to the editor section is the only designated place in our print edition where anyone can have their say.

– One of the big reasons some folks, including 48 percent of people who voted in our poll, would like to have national letters banned, is due to the tone of the letters. Many folks told us they believed the letters stretched the facts, were based largely on biased cable TV news talking points and were just plain nasty. While I tend to agree with a lot of these concerns, I also see the value in a letter that gets our readers’ blood boiling a little. When one letter inspires other letters, I think that’s a good thing. Within reason, of course.

– National letters can have local impact. The line on which letters would be acceptable is a little blurry.

As always, we appreciate all the feedback we’ve received on this topic. It’s great to see such an engaged and passionate readership out there.

• Speaking of national issues, we’re co-sponsoring a Congressional debate at Vail Leavitt Music Hall this Thursday night between Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and his Republican opponent, Randy Altschuler of St. James.

The 90-minute debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m. I’d recommend getting their early since seating is limited to 250 people. We will, however, broadcast the debate live on our site for anyone who can’t be there. We’ll keep the video archived on our site, too.

This debate is the first of two we’re co-sponsoring along with The Press News Group of Southampton, publishers of the Southampton Press, Southampton Press Western Edition, East Hampton Press, and 27East.com. The second debate will be held on Oct. 15 at Bridgehampton School.

The first half of the Vail Leavitt debate will be focused on health care and the second half will cover general topics. The first half of the Bridgehampton debate will focus on the economy.

• We’ve received a bunch of emails, letters and web comments on Troy Gustavson’s column about driving drunk and DWI arrests this week. We are packaging many of your responses for an equal time in the paper. Check that out on newsstands Thursday. Subscribers can also access the responses digitally through our epaper.

09/14/12 12:00pm
09/14/2012 12:00 PM
Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, Randy Altschuler, Tim Bishop, Congress

xBARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Vail-Leavitt Music Hall on Peconic Avenue in Riverhead is modeled after the Ford Theater in Washington D.C.

Times/Review Newsgroup is teaming up with The Press News Group of Southampton to co-sponsor a pair of 90-minute debates between Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Republican challenger Randy Altschuler of St. James, the two news organizations announced this week.

The first debate will be hosted by Times/Review at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27, at Vail-Leavitt Music Hall in Riverhead. Suffolk Times editor Tim Kelly will moderate that debate, which will be broadcast live on riverheadnewsreview.com.

The first 45 minutes of the debate will focus specifically on health care reform, Mr. Kelly said, and then be opened to general questions.
The second debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15, at Bridgehampton School. The first 45 minutes of that debate will focus on jobs and the economy.

The Bridgehampton debate will be moderated by Joe Shaw, executive editor for The Press News Group, publishers of the Southampton Press, Southampton Press Western Edition and Easthampton Press newspapers, as well as 27east.com.

“We’re very excited to be working together to give the public more than sound bites to make a decision in this important race,” Mr. Shaw said of the partnership with Times/Review. “Our goal is to allow the candidates to more fully explore the complicated issues and give voters an opportunity to cast an informed vote.”

Both debates will be free and open to the public.

Vail-Leavitt will seat up to 250 people on a first-come, first-served basis. Audience members will have an opportunity to submit questions for the candidates at both debates.

“With so much at stake, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of this race,” Mr. Kelly said. “We’re proud to be teaming up with our South Fork counterparts, The Press News Group, to bring the candidates and the issues to light.”

psquire@timesreview.com

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

Randy Altschuler, left, and Tim Bishop

In the hours following Saturday’s announcement that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan would join Mitt Romney on the GOP ticket this November, both Congressman Tim Bishop and his opponent, Randy Altschuler, released statements to the media on the selection.

Here’s what they had to say:

Tim Bishop (D-Southampton)

“A budget is a country’s values represented by numbers, and Paul Ryan’s Randy Altschuler-approved budget doesn’t represent the values of Suffolk County. Altschuler, Ryan, and Romney all believe in giving additional tax breaks to millionaires while shifting the tax burden onto middle class families. They believe in slashing Social Security and making seniors pay $6,400 more for Medicare benefits, but they won’t even consider eliminating unjustified tax breaks for oil companies, despite their bloated profits.

“The Altschuler-approved Ryan Budget would reduce taxes by over a quarter million dollars for the very wealthy, while increasing taxes on the middle class by an average of $2,700. The solution to our fiscal problems requires the kind of balanced approach I’ve advocated. I will continue to reject the plan of Altschuler, Romney, and Ryan that seeks to solve our problems on the backs of seniors and the middle class.”

Randy Altschuler (R-St. James)

“Tim Bishop is a failed Washington politician who has been caught abusing his power to enrich his own family and friends, while repeatedly voting for trillions of dollars in higher taxes, more spending and irresponsible debt that have helped to drive more than 30,000 jobs off of Long Island.  His support of President Obama’s big government takeover of healthcare will destroy even more jobs while raising taxes on the middle class and cutting $500 billion from Medicare.

“Governor Romney’s pick of Congressman Paul Ryan today signals that he is willing to do what Congressman Bishop has never done, and that is have an honest conversation with the American people about the serious economic and fiscal issues facing this country and pursue real reforms that will restore fiscal responsibility and revitalize our economy. I support this pick and look forward to working with them to put America back on the right track.”

08/02/12 6:00am
08/02/2012 6:00 AM

In an email to supporters Tuesday, congressional hopeful Randy Altschuler said new polling numbers show he has a four-point lead over Congressman Tim Bishop.

When asked for a response, the Bishop camp produced a recent poll that shows Mr. Bishop leading by 24 points. They also dismissed Mr. Altschuler’s poll as having been conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, a company that a New York Times blog labeled “biased and inaccurate.”

[Click here for the news story]

Mr. Altschuler’s camp then fired back, charging that the poll Mr. Bishop’s people touted had been performed by a political action committee that functions like “an arm of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.”

The moral of this story: Don’t believe polling data.

One particularly telling part of Tuesday’s exchange was a claim by Mr. Bishop’s people that the Altschuler campaign has paid more than $50,000 in the past year, including nearly $17,000 in April, to McLaughlin & Associates, an international polling and research firm. “That’s a real polling company,” said Bobby Pierce, communications director for Bishop for Congress.

According to Mr. Pierce, the Altschuler campaign has to date released no polling data from McLaughlin & Associates.

One could conclude that after McLaughlin produced results that Mr. Altschuler’s people didn’t want to share, they hired Pulse to tell a different tale.

While we understand the value of being able to tell people that your guy’s ahead in hopes that undecided voters will gravitate toward the “winning” side, it seems incredibly wasteful to spend campaign funds for information that provides no real insight into how you’re actually doing. That’s like a business hiring a focus group stacked only with people they already know like their product. Sure, the group’s report will boost your ego, but will the information help you grow?

Here’s a piece of advice for the two campaigns: Stop wasting money on bogus polls. Spend that money instead on telling people how you really feel.

This is a key election and it comes at a critical time for our nation. Our economy has not recovered. The housing market remains sluggish. Unemployment is still high. Foreign tensions continue to escalate.

What’s Tim Bishop doing about this? What would Randy Altschuler do differently?

We’re happy to hear you’re both popular. Now tell us what we need to know.

06/02/12 1:22pm
06/02/2012 1:22 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Mr. and Mrs. John Behan in a photo from his Facebook page.

Decorated U.S. Marine Corps veteran, former state assemblyman and former East Hampton Town Republican chairman John Behan of Montauk will make a major announcement next Monday about the race for Congress on eastern Long Island.

Mr. Behan is expected to endorse the incumbent, Democrat Tim Bishop, who nearly lost two years ago to Republican challenger Randy Altschuler, a businessman who is seeking the seat again this year. Mr. Behan says he will appear with Mr. Bishop to make his announcement at a press conference at La Bodega Restaurant at 752 Montauk Highway (on the Plaza) in Montauk at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, June 4.

Mr. Behan told the East Hampton Press he favored Mr. Bishop over Mr. Altschuler.

Mr. Behan represented the East End in the New York Assembly from from 1978 to 1995 and was a driving force behind the establishment of the Assembly’s Veterans Affairs Committee. A decorated Marine Corps veteran who was severely wounded in combat operations in Vietnam, Behan served as director of the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs from 1995 to 1998.

05/25/12 3:59pm
05/25/2012 3:59 PM

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Randy Altschuler, shown here at a recent press conference in Calverton, now faces a clear path to the GOP nomination for the 1st Congressional District this fall.

George Demos, the longshot hopeful for the GOP nomination in this year’s race for the 1st Congressional seat has bowed out of the race, according to a statement he sent to supporters and the media Friday.

Mr. Demos’ decision clears the way for GOP favorite Randy Altschuler of St. James to again face incumbent Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) this November.

Below is the statement Mr. Demos, who was expected to face Mr. Altschuler in a primary, sent on Friday:

“Everyone who knows me knows of my deep commitment to public service and to being a strong voice for the Conservative cause. Equally, everyone who knows Chrysa and me, knows of our deep commitment to each other and the joy we are sharing in preparation for our wedding a week from now.

“These two facts have now come together. Both my impending marriage and my race for Congress are deeply important to me. But our marriage comes first.

“Therefore, today, I am going to set aside my political aspirations for a while so that I can focus on our family. Both Chrysa and I look forward to reentering the political debate in the near future and to fighting for the Conservative Republican values we share.”

Mr. Demos finished second to Mr. Altschuler in a three-way primary for the Republican spot on the ticket in 2010, with Christopher Cox, the grandson of former president Richard Nixon, finishing a distant third.

And Suffolk Republicans announced in February that they would support Mr. Altschuler, who lost to Mr. Bishop by just 593 votes in 2010, again this time around.

Mr. Altschuler offered the following statement Friday:

“My wife Cheryl and I wish George and his bride-to-be, Chrysa, much happiness in their future together,” said Altschuler. “While George and I have competed fiercely at times for the Republican nomination, both in 2010 and this year, we share a common goal – and that is defeating Obama rubberstamp, incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop, and bringing an end to his job-killing agenda that has badly hurt the people of Suffolk County.”

gparpan@timesreview.com

05/08/12 9:00am
05/08/2012 9:00 AM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Randy Altschuler and supporters Monday afternoon outside SkyDive Long Island in Calverton.

Republican challenger Randy Altschuler of St. James called his opponent in this fall’s congressional race, incumbent Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), “a failed college administrator turned career politician” and blamed him for supporting policies that hurt business.

Mr. Altschuler, speaking at a press conference in which he released a “10-point jobs plan for Long Island” on which he would help jump-start the local economy, said Mr. Bishop’s background contrasts with his own, in that he has created thousands of jobs.

He held three versions of the press conference, one at SkyDive Long Island in EPCAL, one in front of vacant storefronts in Southampton and one in Brookhaven Town.

A spokesman for Mr. Bishop countered that the jobs Mr. Altschuler created were outsourced jobs in countries with lower wages.

Mr. Bishop was provost at Southampton College for many years, and worked as an administrator at the college from 1973 to 2002, when he was first elected to Congress. The college initially closed in 2005, but was taken over by Stony Brook University in 2006, and reopened, only to close again in 2010.

A spokesman for Mr. Bishop said the Congressman deserves credit for keeping the college open as long as he did.

The outsourcing criticism stems from a company Mr. Altschuler founded called Office Tiger, a company that used employees abroad.

Jab-trading aside, the 10-point plan Mr. Altschuler released Monday called for helping start-up businesses to grow, reforming and simplifying the tax code, eliminating “job-killing government regulations,” welcoming businesses and eliminating red tape, repealing “Obamacare,” enacting a “sensible energy policy,” improving the business climate in Suffolk, protecting the Long Island fishing industry and farming industries, and helping Veterans to find private-sector jobs.

Pick up Thursday’s Riverhead News-Review for additional coverage from the race.

tgannon@timesreview.com

Randy Altschuler’s 10-Point Jobs Plan for Long Island