04/29/13 8:00am
04/29/2013 8:00 AM

Environmental groups from both sides of Long Island Sound will host a public meeting on protecting Plum Island’s undeveloped areas in Orient tonight.

The Group for the East End and the Save the Sound organization from Connecticut will be joined by Congressman Tim Bishop at Poquatuck Hall on Skippers Lane for the session from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The fate of the 840-acre island off the North Fork’s eastern tip has been in question for several years as federal authorities consider the construction of a replacement animal disease research facility in Manhattan, Kan. That project, which Congress has yet to fully fund, calls for closing the Plum Island lab and selling the property.

The public forum comes just one week before Southold Town will hold a public hearing on the proposal would divide Plum Island into three zoning districts.

cmurray@timesreview.com

03/17/13 10:00am
03/17/2013 10:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop seated at the head of the table with Brookhaven fouth generation farmer and LIFB past president Bob Nolan as they met with farmers on issues of immigration reform, budget sequestration and the federal debt limit Saturday morning.

Congressman Tim Bishop and the Long Island Farm Bureau hosted the annual farmers ‘Coffee with the Congressman’ at farm bureau headquarters on Edwards Avenue in Calverton Saturday morning.

The annual discussion centers around the current status and the future of farming on Long Island.

The economy, including budget sequestration and the federal debt limit, and the issue of immigration took center stage this year.

Mr. Bishop (D-Southampton) said he believes that comprehensive immigration reform, including the ‘Dream Act’ and securing our borders, along with an agricultural visa program for farm workers will be addressed in a very realistic way.

“It is a huge issue for the agriculture community and their workforce,” said Mr. Bishop, now in his 11th year in office. “We have a real opportunity to get something done. It makes sense for it to be bipartisan.”

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:

/ 23
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.