Equal Time: It’s all about where Riverhead is going

I read with sadness former supervisor Phil Cardinale’s Guest Spot column last week talking about what this town needs at the EPCAL property in Calverton. I was sad because Mr. Cardinale is so out of touch with where this town is headed.

Mr. Cardinale offered tired clichés about EPCAL. He talked about his tenure in office; he waxed poetic about what can happen at the former Grumman property. Yet, the facts under Phil are a different reality. Mr. Cardinale offered us the Wilpon deal, a false promise that would have brought a housing development to Calverton and not the “economic engine” Mr. Cardinale talks about. Under Mr. Cardinale, we heard volumes about the “Pulte project,” another housing deal that would have brought a glut of students to our schools and cost Riverhead nothing but tax dollars.

Mr. Cardinale also offered the mother of all ridiculous pipe dreams, “Ski Mountain,” a silly endeavor that never should have even seen its way past the drawing board. Ironically, the former supervisor sees his failures at EPCAL as a positive, stating that, at least under his administration, Riverhead received forfeited deposits on lame projects that the town put in its pocket, but the “transactions” never came to fruition.

I believe in a world where reality reigns and we actually develop what we say we will. Because, what is the cost of missed opportunity?

Mr. Cardinale, you fiddled while the last decade went on. During the biggest land boom ever to hit Long Island, you did nothing at EPCAL. While this Island went through the best real estate market we have ever experienced, you didn’t sell even one acre of land at EPCAL. Your vision may be one of deposits that get submitted to the town for projects that will never happen and are ultimately forfeited. I believe in a town that will build and move forward. You instead liked to hold press conferences talking about projects that were “coming soon.” Sorry, Mr. Cardinale but your administration was about PR. Your track record is one of failure.

Lights, Camera, Inaction.

My administration is about getting the job done.

Come to downtown, Phil. Let the butterflies land on you at the expanded aquarium. Bring you wife, Susan, and stay overnight at the new Hyatt Hotel there. Have a meal at Dark Horse at the corner of Main and Peconic. Browse at the Red Collection; buy a painting from Sandi at the Blue Door Gallery. Have a rack of ribs at Cody’s Barbecue, visit Dennis at The Riverhead Project restaurant. Listen to the sounds emanating from the Suffolk Theater, a project you squashed, as we restore that landmark building. See my friend John “the Greek” at Athens Grill and look at the wonder of his renewed restaurant. Enjoy the investment made by Liz Strebel at Riverhead Grill; try her meat loaf. Stop by for a libation at Long Ireland Brewery on Pulaski Street and you are invited as we soon break ground at the “Summerwind” project.

Phil, your politics are old, tired and of the past. Your campaign slogan sounds strikingly similar to “The Better Way” from the old movie “The Candidate,” starring Robert Redford, circa 1972. Talk about old politics.

Phil, you were rejected two years ago by the voters. The people sought a new direction for this town. They saw a Riverhead that could. Not the Riverhead that didn’t, under you.

Developing our downtown, getting this town on firm financial footing, shrinking the cost and size of government, a new direction at EPCAL, solving our debt at the landfill debacle; that you helped create; that’s the “better way.”

A leader in your party, Bill Clinton, once said, “Politics are about the future, not the past.”

Phil, after 10 years in Town Hall, you had your chance. You didn’t get it done.

Sean Walter is the Riverhead supervisor and a Republican seeking his second term in office in November 2011. He is being challenged by former Democratic supervisor Phil Cardinale of Jamesport. Mr. Walter lives in Wading River.