Soaking up the sun’s rays on my family’s back porch, I surrender to the August heat and take a sip of cool sparkling water. Through the screen door I hear a familiar song playing on the radio. One I cannot listen to without thinking about my mother, the East Hampton singer Mama Lee. The music curls into the introduction like a vine wrapping around me, and then the lyrics bloom.
Voters will be asked on Tuesday to select two people to serve four-year terms on the East Hampton Town Board. The job involves setting the town’s spending priorities, overseeing land-use policy, protecting water and the environment, appointing members of the planning, zoning, and architectural review boards, and the hiring and firing of many town personnel. They will earn $68,000 next year, plus benefits. Board members sit in on advisory committees and each is assigned as a point person on a portfolio of town departments and issues.
For South Fork voters there is really only one choice for Suffolk legislator: Bridget Fleming. Her opponent, Heather Collins, has hardly campaigned and her candidacy appears to be little more than a placeholder for the Republican and Conservative Parties, whose ballot lines she occupies. Ms. Collins is an assistant clerk in the Suffolk County Board of Elections, an office ripe with political patronage. She lost twice to New York Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. after he switched to the Independence Party. She also has declined invitations to appear at local debates, which all but confirms her as a wasted choice.
Anyone who reads this column will have an idea of where I stand politically, but they haven’t heard much, if anything, from me about religion. My first husband and I used to say we had the same religion, by which we meant none. Our notion was that my Jewishness and his Protestantism were entirely secular. (It will remain for our children to say whether they missed a religious upbringing.)
I just know that this so-called tax reform plan, if what’s been intimated comes to be, will gore my ox, and probably will gore the oxen of numerous other members of the middle class here, this being a high-tax state where middle classers itemize.
So what do the East Hampton Town Trustees actually do? That might be among the legitimate questions voters here will ask themselves as they look at the intimidating section at the far end of the ballot on Nov. 7, the one with 18 names. Voters need to play close attention, since all nine of the trustee positions come up for election every two years.