Who Said What?
Tim Bishop has taken to the Boob Tube to address controversies he refuses to discuss with the press. In his latest ad he looks into the camera and states: "My opponent, Randy Altschuler, says I'm a criminal. You know me and you know for Randy Altschuler to say that is just despicable."
The trouble is, Altschuler never said anything of the sort.
It was Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington who said, a couple of weeks ago, "If you get a campaign contribution to thank you for an official act, that's called a gratuity, and that's a federal crime." She was referring to Bishop, whose daughter Molly solicited a constituent for a large contribution after he had asked Bishop for a favor.
Bishop wants the matter to go away, so he crafts a television ad that implies his opponent made the charge up. The New York Post, Newsday, and The New York Daily News have all called for a congressional probe, among many other publications. Shouldn't Bishop look into the TV camera and say, "Lots of people think I'm a criminal?"
Last month another respected Washington DC-based watchdog group lambasted Bishop on another matter – paying his daughter almost $600,000 and counting. The Congressman defended the hire, stating Molly Bishop is a fundraiser. We doubt Christie Brinkley, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda et al knew about the arrangement.
In essence, as campaign contributions roll in Bishop turns around and hands his daughter a check – and he didn't have very far to go: Bishop and his daughter worked in the same building until recently.
If Tim Bishop doesn't see anything wrong with that we question his judgment.
If Bishop, always forthright in past, continues to hide behind a wall of self-serving press releases and TV ads that are simply not true, the inevitable conclusion can rightfully be drawn — he's hiding something.
Had the shoe been on the other foot – had Altschuler committed a transgression – Bishop would be all over it. In fact, he's still beating the "outsourcer" horse. Why shouldn't his opponent do likewise?
Bishop said he's "open" to a congressional ethics probe. What he hasn't done is formally call for one, and ask it be expedited so it concludes before the election. Anything less is a tacit admission that he has abused his office, regardless of what the TV ads say. Yes, Altschuler has joined the chorus of people who think Bishop should voluntarily submit to a congressional probe, but the allegations against Bishop have been made by reputable, respected watchdog groups.
The Airport Belongs To Everyone
There are more than a few folks from Bridgehampton and Noyac up in arms over helicopter and aircraft noise since apparently some flights have been re-routed over their neighborhoods. Some folks at a recent meeting voiced the opinion that this is an East Hampton problem, and that somehow the powers-that-be at the airport are intruding on their space.
Yes, it is East Hampton Airport – but it serves Bridgehampton and eastern Southampton Town as well. In other words, folks may land in East Hampton, but many head to Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, and elsewhere.
On another note, it's a shame that some people used the recent accident at the airport to renew calls for its closure. The airport has been around for the better part of a century and has an excellent safety record. The argument would be akin to closing every road on which a serious accident occurs.
We are a resort community with an airport. Shakers and movers who use it keep our real estate industry healthy and property values stable as a result. It's not going to close – in fact, we are lucky we have one here. In a couple years the copters, like jets before them, will doubtless be a lot easier on the ears. In the meantime let's work together to mitigate the noise as best we can, and sharing the inconvenience is as good a remedy as any.