Make no mistake, these are two top notch candidates. The incumbent, Anna Throne-Holst, has by and large done an efficient job and has worked extremely hard. Her challenger, Linda Kabot, is a former town supervisor (and a former town board member) who also served admirably. It's unfortunate we must choose one.
The circumstances surrounding Kabot's DWI arrest four years ago still rankle us, and it likely cost her the election. We believe then, and we believe now, that it was a setup, and her subsequent acquittal proves that. That has nothing at all to do with Throne-Holst, of course, but it was an unfortunate event that overshadowed the voting.
The two differ on the events that occurred involving the police department while Throne-Holst was in office.
Throne-Holst pushed to bring Billy Wilson in as chief, and defends that decision. We think it proved disastrous.
Last year, after a disgraced cop who was riding around stoned, carrying a gun and making arrests, was reinstated after an extended stint in rehab, Throne-Holst embraced him and commiserated with him.
Seven felons were released from prison because of this guy. Only the powerful union kept him from getting fired. He certainly doesn't deserve our sympathy, let alone an apology. He needs to apologize to the community. The fact that Throne-Holst doesn't get that tells us she's still pandering to the PBA. In any case, you won't see Linda Kabot apologizing for a cop who rode around stoned with a loaded gun making arrests.
Kabot is an ardent supporter of the Southampton Town Trustees, who are charged with protecting our waterways and beaches. It's a crucial time for the trustees as they try to fend off powerful interests that want to build revetments and bulkheads and usurp property owned by the freeholders of our town.
Throne-Holst can barely hide her disdain for the trustees and speaks about "bringing them into compliance." She manipulated behind the scenes to keep Fred Havemeyer off the Independence Party line. Make no mistake, the trustees are a curmudgeonly bunch, but they are there to protect the rights of freeholders to use our beaches and waterways without government hindrance. The Board of Trustees stands separate but equal to the town board and Throne-Holst seems bent on upending that fragile relationship.
These are relatively minor complaints when measured against Throne-Holst's record of achievement. Still, she accomplished what she has with a Republican majority on the board, and they rightfully take a share of the credit. Many of the financial reforms she boasted about making in 2010 were actually put in place by Kabot in 2008 and 2009. Kabot, by the way, portrayed in some corners as a supervisor who raised taxes, kept taxes flat during her time in office, as did her predecessor and Throne-Holst after her.
In the end, at least from this corner, there is a sense of unfinished business. To put it in boxing parlance, Kabot was stripped of her title – she didn't lose it in the ring.
Her support of the trustees, her two decades of service to the town and the community, and her ability to go toe-to-toe with party bosses, union heads and special interest groups gives her a decisive edge in this election.
In the final analysis Kabot has deep local roots, more so than her opponent. And the town's pay-to-play policy under Throne-Holst has been at times embarrassing, landing on the pages of the New York Post. There is little doubt that certain special interest groups have the ear of the supervisor, for better or for worse.
Throne-Holst we trust, will find greener pastures soon enough, perhaps on the county or state level – she would make an excellent successor to State Senator Ken LaValle, for example. But The Independent endorses Linda Kabot for Southampton Town Supervisor.