October 04, 2006
Hiring Hall Not The Answer
Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley's premature announcement that the village intended to open a hiring hall seems like an idea doomed to fail.
Epley said the village has a problem that must be addressed. He neglected to mention many of the workers congregating around 7-Eleven come from the west, drawn to the village because so many are being hired by contractors. A hiring hall would only bring more non-residents to the village.
Moreover, the problem exists because the village has not aggressively policed the area. Every day, we have observed loitering, littering and even indecent exposure (men urinating) with nary a cop to be seen. Ticket the offenders, fine them and we suspect the crowd would disperse quickly enough.
East Hampton Village Police ended a similar situation by targeting the contractors who hire the workers and turning that information over to the Internal Revenue Service. Epley said that tactic backfired and workers spread around East Hampton Village — unfortunately, he should have checked with officials there first, because he is flat out wrong. The fact is, there are no longer would-be laborers visible anywhere in East Hampton — and the bet here is most found their way to Southampton Village, where the laissez-fare policies of the police and the village encourage the gatherings.
The village should do the right thing by the merchants and neighbors and clean up the site at 7-Eleven. This is an eyesore, an embarrassment to the village and the town, and the loitering has gone on far too long.
It's time to disperse the crowds there for good — and that includes the contractors. Let contractors in need of laborers find them by placing want ads.
Trapping Must Be Outlawed
East Hampton Town Board member Brad Loewen's impassioned plea to not ban trapping appears, luckily, to be falling on deaf ears.
One dog has already been crushed to death. Our children and dogs roam the woodlands — this is now a residential area, and there is simply no safe place to set traps. The thought of killing a critter, then skinning it, is repulsive, and the last we looked "squirrel stew" wasn't a prix fixe special at Nick and Toni's. The town has issued eight trapping permits this year, and no trappers have come forward to protest a proposed ban. Loewen's monologue about preserving tradition is inane; should we go back to horse-drawn wagons? Should we use whale oil to light our lamps? Is the old house of prostitution reopening on Main Street? Slavery and out-houses were prevalent as well — are those traditions we should keep alive?
Worse still was Loewen's refusal to allow a spectator to demonstrate to the board how the traps work — the spectator was there on behalf of Sallie Murphy, whose dog died in a carelessly set trap, and the Animal Rescue Fund, an organization that deserves the respect and time of the board.
Memo to board member Loewen: grab a 50-pound sack of flour and a slab of bacon, hop on old Charlie the mule, head out to the western Canadian hills, and bring us back some pelts in six months — we reckon we can sell 'em at Ralph Lauren's store, piled right thar next to the tangerine-colored cashmere sweaters, and donate the money to A.R.F., where volunteers had to pry the mangled body of Murphy's beloved dog out of the steel trap that snapped his neck.