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Proud to be a Greenporter

posted Mar 11, 2015, 7:11 AM by Doug Roberts

Last night's candidate forum was everything I envisioned about how government should work. I have said to several people already I could have gone another 3 hours. We had a good amount of time for all the questions to be asked, and the questions came from the voters. Everybody felt heard, nobody felt shut down, and lo and behold, there were no disruptions or interruptions. This is my vision for how the Village Board should conduct business, as I laid out in my recent post in which I propose a plan for managing meetings that will balance the need for civility and the need for the Board to let the public be heard.  We can do this, folks. I will fight tooth and nail to make our VB meetings look more like last night than what we've seen at The Fire House on Monday nights recently.  

I had to fight hard to get these forums to happen.  The Suffolk Times wasn't interested in hosting one because they were worried it would be a circus- and who can blame them with the dynamic at our VB meetings? I posted on this site and FB that if we didn't start to see candidate forums materialize I was going to have to host my own! I drew a line in the sand and, thankfully, members of the public answered the bell.  Rena Casey-Wilhelm, assisted by her husband Jason, Michelle Schott, Peggy Richards, and probably many others of whom I am not aware, did our Village a great service last night. It was a great night to be a Greenporter, and a great night to be an American. Win or lose, I really enjoyed the conversation and I was grateful to everybody who took 3 hours out of their evening to come and focus their energy and thoughts on the village we all love.  

 I'm working as hard as I can to listen to folks around town and formulate ideas for Greenport. I never thought being a Trustee would be easy, and I am getting a taste for how difficult it can be. But I am up for this challenge. I am trying to show my commitment to this work by doing, not by talking.  It's one thing to put out a call for a public meeting, it's yet another to seek out folks and ask them to unload their ideas, which is what I'd like to see The Village do.  Those of you following on Facebook have seen that I've put ideas out on parking, some of which have been well received, some of which clearly need some work. The Short-term rental issue needs more than just public hearings- I spoke with a group of folks, many who are new to town, who had no idea who is on the VB, when they meet, and (naturally) why they don't allow the public to comment at some of their meetings. But they were there to talk short-term rentals, and it's clear everybody is going to have to compromise on this one, which means everybody will feel like they lost a little bit and they won a little bit. I believe we can have a draft proposal prepared for public review by the May VB meeting and could have a law in place by July if we roll up our sleeves, schedule the meetings, and negotiate.  This is what I do for a living and I can't wait to do it on your behalf.  

 Jack Martilotta and I spent our time with microphone last night laying out our vision for Greenport: We want to plan for the future so our kids can afford to live here and have careers here.  We want to protect our utilities and ensure we continue to be self-sufficient as a village.  We want the village to prioritize safety with all of its code enforcement issues and maybe leave aside some of the more minor infractions, and we want to see absentee landlords held accountable. We want to fix roads instead of pay for free health care for elected officials.  And we want to increase communication between the Village Government and the people it serves. Aside from Bill Swiskey's great idea about charging North Ferry Company riders a landing fee, which Jack and I will pursue aggressively, our opponents did not come to last night's event with any substantive ideas about how they are going to move Greenport forward or how they will fight for Greenport and its people.  I hope our commitment and passion for our Village was apparent in the vision we laid out, and I hope we have earned your support.  If not, get in touch and let's chat-  Thank you to everybody for a great and important evening.