The Democratic candidates for East Hampton Town supervisor and Town Board will hold a “Listen In” forum in Montauk on Monday, July 29, to which residents have been invited to express their thoughts and concerns about living in the hamlet and how town government could improve the quality of life there.
The event will be held at Gurney’s Inn Resort & Spa on Old Montauk Highway. The forum will run from 7 to 9 p.m. and be preceded by a 15-minute refreshment period beginning at 6:45 p.m.
Larry Cantwell, the Democratic candidate for supervisor in November’s election, who also holds the endorsements of the Independence and Working Families parties, will chair the meeting. Town Board candidates Job Potter and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, each of whom is also endorsed by the Working Families Party, are also slated to participate.
In a phone interview this week, Mr. Cantwell noted how items of discussion will ultimately be up to attendees, but named some of the hot topics in Montauk right now as dealing with coastal erosion, better preparing for storm emergencies and making the best use of federal funds that U.S. Representative Tim Bishop has secured for a major beach replenishment project, as well as balancing the promotion of business and tourism with the need to preserve residential neighborhoods from the effects of overflow parking and noise.
“It’s an opportunity for us to listen to the concerns of Montauk voters,” he said. “The more [who attend], the merrier.”
Jeanne Frankl, the chairwoman of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee, said that her party sees quality-of-life versus support-for-business issues as problems to be solved in a way that accommodates all interests, not just a “knee-jerk reaction, where business—no matter where it comes from and whoever profits—takes big priority and everything else takes the back seat.”
“If you’re a resident of Montauk and have a concern or even a gripe, this is a big chance to catch the attention of the candidates we hope to win the next election—before they’re in office,” she said.
Larry Smith, a Democratic committeeman and hamlet resident, said Montauk is unique because of its environment. “For a long while, it was an ‘un-Hampton,’ and it’s fast becoming a ‘super-Hampton,’ and that causes some concerns,” he said.
This forum is the second in a series of several hamlet “Listen Ins” that the Democrats plan to hold this campaign season.
The first—in Springs last month—attracted about 60 attendees, Ms. Frankl said. Another is being planned for Amagansett next month, to be followed by one for the East Hampton, Wainscott and Northwest Woods areas in September.