East Hampton Town Democrats Post Anti-Stanzione YouTube Video


An East Hampton Town Democratic Committee member, bothered by Republican Councilman Dominick Stanzione’s voting pattern on the Town Board, has posted a video on YouTube highlighting a number of times he has abstained from voting on legislation—and she hopes the clip sways voters come Election Day.

Mr. Stanzione, who is running for a second term on the board, describes himself in campaign advertisements as an “independent voice” on the board.

With three Republicans and two Democrats on the board, he often supplies the swing vote, but the video points out that he has allowed important votes, such as measures to protect the Peconic Estuary and to save Fort Pond House in Montauk, to fail, 2-2, while abstaining.

“That’s not independence,” the video concludes. “It’s hiding under the bed.”

Rona Klopman, a member of the town’s Democratic Committee, uploaded the 51-second video, “Dominick Stanzione Abstains,” on September 2. As of early this week, two weeks later, it had been viewed nearly 300 times. Three YouTube users gave it a thumbs up, while three gave it a thumbs down.

Set to dramatic music, the video—created by film editor John Chimples, a Democrat and former committeeman—uses footage from purchased LTV coverage of board meetings to emphasize Mr. Stanzione’s abstentions on such issues as the Peconic Estuary, Fort Pond House and a town taxi law. At one point, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, a Republican, asks him how long it will take him to decide, claiming Mr. Stanzione would take another week of “politicking.”

Mr. Stanzione declined to comment on the video this week, saying, “I’m too busy for that bullshit.”

Ms. Klopman said she and her fellow committee members had the idea for a while.

“We were sitting there at Town Board meetings. You would just see him siding with Bill Wilkinson and Theresa Quigley,” Ms. Klopman, a regular meeting attendee, said, referring to the other Republicans on the board, neither of whom is seeking reelection. “And, all of a sudden, when they were no longer in the running, he becomes—as Theresa called him—a turncoat. You can actually see it.”

Ms. Klopman, who pointed out that she’s a former teacher interested in facts and research, said she Googled his abstentions and found that in February, when he decided to run again, his voting pattern visibly shifted. “If there’s something in it for Dominick, he will go for it,” she said.

He had abstained from voting on pulling Fort Pond House off the market this summer, which the board’s Democrats, Peter Van Scoyoc and Sylvia Overby, were pushing for, but waited to vote for it at a work session in Montauk, which Ms. Klopman charges was purely political.

“He wants to know how many votes are in it for him,” she said.

She said he hopes voters will be swayed in November.

The committee links to the video from its website, ehdems.com, inviting users to click on it to see where Dominick “Abstainzione” stands.

Jeanne Frankl, the Democratic Committee chairwoman, said she feels the video sums up her party’s sentiment.

“It’s part of our effort to rebut Dominick Stanzione’s campaign,” she said. “We have been watching him for a long time and it’s our observation that he is guided by political interests. We thought a jokey video would make our point.”

“The way in which he has shifted from being mostly in lockstep with his Republican colleagues to sort of gradually showing a preference for some of our Democratic vices not only belies his independence, but the way he has done it is not the hallmark of an independent legislator,” she said.

She declined to comment on whether her party had plans to promote the video further.

“The essence of promotion is surprise,” she said.

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