Says Suffolk Legislators Reject the Public’s Voice

Contact: Richard Amper (516) 383-5391
David Reisfield (631) 724-3455

In an extraordinary electoral move, instead of endorsing candidates individually, the Long Island Environmental Voters Forum (LIEVF) has urged voters to oppose all incumbent candidates in the Suffolk County Legislature. The group cited the legislators’ repeated efforts to thwart the public’s wishes regarding environmental protection.


In 2007, voters approved at referendum a program to limit future development of farmland by purchasing farmers’ development rights. The program was successful, but in 2010 and 2013 the county legislature passed laws to permit additional development of these lands, contrary to the referendum.

The Long Island Pine Barrens Society sued in New York State Supreme Court, arguing that legislators could not take it upon themselves to change the terms of deals the public had approved.

The Supreme Court agreed, ruling that a law created by referendum could be changed only by a subsequent referendum. The county appealed the decision, and the legislators doubled down by supporting state legislation to allow the same kind of expanded development. The measure, promoted by the agriculture lobby, passed the state Senate, but was rejected by the Assembly.

“The public will not stand, and should not stand, for bait-and-switch by their elected representatives,” said LIEVF president Richard Amper. “If referendums can be overturned by politicians at the behest of lobbyists, voters would stop voting for land and water quality protection. All open space and farmland preservation is approved by referendum.”


Rising nitrogen levels have become an urgent, even existential threat to Long Island’s shoreline, waterways and drinking water. Long Islanders themselves should surely be involved in deciding how to meet this threat. But county legislators are shutting them out.
This year a coalition of major environmental groups approached legislators asking them to write Albany requesting approval for a possible future referendum. Local governments need state approval to create referendums.

“We weren’t asking them to support any program or any referendum,” said Amper, “merely to make it possible for voters to have their say. They flatly refused—every one of them.


“Long Islanders want open space and clean water and consistently vote 80% for programs to protect them,” said LIEVF executive director David Reisfield. “But when we vote to preserve farmland from development, the politicians in Hauppauge try to overturn it. And now they’re denying us even the possibility of a public referendum—on the most important issue facing Long Island.”

“If these politicians don’t accept that their job is to do what the public wants,” said Reisfield, “there’s only one thing to do: throw the bums out.”

LIEVF is urging voters to vote against every county legislator standing for re-election. “All of them voted to overturn the farm referendum, and all refused to allow a new referendum to save Long Island’s waters,” Reisfield said. “So our motto is simple, ‘If they’re in, they’re out.’ “

LIEVF is calling for all of these incumbents to be voted out: Sarah Anker, Robert Calarco, Tom Cilmi, Bridget Fleming, DuWayne Gregory, Kara Hahn, Leslie Kennedy, Al Krupski, William Lindsay, III, Kevin McCaffrey, Tom Muratore, William Spencer, and Robert Trotta. In some districts the sitting legislators were term limited; in these cases there is no incumbent and voters should follow their personal preferences.

The Long Island Environmental Voters Forum is a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots organization created to identify, recruit, endorse and support pro-environment candidates for public office.


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Romaine, Cartright and Herman Get Nod


Contact: David Reisfield (631) 724-3455

The Long Island Environmental Voters Forum has endorsed two Suffolk candidates for re-election in central and western Suffolk County, a supervisor candidate in Nassau County and is awaiting questionnaire responses from candidates for Nassau County Executive.

In Brookhaven, the Environmental Voters Forum praised Republican Supervisor Ed Romaine, as “one of Long Island’s leading environmental advocates among Long Island government officials,” in the words of LIEVF president Richard Amper.  “Ed Romaine is proactive in critical areas such as clean water, open space and alternative energy,” Amper added.  “He is assertively prioritizing the environment in a town that for a long time was seen as anti-environment.  The turn-around is impressive.”

Brookhaven Democratic Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright was also endorsed in Brookhaven.  “The environment is a non-partisan issue and both Romaine and Cartright have made it a priority”, Amper said.

The widespread corruption in Oyster Bay Town calls for leadership at the top.  The Voters Forum endorses Democrat Marc Herman over incumbent Supervisor Joseph Saladino for Supervisor.

Neither Republican Jack Martins nor Democrat Laura Currans returned candidate questionnaires, according to LIEVF executive director David Reisfield.  He said the green group would pursue the candidates’ positions on environmental issues “because the environment is so important to Long Islanders.”
The Long Island Environmental Voters Forum is a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots organization created to identify, recruit, endorse and support pro-environment candidates for public office.


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East End Candidates Stand Up for the Environment

Contact: David Reisfield (631) 724-3455

The Long Island Environmental Voters Forum has announced its endorsement of candidates for town offices who can be counted on to make the environment a priority on the East End.

In Southampton the green group gave high honors to Town Board candidates Julie Lofstad and Tommy John Schiavoni.  Lofstad is running for re-election on both the Democratic and Conservative lines; Schiavoni on the Democratic line.  “Councilmember Lofstad is a true champion of the environment who takes her responsibility to the people of Southampton very seriously,” said Richard Amper, president of the Environmental Voters Forum.  Tommy John is a first time candidate with a history of supporting environmental initiatives.

In an unprecedented move, LIEVF “endorsed” sitting Town Councilman John Bouvier, whose term is not up until 2019.  “Councilman Bouvier is a knowledgeable and committed public servant who has made commitment to Southampton’s environment a priority throughout his term in office.  All three oppose the proposed “Hills” mega-development in the pine barrens and state-designated Special Groundwater Protection Area.

“The Hills proposed project involves an 18-hole private golf course, with 117 residences and a 155,760 square foot clubhouse/catering facility.  Scientists have identified this site as essential to the protection of drinking and surface waters in an area that is already seriously jeopardized by groundwater contamination, producing harmful algae blooms that threaten Weesuck Creek and Shinnecock Bay.  In addition to nitrogen contamination from sewage, the project involves the use of large quantities of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.  “The Hills” parcel lies in a town Aquifer Protection Overlay District, County Critical Environmental Area and State Special Groundwater Protection Area.  It is the largest Pine Barrens parcel, still in private ownership.  The town recognized this essential fact by re-zoning the property to one home per five acres.
The project is opposed by nearly all environmental and civic groups in the town and beyond.  The Voters Forum made no endorsement in the race for Supervisor where both candidates support the mega-development despite heavy opposition from Assemblyman Fred Thiele and other public officials.

The Long Island Environmental Voters forum also endorsed three candidates for Southampton Town Trustee, a board that works to protect the town’s water resources.  They are Ron Fisher, Gary Glanz and Ann Welker.

In East Hampton, the environmental group endorses Democrat Peter Van Scoyoc for Supervisor, and Republican Paul Giardina and Democrat Jeffrey Bragman for Town Council. “Bragman has a particularly impressive record as an environmental champion” said LIEVF president, Richard Amper.  East Hampton has taken the lead among Long Island towns in efforts to reverse declining water quality in the town and across the Island.

In Shelter Island, LIEVF again endorses incumbent Supervisor James
Doughtery. “His consistent commitment to the environment makes this endorsement a no-brainer,” Amper said.

In Southold the Voters Forum endorsed Debbie O’Kane who has been active in environmental protection both as a private citizens and in her professional work.  “Debbie has green blood in her veins said LIEVF executive director, David Reisfield.

In Riverhead, LIEVF called for the replacement of the Town Supervisor, Seal Walter and Board Member Jodie Giglio.  “These elected officials have had more than enough opportunity to advance the environment and have not done so.  Their management of the town has left riverhead deep in debut, despite dramatically increased taxes and with little or no attention to a declining environment.  LIEVF endorses challengers Laura Jens-Smith for Supervisor and town council candidates Catherine Kent and Michele Lynch.

The Long Island Environmental Voters Forum is a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots organization created to identify, recruit, endorse and support pro-environment candidates for public office.


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Nassau County Executive Support an Easy Call


Contact: David Reisfield (631) 724-3455

The Long Island Environmental Voters Forum has announced its endorsement of Laura Curran for County Executive. We know that she will make the environment a priority in Nassau County.

"Laura Curran is the champion Nassau County needs to ensure we can protect our water quality, improve the quality of life here on Long Island, and grow our economy. She understands that we have a fundamental responsibility to protect our drinking water, and has offered a real vision for how we can do transit-oriented development. We are proud to stand with Laura, and we will help her win this election so she can give Nassau County the fresh start it deserves.” states David Reisfield, LIEVF executive-director.

Richard Amper, LIEVF President noted, “The decision to back Laura Curran could not have been any easier. Whereas Ms. Curran, as a Nassau County legislator, voted to support environmental issues as diverse as the banning of fracking wastes to the creation of the county water resource board, her opponent had a dismal environmental record in the state legislature and made little effort to address the environment in his ill-fated congressional run.”

The LIEVF looks forward to working with Ms. Curran as County Executive as we did with her in the Nassau County Legislature.

The Long Island Environmental Voters Forum is a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots organization created to identify, recruit, endorse and support pro-environment candidates for public office.


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Suffolk Must Restore $30 Million to Water Protection

levy150The New York State Court of Appeals has declined to review an Appellate Court ruling which determined that the administration of discredited Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy illegally raided $30 Million from the County’s Drinking Water Protection Program to plug holes in the county budget.  The Appellate Division, Second Department ruled last November that since the water fund was created by Public Referendum, funds could not be re-directed without another Public Referendum. 

Created in 1987, the Suffolk County Drinking Water Protection Program uses a quarter-cent sales tax to protect water quality in the Pine Barrens and other water protection areas. But in 2011, the Suffolk County Legislature approved a Resolution moving $30 million from the water fund to the general fund.  The Long Island Pine Barrens Society and the Long Island Environmental Voters Forum sued in New York State Supreme Court, but the lower court dismissed the case. The environmentalists appealed, saying that since the fund was approved by voters, it could only be altered by another referendum.  Last November, the appeals court agreed, nullified the fund transfer and said that future changes to the Drinking Water Protection Program could only be accomplished by public referendum.

The Bellone administration appealed the ruling, first to the Appellate Division, then to the state’s highest court.  Both courts declined to consider Suffolk’s appeal, the Court of Appeals, yesterday.  The Pine Barrens Society and Environmental Voters Forum will now move for the return of the funds to the DWPP.

“This is a huge win for taxpayers and for good government,” said Pine Barrens Society Executive Director, Richard Amper. “Suffolk taxpayers are paying 2½ times the national average in taxes, but they’ve repeatedly approved taxing themselves ¼ penny more as long as it is used for water quality improvement.  The Levy administration betrayed that requirement when it raided the fund and the courts have now said that’s not just wrong; it’s against the law,” Amper added.

The litigation was managed by three pro bono attorneys, Jennifer Juengst, Paul Sabatino II and Regina Seltzer, who will be honored for their public service work at the Society’s 38th Anniversary Environmental Awards Gala on October 21.



We are recruiting motivated citizens who will make
environmental protection a priority in Brookhaven, Riverhead
and Southampton by running for Supervisor, there.


• Resident of the town for more than one year
• Unhappy with unresponsive, dysfunctional government
• Supports protecting water quality, preserving open space and controlling taxes
• Previous political involvement not required




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