Tuesday’s East Hampton Democratic primary comes at an important time for the town trustees, who have moved away from being mostly reactive, as they were in the past, to looking ahead and leaning in on a new role as environmental advocates. While the town board may have to cope with all kinds of problems, the trustees’ mandate as stewards of critical waterways and ancient lands gives them moral authority that goes well beyond the harbors, bays, and woodland roads.
Among the bright marks are the trustees’ progressive efforts on water quality, aquaculture, mosquito control, and even the danger that balloons pose to marine wildlife. With vigorous new blood, the town’s most venerable body is evolving toward a much-needed voice for the protection of nature, even where it may only have a bully pulpit and only the power of persuasion.
We think of the several sitting trustees and some of the first-time candidates who have been taking part in an expanded nighttime horseshoe crab survey that began in May and will wrap up in July. No longer is it merely a question of who is “bubbier”; today’s trustees need to be well informed, politically savvy, and hard-nosed enough to go up against stubborn state and county bureaucrats when the need arises.
Twelve names will appear on the primary ballot, all of whom we know and have evaluated carefully. Among themix of excellent incumbents and newcomers, we endorse John M. Aldred, Francis J. Bock, Benjamin P. Dollinger, Tim Garneau, James C. Grimes, Stephen Lester, Mike Martinsen, Susan F. McGraw Keber, and William F. Taylor. This group, should it win on Tuesday, and hold on through the general election, will have the makings of a truly effective trustee board.