IMPORTANT: Candidates for Trustee and their responses to the questionnaire

See what the Democratic Party candidates for Trustee have to say about the Deepwater Wind South Fork project ahead of the Nov. 5 general election. Remember the voter registration deadline is October 11 (Friday), absentee ballots applications are due no later than October 29 (Tuesday) and absentee ballots need to be postmarked no later than November 4. We asked all candidates to provide responses to seven questions. Find below all unedited responses in order of date received:


Rona Klopman

[Emailed] Date: June 16, 2019

  1. I am NOT supportive of the Deepwater Wind Farm project as I feel they have not been upfront with their plans and certainly not transparent to the community.

    2.and 3. I feel that DWW should come into shore mid-island since the energy they will produce will be going to that area. I don’t like Beach Lane nor the Hither Hills site. Digging in either of these sites will be destructive to East Hampton and certainly to the Wainscott community.

    4. If elected to the Trustee Board you can be rest assured that I will not support the use of either one of their routes. I feel quite independent of this Town Board. Actually, the Committee chosen candidates owe their election to the Dem Committee and the Town Board. I don’t!

    5. I’m running on the EH Fusion Party line with Dell Cullum, Rick Drew, Steven Lester, Si Kinsella, and Susan Vorpahl, et al. I believe we are all supportive of the Wainscott community and not supportive of the DWW project landing on Beach Lane. I have been very vocal in addressing this issue and appreciate Fred Thiele’s comments and for taking the stand he took.

    6. As a 10 year member of the Democratic Committee and one who recognizes how they demean independence of thought from past experience with the Committee, you can count on me feeling that we should have expert environmental impact opinions on DWW . The current Trustees have hired a lawyer in order to protect themselves politically-I’m for hiring environmental experts.

Stephen Lester

[Emailed] Thu, Jun 20, 2019 at 6:34 AM

#1 I do not support Deepwater south fork project
#2 I oppose the cable at Beach Lane
#3 I oppose any aspect of this project
#4 I am committed to opposing the Beach Lane landing of cable
#5 yes [Question was: If you oppose the use of Beach Lane/Wainscott, will you use your position as a Trustee to actively oppose the use of Beach Lane even if the town board supports it]
#6 Democratic reform fusion Dell Cullum Richard p Drew Rona Kaplan I believe we are all one the same page
#7 I have twelve years of past experience as a East Hampton Town Trustee
And a good connection with the local fishermen, and community. My family and relatives are in the commercial fishing business and have been for over thee hundred years.


Francis Bock, Bill Taylor, James Grimes, John Aldred, Susan McGraw Keber, Rick Drew, Tim Garneau, Mike Martinsen, Ben Dollinger

[Mailed] June 19, 2019
Democratic Endorsed Candidates
East Hampton Town Trustees

Dear Citizens,

I write in response to the included questionnaire very recently received from Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott. I am representing the following Democratic Endorsed candidates:

Francis Bock, Bill Taylor, James Grimes, John Aldred, Susan McGraw Keber, Rick Drew, Tim Garneau, Mike Martinsen, Ben Dollinger

Based on group discussion, we believe a single unified response is appropriate to your inquiry.

Question #1.

On August 27th, 2018, the trustees, ‘intending to continue to negotiate a land use agreement with Deepwater Wind, South Fork, and to participate as interveners in the Article VII process’, voted unanimously (Susan McGraw Keber absent) to hire a special counsel to represent them. On September 10th, 2018, the trustees agreed, again unanimously (Dell Cullum absent), to form a negotiating committee to work with the special counsel on ‘issues pertaining to Deepwater Wind’s request to land their transmission cable across the Trustee beach.

Without prejudgment, we are committed to continue evaluating the serious issues regarding a cable landing in East Hampton and to holding Deepwater Wind accountable to addressing the specific issues of concern to the people of the town, reserving any final decision to the result of this process.

As elected officials, we believe this is the responsible approach to a final resolution of this matter.

Thank you.

Francis Bock
Democratic Endorsed Trustee candidates


Dell R. Cullum

[Mailed] June 19, 2019

These are my responses to your questions as numbered 1 thru 7.

1) Although I am a huge supporter of alternative / green energy, I am not, nor have I ever been a supporter of the Deepwater South Fork Wind project. Based on small but vital impacts on both fish migration and environmental disruption was my concern until I clearly, and constantly began seeing signs of non transparency, misleading information and just plain bad business. This immediately became my primary concern and remains so.

2) Absolutely. Even more, I’m not happy with the beach landing of the cable plan, so their attempt to land the most direct and easiest route to the sub station regardless of the community in its path (or their concerns), is in perfect harmony with their business practices.

3) I have and I do. It goes from the easiest route to the most difficult. Now you’re impacting an already sensitive area that runs along the railroad tracks. The roads crossings would become very disruptive, particularly through East Hampton Village. I’ve always felt it was made an alternative site for its complexity, to make the easy Beach lane route more appealing to those who are easily misdirected.

4) I would absolutely vote the Hither Hills route before Beach lane, for a combination of all my answers above.

5) Absolutely. I have from day one and have never swayed about the entire issue.

6) I can’t quite say who supports what in this political arena. I run as an individual ready to protect the rights of the public as I’m required. As a present Trustee, I’m appalled by the political agendas, conflicts of interest and non transparency within the board itself, not to mention toward the public in which we are suppose to serve. It’s important that these folks who abuse the Tustee body, while playing pawns to the Town board, are NOT voted back in to office. The ONLY two people running for Trustee I would recommend, is local candidates SUSAN VORPHAL and Stephen Lester.

7) I wish to continue protecting the beaches, the wildlife, public access and public rights to their roads and properties. I’d like the Trustee body to once again be a fine tuned machine where everyone works together, focused on the same goal, looking out for the best interest of THE PEOPLE whom they serve.

Thank you,

Dell R. Cullum


Questions asked of candidates

Dear Candidate for East Hampton Trustee,
The Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott is a community-based organization that advocates for Wainscott, and provides our residents with meaningful information about issues important to our hamlet. We are a non-partisan organization that does not endorse candidates for public office. 

To that end, we are asking all the Trustee candidates on the June 25 ballot to answer questions on issues that are of deep interest to our members. We ask for your response by June 20th. We plan to publish the responses on our website on June 21st to give our members the ability to make informed decisions. Should you decide not to respond, we will also indicate your decision not to respond. You can respond with your answers by replying to this email or sending directly to gouri.edlich@wainscott.org.
Please provide written responses to the following questions:

1. Do you support or oppose the Deepwater South Fork Wind project? Please explain your position given our keen interest in renewable energy.

2. Do you support or oppose the use of the Beach Lane/Wainscott to land the cable for this wind farm? Please explain your position.

3. Have you evaluated the Hither Hills alternative for landing the cable? Do you have a position on the Hither Hills route? Please explain.

4. If you oppose the use of Beach Lane/Wainscott route to land this cable and are for the Hither Hills route, will you commit to voting against the use of Beach Lane if Deepwater continues to push this as its preferred route?

5. If you oppose the use of Beach Lane/Wainscott, will you use your position as a Trustee to actively oppose the use of Beach Lane even if the town board supports it?

6. Are you running as part of a slate or coalition with other candidates? If so, please list those candidates. Do those candidates share your position on the use of Beach Lane as a landing site?

7. Please provide any other information about your candidacy that you feel is important for the people of Wainscott to know when selecting a candidate.

While we do not have a limit on the length of your responses and will not edit them, we ask that you keep them clear and concise. Thank you in advance for your cooperation. We look forward to receiving your response in a timely manner. We will alert you when we publish the responses from all the candidates.