Town Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci blasted Newsday Tuesday over its editorials on LIPA’s lawsuit attempting to lower its tax bills by challenging the assessment of its Northport power plant.
Residents have been protesting the LIPA lawsuit, saying that a successful challenge would be a major blow to funding the Northport-East Northport school district.
Here is the full letter:
Biased, Inaccurate & Insulting to Residents
In a letter addressed to Newsday dated April 30, Lupinacci responded to what he said were inaccuracies and personal attacks in the editorials.
“As a public official – a former school board trustee, State Assemblyman and now as Town Supervisor – I understand that criticism comes with the job, and I have never publicly responded to such. I have also limited my public comments regarding the LIPA litigation out of respect for the judge’s wishes, while LIPA has done the opposite, including taking out a full-page advertisement in a Northport newspaper this past week. The inaccuracies and baseless personal attacks contained within the Newsday Editorial Board’s article, featured in the Sunday, April 28, 2019 print edition, entitled“Huntington should make a deal on Northport power-plant lawsuit,” however, requires me to change my policy as they warrant a public response.
“It was certainly not surprising to see yet another one-sided piece by the Newsday Editorial Board on the Northport Power Plant litigation – Newsdayhas made no secret of its thoughts on this case and has been carrying LIPA’s water for years. What did surprise me were the personal attacks that the Editorial Board leveled against my colleagues on the Huntington Town Board and me.
“The editorial described me as “all but invisible” and said that I am floundering in my job. Not surprisingly, there were no facts to support these defamatory statements. Indeed, this past weekend I attended thirteen events, and since taking office I have made hundreds of public appearances – hardly the schedule of an “invisible” Supervisor. As for my job performance, I am proud of the many accomplishments of my administration in less than eighteen months in office and the fulfillment of key campaign promises. We have increased the transparency of Town government, passed term limits, approved projects to revitalize Huntington Station, strengthened both our Ethics Code and the Town’s ability to curb illegal use of property and the abuse of short-term rental permits, improved public safety, protected our quality of life, and passed dozens of amendments to the Town Code to ensure that our laws are up-to-date.
“There is similarly no basis for the over-the-top assertion that the Town Board “is stupidly chasing its own tail, terrified of grassroot agitators from the Northport-East Northport school district….” The Town Board is united in its determination to achieve a fair outcome to this matter for all Huntington residents and has devoted significant resources to the defense of the case, while actively engaging in settlement discussions. The Editorial Board’s reference to the residents of the Northport-East Northport School District as “agitators” is demeaning and beneath a serious journalistic newspaper. The people of Northport and East Northport are deeply proud of the quality of education provided by their school district and rightfully worried that what school district officials have carefully built over decades will have to be dismantled. The residents are also concerned that a tax increase will force them to abandon a community that has been their home for generations. The editorial’s attempt to trivialize these valid concerns is quite frankly shameful and the Editorial Board should be embarrassed.
“While Newsday is entitled to their opinion that the Northport Power Plant is over-assessed, I resent the paper’s continued attempt to browbeat Huntington into accepting a bad deal. The Editorial Board praises the deal accepted by Brookhaven Supervisor Edward Romaine, but conveniently ignores the fact that the Port Jefferson plant and the Northport Power Plant are not at all comparable. The Northport Power Plant is capable of producing four times the power of the Port Jefferson plant and LIPA would not be able to keep the power on without Northport. Indeed, Northport is vital to the generation and supply of electricity on Long Island.
“The Editorial Board also incorrectly portrays Huntington as irrational and unwilling to compromise. In actuality, it is LIPA and National Grid that refuse to negotiate in good faith. The Town of Huntington has offered LIPA/National Grid several settlement proposals, all of which would save LIPA in excess of $130 million in taxes over the course of the settlement term. In fact, considering the megawatt capacity of Northport and Port Jefferson, Huntington’s offer is actually better than the Brookhaven deal. Not only have LIPA and National Grid rejected these generous offers, they stubbornly refuse to make a counteroffer and have not lowered their demands since I took office in January 2018. I understand Newsday‘s opinion that a settlement is preferable to continued litigation, but Huntington cannot negotiate against itself.
“While I am sure that this letter will do nothing to change Newsday‘s opinion of the assessment of the Northport Power Plant, it is my hope that the Editorial Board will endeavor to show some modicum of fairness in its reporting on this matter, and rather than continually serve as LIPA’s mouthpiece, make at least some attempt to gather and present the facts in an evenhanded manner.”https://huntingtonnow.com/lipa-lawsuit/