NHP goes to the polls

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Laura Gillen, the first Democrat to be elected as Town of Hempstead supervisor in 100 years, is seeking re-election in Tuesday’s balloting in a race against a longtime Republican official, Donald X. Clavin Jr.

Voters in the New Hyde Park area and Floral Park will also decide races for the Town Board, receiver of taxes, town clerk, county district attorney and county Legislature.

Voters within the parts of New Hyde Park incorporated in the Town of North Hempstead will be voting for town supervisor, the 2nd District seat on the Town Board, town receiver of taxes and the 9th Legislative District seat.

In the Hempstead supervisor race, besides Clavin, the town receiver of taxes, Gillen is facing Libertarian candidate and activist Diane Madden.

Gillen often clashes with the Hempstead Town Board over the direction of the town and cited an action when the board tabled five resolutions to move the town forward, including helping the town clerk’s office go fully digital. Voting for Clavin would be “going backwards,” she said.

Clavin, who has been tax receiver since 2001, said that the town should emulate what private companies are doing to create a more efficient government. He said he would take away “take home” cars for town commissioners, slash the supervisor’s budget and ask for the resignation of all current town department heads.

Madden said she believes that the town is in need of more watchdogs and fewer political gatekeepers. She promised a “people’s administration” and said she would not accept a salary.

Thomas Tweedy, the former Republican mayor of Floral Park, has entered the race for Hempstead Town Board as a Democrat, challenging Republican Thomas Muscarella for the 2nd District seat.

The  district includes Bellerose Terrace, Floral Park, Garden City, Garden City South, the incorporated area of New Hyde Park, Salisbury, South Floral Park and Stewart Manor, and portions of Bellerose, East Meadow, Elmont, Franklin Square, Hempstead, Uniondale and West Hempstead.

Tweedy, who worked in general construction before entering politics, said his strengths include that he has made deals across the political aisle, values fiscal management and restraint, and is an independent thinker.

Muscarella, who did not respond to requests for a candidate interview with Blank Slate Media, said in a League of Women Voters questionnaire that the biggest issue facing Hempstead is taxes. He said he supported the Hempstead Town Board’s 2019 adopted tax cut budget, which was supported by every member of the Town Board except Gillen.

For Clavin’s vacant receiver of taxes position, Republican Jeanine C. Driscoll is facing Democrat Chandra Ortiz.

For the town clerk position, incumbent Democrat Sylvia Cabana is facing off against former Hempstead Supervisor and Clerk Kate Murray, a Republican.

In the Nassau County Legislature, incumbent Republican Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello of New Hyde Park is running against Democrat Mal Nathan for the 9th District, which includes Roslyn Estates, Albertson, Plandome Manor, Plandome, Plandome Heights, Munsey Park, Williston Park, East Williston, Mineola, Garden City Park and New Hyde Park.

Nicolello and Nathan are facing off for the third time, and have expressed differing views on county reassessment.

Retired West Hempstead teacher Barbara Hafner is opposing Republican Vincent Muscarella for a seat in the county Legislature’s 8th District.

The district encompasses Franklin Square, Floral Park, Bellerose, Bellerose Terrace, West Hempstead and portions of Elmont, New Hyde Park and Stewart Manor.

Hafner said that the county Legislature lacks good communication, saying that a successful school did not depend only on the work of a single faculty member but one would also have to communicate with her colleagues, parents, administrators and the school superintendent. As a legislator she said she would support redistricting the Legislature, help make residents understand reassessment and its five-year phase-in plan and downtown revitalization efforts.

Muscarella, who did not respond to requests for a candidate interview, said in a League of Women Voters questionnaire that zero based budgeting practices should be required from all county department heads, requiring all expenses to be justified from dollar one. Muscarella said that transit-oriented development and development such as the Hub must lead the county’s economic growth, but also said that new growth must “supplement and not supplant” existing local businesses.

In the race for Town of North Hempstead supervisor, incumbent Democrat Judi Bosworth is being challenged by Republican David Redmond, a Mineola resident.

Bosworth, who has been the town’s supervisor since first being elected in 2013, has touted her experience and public service record.

Redmond, vocal on the need for a change of management style in the town, is running for supervisor after losing in the town clerk race to Wayne Wink in 2017.

In one of several races for seats on the North Hempstead Town Board, incumbent Democratic Councilman Peter Zuckerman of East Hills is being challenged by Republican Ragini Srivastava of Manhasset Hills and Green Party candidate Cassandra Lems of New Hyde Park for the 2nd District.

The district includes Roslyn Harbor, Roslyn Heights, Albertson, East Hills, East Williston, Glenwood Landing, Greenvale, Herricks, Manhasset Hills, and Searingtown.

Zuckerman, who is running for his third term, says he wishes to implement a cultural master plan for the town to “maximize potential” of commercial and downtown districts. Srivastava, a small-business owner, is in favor of creating a “downtown development corporation or similar organization” and Lems, a paralegal, says she would encourage shopkeepers and arts organizations to “band together to create events that draw people into commercial areas.”

The race for Town of North Hempstead receiver of taxes features incumbent Democrat Charles Berman taking on Republican Ron Rochester.

Berman, a resident of Roslyn Heights for over 20 years, was first elected as the town’s receiver of taxes in 2010. He has made it clear that he will not be running for “any other office now or in the future.” Berman said he wishes to use the “best people possible” in the tax office, political parties aside. 

Rochester, of Port Washington, said that if elected he would strive to make improvements in the town’s “antiquated” electronic bill payment website. He offers 25 years of law enforcement experience, along with work in forensic accounting. 

The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Rose Weldon and Robert Pelaez contributed reporting.

 

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