Town of Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino is facing opposition from members of his own party, including former Floral Park Mayor Thomas Tweedy.
In a letter to the editor sent to Blank Slate Media, Tweedy wrote that voters need to pull the lever and end “the childish chaos and insidious cronyism that the current town supervisor, Anthony Santino, seems to epitomize.”
“It is time for us to change horses,” Tweedy wrote.
Just one day into office, Tweedy wrote, Santino joined with the “arrogant Republican leadership” to announce plans for a casino at Belmont Park to be run by the “unprofitable and bloated Nassau OTB patronage mill.” The announcement came without first consulting with the community, according to Tweedy.
“These interconnected insiders decided that the Nassau County OTB needed to be propped up and saved,” Tweedy wrote. “Even if it meant to burden the very communities they had solemnly pledged to serve.”
Tweedy’s words echo those of Councilman Bruce Blakeman, who publicly endorsed Santino’s Democratic opponent, Laura Gillen, for supervisor during a news conference last Thursday outside the Nassau Supreme Court. Blakeman said Santino’s “short tenure as supervisor has brought cronyism and featherbedding to levels that are unprecedented.”
Blakeman previously compared Santino to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un on Facebook, and along with Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, he has been challenging Santino’s actions for months.
In a statement, Santino called Blakeman’s comments “petty, personal, and groundless attacks.”
Gillen accepted the endorsement from Blakeman, who is supporting the rest of the Republican ticket, saying the councilman “knows this race is not about Democrat versus Republican.”
Nassau GOP Chairman Joseph Mondello, in a separate statement, said he is disappointed Blakeman put personal feelings over Republican principles.
Tweedy does not see it that way.
Tweedy wrote that he and Gillen “may not agree on every fundamental issue, but none of those are within the direct responsibility or jurisdiction of the Town of Hempstead Supervisor.” Gillen’s “clearheaded … pleasant, welcoming manner and engaging, personal outreach,” make her the obvious choice over the “draconian” ways of Santino, he wrote.
According to Tweedy, the election for supervisor is one of the most important decisions voters will face on Tuesday. The future of Belmont Park is again the subject of new proposals, and Tweedy wrote it is “too valuable a resource to Nassau County … to be left to our current Town of Hempstead supervisor.”
“The Town of Hempstead has been handcuffed by uninspired, even allegedly corrupt leadership for too long,” Tweedy wrote. “This Election Day Nov. 7, we can change that and start anew by electing Laura Gillen as supervisor for the Town of Hempstead.”
In response, Matt Coleman, Santino’s campaign spokesman, said “New York State land use issue, coincidentally, requires no local government approval.”
Coleman also referred to current Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi’s endorsement of Santino in September, as well as his endorsement by former Floral Park Mayor Ann V. Corbett and former Floral Park Judge Bill Corbett Sr.