James M. Greenberg, a Republican candidate for the Nassau County Legislature, said if elected he would use communication and his legal background to improve the lives of his constituents.
Greenberg, who grew up in Roslyn Harbor, was adopted by his parents from an orphanage in Bogotá, Colombia, where, he said, he was “left on the doorstep” as an infant.
The process inspired Greenberg’s father, immigration attorney J. Michael Greenberg, to assist other families in adoptions, and resulted in his creating Greenberg and Greenberg, an adoption and immigration law firm where the younger Greenberg now works.
Now 46, Greenberg, of Glen Cove, is challenging three-term Democratic incumbent Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) to represent District 11, which encompasses Sands Point, Port Washington, Roslyn, Roslyn Harbor, Glen Head, Glenwood, Sea Cliff and Glen Cove. He previously ran for Glen Cove City Council 10 years ago and said that this year he was “asked to run by the Glen Cove Republican Party.”
Greenberg said in a sitdown interview with Blank Slate Media that he sees tax assessment as a major issue of the campaign.
“It’s about why we’re paying such high property taxes, what’s wrong with the system and to fix the system,” he said.
The candidate added that he has researched past administration, and observed that “mistakes were made.” While the county has been holding tax workshops and town halls, Greenberg said, he attended one and “it didn’t help [him] understand everything.” Additionally, the proposed “Assessment Bill of Rights” “didn’t make an impression on me,” he said, though he is in favor of a five-year phase-in of assessment changes.
“The phase-in seems to be a common-sense approach,” Greenberg says. “It is going to end up happening, and they need some time for this to occur.”
With school taxes making up two-thirds of the property tax bill, he said, “What I notice with schools is that there’s more cutting of certain programs than increasing programs, and I’m just wondering, were is that money going, and they’re going to salaries, but are people being overpaid?”
Greenberg also sees downtown revitalization as crucial to keeping millennials in the county, and saaid that “smarter development” of affordable rental apartments is necessary.
“I think millennials are not going to immediately purchase a home, and they’re driving less,” Greenberg said. “I would like to see rentals and condominiums near the water, taking advantage of Long Island’s assets, including the Long Island Rail Road.”
Greenberg attended Skidmore College, graduating in 1995, and earned his Juris Doctor from Hofstra University School of Law in 1998, the same place where his late mother, Barbara, earned her J.D. Additionally, he has served in the leadership of the Glen Cove Junior Soccer League, where he currently serves as vice president.
If elected, Greenberg said, he would leave his law practice and “put almost 100 percent” into being a county legislator. What would make him stand out, he added, is his willingness to communicate with constituents.
“Why is it only during election season that we see politicians walking from door to door to talk about issues? To me, it’s a major mistake,” Greenberg says. “What I’m going to do is communicate with people to really understand what their needs are, and go back to them to say ‘Look this can be accomplished,’ or ‘This can’t be accomplished.'”
Greenberg also said that passion defines him in much of his public work and career.
“When I run something, I put my whole self into it, whether it’s my law firm, a soccer league, a nonprofit,” Greenberg said. “This wouldn’t be a part-time job for me.”