In response to Mr. Levy’s letter to the editor on Dec. 13, as a past candidate for the Glen Cove City Council and NY State Assembly I must disagree with your logic about the mayoral election in Glen Cove. I concur with your view point about the high taxes under past Mayor Tom Suozzi. He had no other choice but to address the issues in reference to financial stability. The previous mayor before Tom Suozzi put us in a financial mess, and we were at junk bond ratings. Tom Suozzi’s administration got Glen Cove out of a financial mess and brought us back to AAA bond ratings for the first time since 1978. I disagree with your opinion that Ralph Suozzi also raised city taxes. Under his administration, he kept the city taxes below the 2 percent property tax cap and also balanced the city budget and complied with the State Comptroller’s reports.
One of Mr. Levy’s points is that Mayor Spinello put forth during his administration all the projects that were stalled during previous administrations. In my opinion Mayor Spinello pushed too quickly these overly dense projects such as RXR Corporation’s downtown and waterfront projects and Livingston Electric’s project. Under Ralph Suozzi’s administration although he accepted political contributions from Livingston, he made it clear that Livingston could not develop more than 90 units, and he passed a hilltop ordinance protecting the neighboring properties. The same applied to the Regency in Glen Cove. Under the prior developer’s plan in the downtown, there were only 110 units which included the property where Panera Bread stands. Under RXR’s plan however, the zoning board granted a variance to build a total of 146 units. Unfortunately, Mayor Spinello’s administration rushed through these projects and repealed the hilltop ordinances protecting neighboring houses and allowed more units to be built from before.
Another issue of outgoing mayor Spinello was his Industrial Development Agency (IDA) gave tax breaks to companies such as RXR, which will cost Glen Cove in the years to come if revoked $90 million. Under the Ralph Suozzi administration his IDA appointments gave the Regency a 40- year tax exemption, which means they do not pay taxes. Based on the IDA’s tax giveaways, I wonder how this benefits the City of Glen Cove considering that these are luxury apartments, and only 10 percent would be reserved for affordable units. I was in attendance at a city council meeting when out of town employees from a local union packed the meeting. How again is this for economic development when they do not pay taxes and all of those employees do not live in Glen Cove?
The question is how is this development beneficial to the City of Glen Cove? We already have too many restaurants, and many local businesses that have been in Glen Cove are struggling and, it would appear that many franchises and big chain stores benefit. What are we going to do to assist these small mom and pop businesses that have been the pillars of Glen Cove? We need to treat this like a small town where small businesses provide services for local residents and the surrounding communities. Our city needs to have a hometown feeling instead of relying on big chain stores. If these projects are finalized, the city would face several problems such as traffic and a requirement for more services such as police and fire protection and sanitation and sewers. For example, every few years insurance industry experts rate the municipal fire protection per population, and in some cases if more buildings are constructed it may require additional apparatus for fire protection and maybe in some cases new substations. This may result in an increase in your home owners’ insurance policy and local city taxes because of new equipment.
The current Spinello administration relied too much on building and construction permits to balance the budget which the New York State Comptroller in his reports stated that this was not a fiscally sound way to foresee future budgets, and this could result in possible shortcomings. The voters were not uninformed; they were just unenthused about the candidates. I find Mr. Levy’s comment about voter ignorance an insult to the voters’ (including myself) intelligence. In response to Mr. Levy’s analogy about being satisfied with Spinello, I would like to know how he conducted this survey. It takes a professional pollster to do random samplings.
I disagree with Mr. Levy’s logic that political appointments were based on loyalty. Under Ralph Suozzi’s administration he appointed for example a former city councilman who was once on the Republican ticket in the ‘80s when Ralph’s late father who once was mayor. Ralph appointed him to city attorney. Also Ralph’s former deputy mayor was also a Republican who did a great job as deputy mayor. What about Mayor Spinello? Mayor Spinelllo’s appointees were loyalists. Many, such as the planning, zoning and variance board members were either former city councilmen, or former running team mates.
As a past candidate for city council, my agenda was to revoke IDA decisions, abolish the IDA, and change the city charter to allow the voters to vote for half of the planning, zoning and variance board members. As a past candidate I have heard people tell me why do I not run on the major political party lines? The answer is, The Green Party does not believe in fusion candidates. We run our own candidates and we do not accept the other party lines. Voters tend to be creatures of habit, in my opinion. They tend to vote for the two major political parties because, they feel third party candidates do not stand a chance of winning. When the voters vote for when they cast their ballots for the two major parties they get what they deserve. People should vote on principles rather than party lines.
In conclusion I wish Mayor Spinello good luck in his future endeavors. Because this election was won by only three votes it tells you that Glen Cove was divided. It is now up to Mayor Elect Tenke to unite Glen Cove and that the majority on the city council do the same.