Written by Dave Gil de Rubio, firstname.lastname@example.org Wednesday, 02 October 2013 09:12
In what was a major coup for the Garden City Chamber of Commerce, the organization secured Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano (R) and challenger Tom Suozzi (D) as keynote speakers to kick off its luncheon season. And while this event took on the appearance of a debate, it was a chance for both candidates to present their platforms before more than 150 attendee.
The biggest wrinkle in the day’s event came by way of the tragic workplace shooting that took place in East Garden City shortly before the luncheon began, forcing Mangano to appear fairly late as he dealt with the situation as part of his county executive duties.
With Suozzi opening the luncheon with his remarks, he brought up a proposal to address the county’s crushing debt via his oft-repeated plea for cool downtowns. In a nod to the hometown of his hosts, he cited Garden City as a prime example of this along with Rockville Centre and Great Neck.
“When we look at growth for the future of Nassau County, there’s no better model than Garden City,” he pointed out. “Garden City with its multi-story buildings in its downtown. With offices and apartments in its downtown. Beautiful residential neighborhoods and a strong vibrant commercial downtown. We need to replicate that in other places in the county as well.”
The Glen Cove native quickly moved on to his two terms as county executive. He touted how Nassau County had positive bond ratings and a verified surplus every year versus the two deficits of the Mangano administration declaring “one of which they admit to and one of which they’re playing with the numbers.” With how muddied the electoral waters have gotten regarding claims from both sides, Suozzi chose to try and clear the facts up by reading exerpts of op-eds from a number of dailies including the New York Post, the New York Daily News and the New York Times.
When Ed Mangano arrived and took his place behind the podium, he immediately started defending his record. He said this was the first administration to ever settle all real property tax claims for residential and homeowners before demanding payment and simultaneously reducing the county workforce by 20 percent. Mangano also said that in the decade before he came into office, there was a 42 percent property tax increase and a $100 million bailout from New York State. He juxtaposed those earlier issues with his settling the Nassau Coliseum issue and putting together an incentive plan to convert office buildings into apartments. And while he agreed with his opponent on the need to keep younger residents from moving away due to the high cost of living, he made a point of ridiculing one of Suozzi’s points regarding this issue.
“I know there were some comments about [young people] living in basement apartments in Levittown, but if you go to Levittown, there are no basements in Levitts,” Mangano pointed out. “You might want to really focus in on the issues at hand and not be [saying] one-liners and quips and sleight-of-hand. The bottom line is [we should] debate the facts.”
And so the opening salvos were fired in a public forum for a race that Tom Suozzi and Ed Mangano have buoyed with a flood of rhetoric that will be flowing for the next 40 days and 40 nights.