Written by Carisa Giardino Friday, 30 October 2009 00:00
Republican incumbent Mark Bonilla is seeking re-election as Hempstead town clerk, which holds a two-year term. Challenging him this year is Garden City resident and Democratic candidate Anthony Rattoballi.
Bellmore resident Mark Bonilla has served as Town of Hempstead clerk since 2003. He admits that even though he’s accomplished much in his three terms, he knows there’s always room for improvement.
“Serving as town clerk has truly been an honor and although I have accomplished a lot during my three terms there are still things I can improve upon and bring to the clerk’s office,” Bonilla admits.
For example, Bonilla would like to open Town Hall on Saturday (once a month) so that he can make other services available to residents that can’t be given via the Mobile Town Hall (i.e. birth/death certificates, marriage/hunting licenses, etc.)
Making services more accessible to all residents is a priority of his if re-elected to a fourth term. “Making the services offered at the clerk’s office more accessible to all residents, continuing with bringing my Passport Services and Child Safety programs to all town communities [is my first priority],” Bonilla said.
The Child Safety Program has touched nearly every school district within the Town of Hempstead, fingerprinting and photographing over 65,000 children to date, Bonilla said. Further, the town’s passport services have processed more than 75,000 applications. “The U.S. Department of State recently informed me that the clerk’s office is the largest passport acceptance facility in the country,” Bonilla said.
Bonilla, who has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from St. John’s University and a law degree (jurisprudence/doctorate) from Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law School, said taxes, without a doubt are the biggest issue facing Town of Hempstead residents. “Although your average taxpayers pay only 9 cents on every tax dollar to the town, we as public officials need to figure out how we can reduce the 67 cents that goes to school taxes,” he said.
Bonilla and his wife, Karen, of 19 years have four children and have lived in Bellmore for over four years. They previously lived in Seaford for more than 25 years.
Bonilla is running on the Republican, Conservative, Independent and Working Family party lines.
Garden City resident and Democratic challenger Anthony Rattoballi is seeking election as Town of Hempstead clerk.
A lawyer by trade specializing in all types of personal injury, accident and criminal cases, the political newcomer hopes to use his “practical and professional” experiences to successfully run the clerk’s office.
“I am running for town clerk because I believe I am qualified to adequately perform the duties of the town clerk based on my practical and professional experiences,” Rattoballi said.
If elected to the post, Rattoballi hopes to modernize the office, so as to permit more access to filings on the Internet and to make the office more computer-friendly. “I plan to run the clerk’s office in an expedient and courteous manner,” he added.
He, too, believes that property taxes are the biggest issue facing Town of Hempstead residents. “In my opinion the rise in property taxes is one of the foremost issues facing Town of Hempstead residents,” the father of three said.
Rattoballi graduated from Hofstra University’s School of Law (1978-1979), California Western School of Law (1976-77), Adelphi University, B.A. (1976) and Nassau Community College, A.A. (1973).
Rattoballi, who has resided in Garden City for the past 10 years, has received numerous accolades, including a citation from the mayor of Valley Stream, Nassau County Legislature and the New York State Senate for organizing and running the Valley Stream Summer Basketball League, the largest summer basketball league in New York State, according to Rattoballi. Trial Lawyers Care has also acknowledged Rattoballi for his pro-bono representation of a victim of The World Trade Center disaster.
He is the president and founder of the Valley Stream Knicks Basketball Association and serves as a coach for the Valley Stream Soccer Club, Valley Stream Male League Baseball, St. Thomas the Apostle CYO Basketball (West Hempstead), St. Anne’s CYO Basketball (Garden City), Holy Name of Mary CYO Basketball and Valley Stream Central High School Junior Varsity Basketball. He serves as a lector at Holy Name of Mary and is on the board of directors of Long Island Lightning AAU Basketball (West Hempstead) and is a coach with AAU Long Island Lightning Basketball (West Hempstead).
Rattoballi is running on the Democratic Party line.