Thursday, 05 September 2013 00:00
I’ve lived in this area for over 35 years, more than half of which I spent as a Glen Cove resident. I first moved to Glen Cove right when those ridiculous eyesores of parking garages on Brewster Street were going up. I was here to watch the construction of the two completely out of place office buildings that were needed in order to attach something to the garages that should never have been erected in the first place. I was around when Village Square – an astonishingly inept attempt to revitalize a failing downtown – got built. So far as anyone can remember, there has never been a moment in time when Village Square has been fully occupied, but it’s hard to forget that one business after another has failed in that location. Like so many other projects approved by politicians, it never fit with the theme of Glen Cove’s downtown any more than those depressing office buildings attached to the dumb garages ever did.
If that were not enough, I got to witness the construction of the old “Acclaim” building on Glen Street, another erection that didn’t make any sense in a town which once boasted a welcoming, bucolic appearance. And, if even that were not enough, the sad day came when Glen Cove’s politicians lost their minds altogether and permitted that monstrosity called the Avalon to rise up and block almost the entire afternoon sun, sending that part of town into an early darkness on every nice, sunny day.
These mistakes were not the end of it. The Staples shopping center followed, with the approval of a seeming endless brick wall running along Brewster Street that makes the façade look something like one side of a seedy alleyway. Cheap metal doors and even cheaper signage adorn that wall. It could have been different with even the slightest grain of thought if only the board that approved it simply said, “You can build it, but it’s got to look like Wheatley Plaza; otherwise, don’t put it up.” So, instead of a downtown park, Glen Cove got downtown blight because of a complete lack of competent leadership.
Each and every one of these projects and more, I dare say, were undertaken through successive administrations which, oddly enough, had one thing in common – the utter ineptitude and abysmal lack of skill exhibited by leaders who did not put the city’s interests first. Democrats, Republicans, it made no difference. One administration after another – one mayor after another – they all played a role in helping to despoil Glen Cove’s image. Whether it was in a vain attempt to broaden the tax base of a municipality that spent money like a drunken sailor, or whether it was to do political friends a favor, or whether it was for any other number of other ham-fisted reasons, the fact is that each successive city administration has managed to pile one bad project on top of another. And now the city is besieged with buildings that do nothing except diminish the beauty of what could have been had anyone come along with the single-minded, apolitical purpose of focusing only on making Glen Cove a better place.
Now, it appears that there may be an opportunity for Glen Cove to save itself before many more Village Squares or Avalons or other miscreations like them continue to spread like a blight on what could and should otherwise be a beautiful city. It’s pretty simple, and here’s how I see it.
In all the years I’ve been here, there has never once been a politician running for the office of Glen Cove Mayor who either (1) didn’t need the job, or (2) didn’t envision the job as anything other than a stepping stone to some other political office. This year, however, is the first year of which I am aware in the last four decades that someone is running for the mayoralty and he neither needs the job nor appears to have any agenda to move on to another elected office using Glen Cove as a springboard. Nope, this time there’s a guy whose only interest appears to be making Glen Cove a better place to live. And he may be the only fellow around who has the skillset necessary to stop the decades-old slide that has been steadily transforming Glen Cove into the next Hempstead.
In the next election, Glen Cove voters will be presented with a very stark choice. They can vote for more of the same – the same lack of leadership that has nearly brought this city to its financial knees – or they can vote for real management that just may be able to turn things around.
If you like the Brewster Street garages, if you like Glen Cove’s empty stores, if you like having more and more apartment units going up and bringing in more and more transients, if you like the lack of any progress, if you like the political crony-ism of giving out jobs to friends at taxpayer expense, if you like the sheer waste of limited financial resources – if you like all of those things and more – then you should vote the status quo and keep the same crowd in office.
If, on the other hand, you’d like to see something change, and if you want to take part in helping Glen Cove save itself, you may just want to consider voting for Reggie
Spinello for mayor. His qualifications? Simple. He’s a successful businessman with a proven record of accomplishment who doesn’t need the job, and he isn’t looking to run for another office. That alone doesn’t just qualify him for the job, it makes him the only candidate in this race capable of handling it. The fact is, given Glen Cove’s political history – both past and current - there’s almost nothing Mr. Spinello could do to make things worse, but without someone like him at the helm of this sinking ship . . . well, who even wants to think about that?
Michael A. Levy