Written by Lauren delValle, firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday, 19 October 2013 00:00
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Democratic candidate Tom Suozzi discussed community sustainability in a public forum at Hofstra University last Wednesday.
The New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and Hofstra’s National Center for Suburban Studies hosted the forum during which a panel of four local experts probed the contenders on environmental and community growth issues.
Approximately 300 people attended the event. Local notables such as Fox News contributor Chris Hahn were among the crowd.
Chapter Board Chair of NYLCV Michael Posillico gave opening remarks, turning the floor over to the moderator and Executive Dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies, Larry Levy.
The forum allotted each candidate 30 minutes on the floor during which the panel posed questions for which the candidates had two minutes to answer. Neither candidate was allowed to listen to other’s responses.
“It’s amazing that each of you were able to ask the exact same questions in the exact same way to each of them,” said Levy to the panelists upon closing.
Panelist and Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment Adrienne Esposito focused her questions on the water contamination that has plagued Nassau County for years.
She specifically addressed the Northrop Grumman plume in Bethpage and the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. The former contaminates the water source with oil that has seeped into the soil and the latter due to destruction from Hurricane Sandy allows sewage to reach the Massapequa water source.
Suozzi proposed that he would use local, state and federal government resources to intercept the contamination before reaching water sources. Mangano pointed to the “Sewage Treatment Master Plan” already in place.
“The only good thing about Superstorm Sandy is that nothing that was proposed would have saved the treatment plant from the nine foot tidal wave. Now is the time to start over,” said Mangano.
Bethpage resident Liz Cotton attended the event specifically to hear about the water contamination issue.
“I live very close to the plume. I live in the number streets where they were drilling when they first found out about it,” said Cotton. “I have kids that are growing up in that town and it’s a problem.”
Cotton was pleased with Mangano’s track record as county executive and how he answered the panel’s questions tonight. On the contrary, she felt Suozzi was vague and indirect in his responses.
The applause for Suozzi paled in comparision to the standing ovation Mangano received from the majority present on his way on and off the stage. The mayor of Glen Clove from 1993 until 2001 and county executive from 2002 until 2010, when Mangano won the position, Suozzi focused much of his response content on past awards and initiatives he accomplished.
Nevertheless, looking forward, Suozzi spoke of the need for Nassau County to recognize that leadership, cooperation and faith in the greatness of Nassau County are needed to make his visions reality.
Panelist Chis Capece, the Senior Development Director of Avalon Bay Communities Inc., questioned the candidates on community growth. Nassau County has been in the process of enacting a three phase plan to develop the acreage around the Nassau Coliseum into “The Hub”. Mangano has collaborated with President Rabinowitz, Nassau County Community College and local businesses to create a plan for footbridges and safe crossings.
A developer, operator and $229 million in funding have been approved thus completing phase one. The next two phases will include working with county police, creating parking lots and finally, utilizing the land to build a marketplace incorporating local business, entertainment and academia.
Mangano showed little concern about the recent crime jump in Hempstead. He was confident that the latest collaborations between county and village police with Hofstra Public Safety will resolve the issues. He’s pleased with the swift justice enacted earlier this week regarding the culprit of six of the recent armed robberies.
“We are bringing in increased assets to the area and will be using intelligent led policing,” said Mangano.
The forum ended after two hours of discussion. The NYLCV thought the turnout and dialogue led to be a success.
“For us this is an opportunity to educate the public so they go to the polls informed,” said Marcia Bystryn, NYLCV President. “I think people who were here today got the information to make some decisions.”