Written by Steve Mosco, firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday, 26 October 2013 00:00
The Town of Oyster Bay’s Republican incumbents will try to stave off challenges from Democrats this Election Day, as Supervisor John Venditto runs for reelection against John Capobianco; James Altadonna Jr. defends his seat against Mili Makhijani; and councilmembers Joseph Pinto, Chris Coschignano run against Christopher Briggs, Kimberly Snow and Shaker Nelanuthala, respectively.
Before voters head to the polls this Nov. 5, the Hicksville Illustrated News provides a guide to who is running in the Town of Oyster Bay.
The 59th Supervisor of the Town of Oyster Bay first took office in 1998. A fiscal conservative, Venditto said he “works hard to make government efficent and provide quality public services at the lowest cost to taxpayers.”
He adds that “all proposed spending is thoroughly analyzed and the result is lean, cost-efficient and fiscally responsible budgets that make strategic investments in parks, planning and the environment, while providing the level of recurring revenue necessary to maintain all of Oyster Bay’s essential services and programs.”
Venditto, a Massapequa resident, is proud of the creation of environmentally-conscious efforts, including a Green Energy Task Force and an annual Clean Energy Action Plan. The Supervisor has also worked to help local communities develop improvement plans, to help ensure proper planning against the overdevelopment of the Town.
Venditto said he proudly stands with other Republican candidates vying for reelection this November.
“While it has been extremely rewarding to see many of my goals achieved, there is always more work to be done, and my Town colleagues and I are eager to continue to moving the Town of Oyster Bay forward,” he said. “Even in these difficult economic times, we will continue to make the tough decisions to keep this Town among the greatest places in the nation to live, work and raise a family.”
John Capobianco is a small business owner while also serving in his second term as a volunteer member of the Farmingdale School Board. As a member of that board, Capobianco ensured that the second successive budget came in under the State’s 2 percent tax cap. As supervisor, he said he intends to reign in Oyster Bay politics and address the high property taxes, the declining finances, the town’s debt and environmental and development issues.
“John Venditto’s 20 reign in Oyster Bay politics has left Oyster Bay with the highest property taxes in America, declining town finances, a mountain of debt, empty storefronts in our downtowns and long ignored environmental and development problems” he said.
Capobianco said he proudly stands with a slate of Democratic candidates that are disheartened with the Town’s fiscal state.
“These candidates will fix the Town’s fiscal mess created by this administration’s massive borrowing and debt which is fast approaching a billion dollars,” said Capobianco. “Electing this team of hard-working fiscal hawks will finally bring desperately needed checks and balances to Town Hall and put Oyster Bay on sound fiscal footing for the long-term.”
James Altadonna Jr.
James Altadonna Jr. joined Town of Oyster Bay government in June as the Town Clerk, appointed to the position after the previous Town Clerk stepped down. A businessman and longtime public servant, Altadonna was the Mayor of the Village of Massapequa Park from 2001 until assuming the Office of Town Clerk.
Altadonna’s responsibilities as Town Clerk include maintaining all Town records and recording vital statistics. His office is also charged with issuing numerous licenses, as well as birth certificates and death transcripts. Moving forward to his new position as Town Clerk, Altadonna said he wants to streamline these processes by updating the Town’s computer systems by taking advantage of the latest technologies.
As mayor of Massapequa Park, Altadonna said he sought to improve workforce productivity, while achieving cost reductions. He also oversaw a revitalization project in the Massapequa Park business district, which he said supported local merchants and attracted new businesses to the village.
He said he intends to continue to bring this approach to the Town of Oyster Bay if reelected as Town Clerk.
Democratic challenger for Town Clerk is Mili Makhijani, an attorney who has been serving as a law clerk in the Nassau County Supreme Court for the past three years.
She said she is running for Town Clerk because she cares deeply about her community and is concerned for its future. She plans to bring a fresh perspective to the government of Oyster Bay, beginning her tenure with a comprehensive review of current Town policies and procedures to ensure that the citizens’ needs are being met with efficiency, honesty and responsiveness.
Makhijani is a graduate of Jericho High School and a life-long resident of Nassau County. She graduated with a B.A. in Finance from Hofstra University, where she learned the importance of fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency.
She said she wants to cut nonessential spending and make the Town Clerk’s office more accessible and transparent.
“We have to take advantage of technology in order to streamline the Town’s operations,” she said. “A Town Clerk must be efficient, effective and qualified to be in the position to move the Town forward and decrease cost in the long run.”
Joseph G. Pinto, a former Massapequa Park Village Trustee, Certified Public Accountant and community activist has served on the Oyster Bay Town Board since 2009 and is now up for reelection as town councilman.
As Deputy Mayor in the Village of Massapequa Park, the councilman revitalized village parks and created a discounted taxi service for senior residents. Pinto also served as a Deputy Commissioner for the Town’s Department of Public Works, utilizing his CPA background to help maintain the budget for all Town engineering projects. A resident of Massapequa Park, Councilman Pinto is heavily involved in his hometown community, coaching little league baseball for nearly 30 years.
“Baseball became so much more than a hobby to me at a very young age, and as a coach I feel I’ve given that experience back to so many young people,” Pinto said. “Whether it’s on the field or in the office, helping others is what it’s all about.”
Pinto said improving the quality of life Town residents is his goal as councilman.
“I continue to enjoy and look forward to working with Supervisor Venditto and the entire Town Board to continue to improve the quality of life for all residents of the Town of Oyster Bay,” he said.
Christopher Briggs is a Bay Constable and long-time Republican from Oyster Bay, running on the Democratic line.
“It has come to my attention that the town’s fiscal management has not been properly dealt with, which I find troubling and disheartening,” he said, adding that he will bring law enforcement sensibility and discipline to public service in the Town of Oyster Bay. “Our residents bear too many burdens, among them the raising of taxes, a general fund increase of 115 percent over the last seven years and a 45 percent overall increase including special districts.”
Briggs said he chose to run on the Democratic line because while he hopes his children will be able to raise their families in the Town, he fears the rate at which the Town spends money will make that impossible.
“The cumulative debt is fast approaching a billion dollars,” he said. “Aside from my concern over the lack of fiscal responsibility, I strongly believe we need to revive our downtown area and improve housing so that younger generations will stay and help our community grow and prosper.”
Chris J. Coschignano
Councilman Chris Coschignano was first elected to the Town of Oyster Bay in 2001 and subsequently reelected in 2005 and 2009.
Coschignano said he is a strong fiscal conservative who, together with Venditto and the Town Board, “works hard to make government efficient and provide quality public services at the lowest cost to taxpayers.”
He also said he believes in preserving the suburban character of the Town’s neighborhoods and he knows the importance of proper planning to ensure against over-development.
Coschignano had a hand in the formation of the Syosset Downtown Revitalization and Redevelopment Plan; the Oyster Bay Hamlet Moratorium agaisnt overdevelopment; and obtaining a $1.5 million grant for the Downtown Syosset Streetscape project.
Coschignano is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Boys and Girls Club; an Honorary Director of the Syosset Chamber of Commerce; on the Advisory Board of the North Shore Boys and Girls Club; and is an Honorary Member of the Syosset Volunteer Fire Department.
Prior to serving in elected office, Councilman Coschignano was appointed in 1995 by the Town of Oyster Bay Town Board to serve as Counsel to the Zoning Board of Appeals to oversee the operations and exclusively handle all municipal litigation involving the Zoning Board of Appeals. He served in this position until his election to the Town Board in 2001.
Kimberly Snow is a Democrat challenging Coschignano for a seat on the Town council. She lives in Bethpage and is an attorney in private practice in Rockville Centre. She has 17 years of legal experience, including seven in the County Attorney’s Office. She said she will draw on her legal experience as she scrutinizes “the costly practice of outsourcing the Town’s legal work to connected firms rather than handling it in-house like most other towns.”
Snow ran for 4th District Court judge last year.
Town Councilwoman Michele Johnson joined the Oyster Bay Town Board in June. An attorney, Johnson previously worked in government as a Nassau County Deputy County Attorney.
As Councilwoman, Johnson said she “looks forward to working with the Town Board to further enhance and preserve the quality of life enjoyed by all town residents.”
She also said that, as a young mother, she “knows firsthand the importance of communities working together to bring fresh and innovative ideas regarding smart growth and redevelopment, while protecting the well-maintained infrastructure, picturesque parks and the many services offered by the town.”
Johnson is a licensed real estate broker and a member of the Long Island Board of Realtors. Prior to attending law school, Councilwoman Johnson attended Syracuse University. Following graduation, she further pursued her eagerness for public service and administered the Job Training Partnership Act for the Town of Oyster Bay. In that role, she helped those seeking employment update and enhance their skills, to make them more marketable candidates to potential employers.
A resident of Massapequa Park, Nelanuthala is a marketing consultant and currently the CEO of Herbal Destination, an herbal supplements company. He said he wants younger generations to have the same opportunity to succeed that he enjoyed.
“The personification of the American Dream, I started with very little, but worked long and hard to provide for my parents, wife, and two sons,” he said. “I have decided that it’s time to give back to the greatest country, the United States of America which has been my home for the past 30 years.”
He added that he wants to help make the Town of Oyster Bay “an attractive and affordable place to live once again. For over a decade John Venditto and the current Republican council has presided over the decline of our town. I have seen the town mismanaged from one man-made crisis after another and I have seen no one even talking about a vision for our future. That’s why I am running for position of Councilman for the Town of Oyster Bay. We have to do better. We have to do better for our children, our grandchildren, and ourselves. And I know we can. I am running to enhance our suburban quality of life by preserving our open spaces, parks and beaches.”