At a convention brunch that attracted about 40 party faithful Sunday, the Hometown Party announced the candidacy of Linda Fairgrieve for trustee of the Mineola village board, vowing to "come alive again."
Fairgrieve will face incumbents Warren Brinker and Maryanne Warnecke, both members of the Village Party, in the March election. The party is waiting to discuss a possible second nomination. The deadline for candidacy petitions is Feb. 15.
Linda Fairgrieve, second from left, along with the Hometown Party officers. Fairgrieve was nominated to run for village trustee.
Scott Fairgrive is well known in the village as a former trustee and coordinator of the annual Mineola Mustang Run. Linda has also been highly involved in civic activities, but she has remained primarily behind the scenes. Although another run by Scott was anticipated by some, Linda's candidacy was also not entirely a surprise. It became clear early on in the convention that Fairgrieve was tapped on her merits and that the Hometown Party takes this upcoming election very seriously.
Populated by a group of Mineola residents who feel their home has somehow gotten away from them, the Hometown Party has always been an opposition party. Attracting people from the right and left and everywhere in between, the one common thread is it is a party run by Mineola residents who seem to agree on the key points ¬ less development, preserve downtown, open up the government process to all residents. The party currently has one member on the village board, Elizabeth Conlon. The mayor and the other trustees are members of the Village Party.
"We have a system that's lopsided," said party Vice President Tim Almeida of the current village board. "We have someone who is working very hard for our interests and she's not being heard."
The party was started in the early 1970s. Former Mayor Bob Hink was the first to be elected on the Hometown Party slate. Scott Fairgrieve joined the party in the early 1980s and first ran for trustee along with current Town of North Hempstead Receiver of Taxes Ann Galante in 1981. They lost. But in 1982, both were elected.
"I joined because the party was in opposition to what was then called the Citizen Party, which is now the Village Party," Fairgrieve said. "I thought the Citizen Party was anti-suburban. There was too much commercial development. We started the fight against illegal housing in the 1980s, we put a restriction on the height of commercial buildings and toughened the zoning code."
Conlon said chief among the differences between the two parties is that the Hometown Party only raises money from residents of Mineola ¬ not businesses and not from anyone outside the village. "We don't owe anything to the businesses, only the residents," she said.
Linda, an insurance claims examiner, shares her husband's desire to bring a more suburban feel to the village, which is one of the places in Nassau County that is more populated during the day than it is at night. However, the main reason she decided to run is what she sees as debt that is growing out of control.
"Mineola can go the way of Nassau County," Fairgrieve said in her acceptance speech. "Nassau didn't get there overnight and we need to bring financial stability to Mineola. For that we need a more balanced board."
Other issues close to her heart include notification of residents when commercial properties are developed. She had her own experience where she was not notified about a recent proposal to build a 7-Eleven on Jericho Turnpike ¬ two blocks from her house. The Fairgrieves showed up at a public hearing once they heard about it ¬ along with dozens of other residents, and the proposal was shot down.
"When any one party is solidly in power, there's a temptation there to hide things and that's the problem," she said. "I don't think there's enough information out there available to the general public on almost any issue facing the village."