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Three Seats Up in Village Elections 2011

Scott Strauss Running for Mayor

Bio: Scott Strauss is a 47-year resident of Mineola, a graduate of Mineola High School, Class of 1981 with an Associate’s Degree from Nassau Community College.

Strauss served for 20 years in the New York City Police Department. He retired as a detective in 2004.  During his career, Strauss received numerous awards including the NYPD’s Medal for Valor and the Medal of Honor, the NYPD’s highest award.

Strauss is the Corporate Director of Security and Emergency Management for the North Shore – LIJ Health System, which is comprised of 15 hospitals and hundreds of satellite locations. He is responsible for the supervision of investigations; development/enforcement of all security and emergency management policies and programs; the mitigation of all major incidents; advises senior management of security and risk implications of business activities; the development of risk assessment procedures, the establishment of security-related procedures and the management of corporate staff and the oversight of the financial management of all designated security staff and their assets.

Strauss is a 29-year member of the Volunteer Fire Department. He served as Assistant Chief, Chief of Department and as Lieutenant and Captain.

He was recognized twice as Company #2’s “Firefighter of the Year” and received the Town of Hempstead’s “Firefighter of the Year” award in 2010.  Before becoming a member of the Fire Department, Strauss was a Junior Firefighter.

Strauss is an Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 45 of the Boy Scouts of America. He himself earned the rank of Eagle Scout, Scouting’s highest award.

He is a Life Member of the Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and is a former coach with the M.A.A. for both Soccer and Little League.  In 2002, Strauss received the “We Are Mineola” Award from the Chamber of Commerce.

The son of former Mineola residents Diane and Walter Strauss, Scott continues to reside on McKinley Parkway with his wife, Pat, and sons, Bryan and Christopher.

What hot button issue in Mineola do you think needs the most attention and what would you do if elected?

“Finances are a hot button issue. We are facing the possible reduction of State funding, and an increase of heath care costs for our employees at a time when we, as residents, can ill afford them.  Additionally, we are confronted by unfunded State mandates. In order to seek relief, I will argue our case to our State Representatives. If the State mandates us to do something, they should offer some type of financial assistance.”

In terms of the downtown revitalization of Mineola, Station Plaza has been redone, the Winston project is progressing, what should be next on the village’s agenda?

“The Downtown Revitalization Plan is progressing well.  If finances allow, I would like to see the same look we have in the Main Street area (pavers, light poles) on Mineola Boulevard up to Jericho Turnpike. There are some simpler projects that can be undertaken that will help put a brighter look on the face of Mineola.

“For example, work with the LIRR to put a fresh coat of paint on their building just opposite the Davenport Press.  If needed, we could make it a community service project utilizing some of the many youth organizations to help us.”

What do you feel you’d bring to the village of Mineola if elected personally? Also, discuss your platform.

“I will use a managerial style where I would entrust my fellow Board members with certain responsibilities getting them more active in their roles.  I believe I am able to make good and sound decisions.  I know first-hand what it’s like to struggle financially and I will take that into consideration when addressing the budget. I am responsible and approachable.  I would encourage residents and business owners to work with us and bring us their ideas on how to better Mineola.  I am a firm believer that when someone has a problem, it should be addressed in a timely manner.  If we can take care of the smaller issues before they become big issues, we will all be better off.

Lawrence Werther Running for Trustee

Bio: Larry Werther moved to Mineola with his wife, Francine, in the spring of 1980. It was supposed to be a temporary, first home for the Werther family.  He quickly fell in love with his neighbors and the Village and his roots grew quickly and deep in Mineola.

His involvement in our community grew to include stints coaching MAA and PAL teams, duties as Cub Master of Pack 246 and Assistant Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 45 where both of his sons, Lawrence and Joseph attained the rank of Eagle Scout.  

Werther earned a Bachelors Degree in Political Science with a minor in Economics from Queens College CUNY.  He has spent the last 26 years in the financial services industry. He holds NASD Series 7, 63 and 65 licenses as well as Life and A&H licenses and certificates in Long Term Care.  He has authorered legislation that changed New York State Banking law, Chapter 502 of the Laws of 1993.

Werther is currently serving as Mayor of Mineola and has served as Village Trustee for eight years.  He is the longest serving board member.

In 2003, he decided to run for trustee in Mineola.  Debt was rising, budgets were flawed, illegal housing was flourishing and infrastructure was crumbling.

Since his election, just a few of the multitude of accomplishments to his credit include: open government, including a Village Television channel and website, eight consecutive balanced budgets with a healthy unencumbered fund balance, no new long-term borrowing, prosecution of illegal landlords, controlled spending and better relations with our business community where Werther has served as Liaison to the Chamber of Commerce.

What hot button issue in Mineola do you think needs the most attention and what would you do if elected?

“Actually there are two I would like to emphasize.  First, we have negotiated with the Polimeni Organization to build an affordable condo complex for our seniors. We need to expand that and encourage more development for senior and “next-generation” housing.

“This will keep Mineola more affordable for our children and our seniors who are the people who built Mineola.  Second, we need to make Mineola a destination. We need to give people a reason to come to Mineola and stay to shop, work, open businesses and live.  This will fill our empty stores and provide local jobs for our residents.”

In terms of the downtown revitalization of Mineola, Station Plaza has been redone, the Winston project is progressing, what should be next on the village’s agenda?

“You forgot the redevelopment of the Rains-Pogrebin building on Mineola Boulevard and Old Country Road.  I am working closely with the Mineola Chamber to bring an enhanced Street Fair to the downtown area. It will be along the lines and scope of the New Hyde Park and Williston Park Street Fair. This will bring new customers to our businesses. Additionally, The Master Plan calls for a Village Green in the Downtown area.  We have an idea to secure a parcel for this purpose. A combination of the residential projects and the plans to bring emphasis to the area will help gentrify out Main Street corridor.”

What do you feel you’d bring to the village of Mineola if elected personally? Also, discuss your platform.

“I feel I bring, what I like to call, ESP.  That’s ‘Experience, Sight, and Passion.’  My eight years of experience on the board have given me perspective on addressing issues, a unique insight into solving problems and an empathy for our residents and taxpayers.

“My sight on the future comes from my working on projects like the Master Plan and the Incentive Zoning area. This allows me to focus on what Mineola needs to move forward.

“Finally, passion. I love Mineola.  My roots run deep here. My passion allows me to focus my experience and temper it with my ability to listen to our residents. It also gives me the impetus to fight for our home, Mineola.

“My platform is to keep taxes low, move Mineola forward into the future and to keep our “small town” feel by protecting the unique neighborhoods that comprise our village.”

George Durham Running for Trustee

Bio: George R. Durham is part of a fourth generation Mineola family and graduated from Mineola High School in 1981. Son of Fred and Josephine, George has been married for 15 years to his wife, Donna, and has two children, Brandon and Shannon.

Durham is currently the Data Communications Manager for Nassau Downs OTB. He is responsible for all data, satellite and telecommunications for OTB’s betting parlors and Fast Track restaurants.

Durham was a member of the Community Planning Committee for six years on the village’s Master Plan. He was Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Downtown Revitalization and sat on the Village Fence Committee.

Durham is a member of the First Presbyterian Church and an assistant Scoutmaster, Life Scout and Senior Patrol Leader to Boy Scout Troop 45. He was a member of the Mineola Junior Fire Department from 1978-1981.

He has managed an MAA softball team since 2005 and won the Mayors Trophy in 2008 for dedication and devotion to the youth of Mineola.

What hot button issue in Mineola do you think needs the most attention and what would you do if elected?

“A primary need in the village is business development. We have too many empty storefronts. As trustee, I would look to promote shopping and dining in Mineola first, to help these businesses thrive. I would work with the board to continue developing our commercial tax base in ways that do not detract from the quality of life in the village.”

In terms of the downtown revitalization of Mineola, Station Plaza has been redone, the Winston project is progressing, what should be next on the village’s agenda?

“The Mineola Community Planning Committee, of which I was a member, developed a Master Plan that calls for projects like the Winston, improvements to public areas downtown, LIRR pedestrian crossing on Main Sreet and continued Smart Growth. The Winston and the senior housing project, which is being built by the Winston developer as a result of our Village Incentive Zoning needs to be seen through to completion.

“This will help bring pedestrian traffic to the downtown area, so one of the next steps would be to focus on more improvements downtown: A new “Village Green,” parking facilities, attractive paving and green-space projects. More people downtown means more business opportunities for shops, cafés, and restaurants, all of which would help to strengthen the fiscal outlook of the village.”

What do you feel you’d bring to the village of Mineola if elected personally? Also, discuss your platform.

“As a fourth-generation resident of Mineola, I bring to the Board a unique perspective and a deep love for this community. I understand its history quite well, and I have the creativity and vision to help the village board plan the successful future of this village. My role in helping to develop the Master Plan will be a great asset in planning the next stages of the Downtown Development.

“I understand the importance of attracting developers to Mineola, and to take full advantage of our Incentive Zoning laws in that process. My background in technology can help the village communicate more effectively with residents by upgrading the Village website and establishing email alert programs.

“It is absolutely critical to maintain balanced budgets and to continue the “pay-as-we-go” format introduced and developed by the New Line Party. As our debt comes down, we can redirect more tax revenue to improving our village infrastructure and to holding the line on taxes.

“The village is moving in the right direction, and we need to continue that spirit of responsible, creative leadership for the years ahead of us.”

Christopher Wales Running for Trustee

Bio: Christopher J. Wales is a 22-year resident of Mineola. He attended C.W. Post where he graduated with a BFA degree. Wales worked on the school newspaper, the C.W. Pioneer where he won two awards, the Outstanding New Editor Award and Lawrence C. Lobaugh Jr. Memorial award for Journalism.

While living in Mineola, he documented Mineola through photography for the village, the Mineola Fire Department, MAA and the Mineola Marching Band.

He and his son joined the Cub Scouts Pack 246. He was an assistant Cub Master for three years and rose up to become the Cub Master for the pack.

Wales worked to organize events like the Scout walk, the Pack 246 food drive for Corpus Christi Church and the Mustang Run Water Station support. He  is a former member of the Mineola Chamber of Commerce.

Chris and his wife, Mildred have been married for 22 years. They are members of the Corpus Christi Church parish with two children, Kristen and Joseph. He is the Customer Service supervisor for Capri Album, which manufactures wedding albums, serving photographers all across America.   

What hot button issue in Mineola do you think needs the most attention and what would you do if elected?

“I believe that Mineola’s government needs to be more responsive to it residents by ensuring it does not become another bureaucracy. The advantage of being a local government is the ability to act in an efficient manner to get real solutions to issues for the community.

 “I believe we can have a positive impact for the vitality of the village with expanded communication. In speaking with various people and businesses, they expressed that they would like to be proactive citizens and neighbors. If a fence is a concern, the village could provide a packet made up with an overview of the steps and the forms needed.

“This would offer a simple trouble-free conclusion. The village website could be set up to direct you to the right section of the village code that would apply in a few clicks.

“If you want to open a business in the village, we should have a welcome packet to get them off to a good start. Our dedicated village cable channel should offer more than just the village meetings.

“We could offer short vignettes of other clubs and organizations in the village. We should build on the Summer Recreation program to encompass additional programs throughout the year for our youth.”

In terms of the downtown revitalization of Mineola, Station Plaza has been redone, the Winston project is progressing, what should be next on the village’s agenda?

“The main priority should be that certain quality roadway and street light maintenance is done. Switching over to LED’s would offer a savings for the village.

“It was a step in the right direction for the 50KW solar panel project on the Central Garage roof to be approved. I would continue to work for solar power to be used to run the pool.

“I would also invest in electric vehicles for Code enforcement to protect the village from future gas price increases.

“Many of our roads need attention, as well as having the curbs repaired. This improvement will not only contribute to our civic pride, but is a good proactive step to keep a manageable issue from becoming a major drain on the budget.

“We should work on improving the downtown pedestrian experience now that Station Plaza is finished .We should encourage people to go from the railroad station into the local stores by installing a interactive directory at the platform to guide them to businesses accessible by foot or a taxi ride.

“We should also invest improving the overall look of the stores and streets by having good lighting; attractive awnings and planters. We could also establish a mini bus route to get the seniors out to the local merchants as well as to free up the parking spaces for more customers.  I believe exercising diligence and good judgment on these tangible assets will add up to an improved business base for a stable tax rate for the village.”

What do you feel you’d bring to the village of Mineola if elected personally? Also, discuss your platform.

“I would bring my passion and pride for Mineola to make it the best it can be. I would speak up on issues and defend my positions to create thoughtful and meaningful results.  As a concerned citizen wanting to be part of the process, I can draw on my management skills to allow me to handle the affairs of the village.

“If elected, I pledge to use the resources of the village wisely to protect our quality of life as your village trustee.”