The results of the December Port Washington Special District elections returned incumbent Police Commissioner James Duncan to a third term of office and saw a newcomer, Jeremy Devine, successfully challenge incumbent Anthony Conetta for the post of garbage commissioner.
Duncan was challenged by Frank T. Scobbo and won re-election garnering 939 votes to Scobbo's 537. Those who supported Commissioner Duncan commented that he has done a very good job over the past six years, especially cleaning up some of the past problems that plagued the department. Voters we spoke to also liked the fact that Mr. Duncan has contributed to community events in significant ways.
Scobbo voters we surveyed felt a loyalty to the Scobbo family, an old time, popular Port family. Others said that while they respected Scobbo and believed he could do a good job too, they felt he was "young."
The voter turnout of 1,476 this year could be characterized as average, given the past few elections. In 1998, 1,775 votes were cast (Zimbardi-936/Smithheimer-839); in 1999, the turnout tallied 1,641 (Duncan-887/ Maura-754); the 2000 turnout was 1,203 (Persons-795/ Loeb-408); and in 2001 Commissioner Zimbardi had the luxury of running unopposed. When these years are contrasted with the '93-'96 period when a few elections brought 2,000 plus voters to the polls, one conclusion being drawn is that no burning issues have existed over the past few years.
When reached for comment, Police Commissioner Duncan said, "I am thrilled over the overwhelming support I received from the Port Washington community, both throughout my campaign and, especially, on Dec. 10. I am glad to see that the people of Port Washington are happy with the job I have been doing as police commissioner. I will continue to work with the other commissioners to keep Port Washington a safe and wonderful place to live."
The Port Washington Garbage District, on the other hand, saw its first contested election in 14 years. In a well-financed, intense campaign with many signs, expensive mailings and phone bank, Jeremy Devine edged out incumbent Garbage Commissioner Anthony Conetta, 602 to 571.
Though this is the first time Mr. Devine ran for garbage commissioner, it was not his first try for public office. He challenged Nassau County Legislator Craig Johnson last year.
When asked to comment on his victory, Garbage Commissioner Devin told the Port News that less than 10 percent of those eligible to vote did so. "I would have liked to have seen more people participate in the process." He added that he would continue to work on the platform of "accessibility, availability and accountability" he put forth. "I know it will be difficult," he said, " being the minority voice on the board, but hopefully the other commissioners will listen to what I have to say and maybe adopt some of my ideas."
When asked about his future plans, Mr. Conetta replied, "I'm going to devote more of my time to PYA."