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Q&A: Candidates for Oyster Bay Town Supervisor

Anton Newspapers asked Republican incumbent John Venditto and Democratic challenger John Capobianco to respond to the following questions.

John Venditto

What would you suggest the Town do to get back to an AAA bond rating?

To begin with, I have proposed a no tax increase budget for 2012. The concern of our bond rating agency is that the Town’s reserves have gone down. Those reserves will be replenished by cutting back on overtime and increasing user fees. Also, in light of the recent North Hempstead court decision, the Town is seeking to recoup funds from the Verizon settlement, which would be used to help build up the Town’s reserves.

How do you perceive the Town of Oyster Bay Public Safety Department is working?

The Town’s Public Safety Department is working very well. Not a week goes by when I do not hear from at least one resident how a Public Safety officer helped him or her with a problem or how they appreciate the presence of the Public Safety officers in their neighborhoods as they patrol Town facilities and functions across the Town. In addition to providing security for Town facilities, the department serves as the Town’s Emergency Management Department. When Hurricane Irene threatened our shores, the Department of Public Safety played a key role not only in preparing how best to handle the emergency, but in ensuring a prompt and adequate response in the aftermath of the storm.

How would you respond to the comment that being a Republican is almost a job requirement for the Town of Oyster Bay?

Party affiliation does not play a role in hiring; there are people from various parties currently employed by the Town. I have said publicly, though, that like any CEO, I do look for people who reflect my values and my vision for the Town of Oyster Bay. I look for team players with a good work ethic, who are motivated and have a strong commitment to serving the residents of the Town of Oyster Bay in whatever way possible.

Biography
(Submitted by the candidate)

John Venditto took office on January 1, 1998, as the 59th Supervisor of the Town of Oyster Bay. A longtime Massapequan, Supervisor Venditto was educated in Massapequa public schools. He earned his B.A. with a major in political science at St. John’s University and his Juris Doctor at St. John’s University School of Law. He is involved in a number of community and fraternal organizations, including Columbus Lodge #2143, Order Sons of Italy in America; the American Committee on Italian Migration; Massapequa American Legion Post #1066; Mid Island Lodge #828 Knights of Pythias and Massapequa B.P.O. Elks Lodge #2162, to name a few.

While in office his initiatives include: SEA Funds I, II and III for open space preservation and park improvements and expansion; the S.O.R.T. recycling program; S.T.O.P. household hazardous waste disposal program; Electronic Waste Recycling Program; Green Energy Task force; the creation of the Special Groundwater Protection Area (SGPA); and Aquifer Protection Overlay (APO) District and a Recreation District; and the new Recreation District; and the “Next Generation” Residence District (RNG-12) classification, among other initiatives. Mr. Venditto and his wife Christine have three adult children.

John Capobianco

What would you suggest the Town do to get back to a AAA bond rating?

We need to demonstrate fiscal restraint. The Town of Oyster Bay Republicans are not fiscal conservatives. They Borrow, they Tax and they Spend! This downgrading in the bond rating is going to translate into higher interest payments, forcing a tax increase. The town debt went from $330 million in 2006 to $700 million in 2011. Where did the money go? The bond rating agency realizes that this kind of reckless borrowing is unsustainable. The town residents can’t be asked to pay anymore in taxes. We need to go on a fiscal diet, and to generate real economic growth. Then perhaps the bond rating will go back up.

How do you perceive the Town of Oyster Bay Public Safety Department is working?

I don’t perceive them as filling a function anymore than a watchful resident. The Public Safety employees are not deputized officers of the law and they are untrained. They have less authority than a Nassau County Auxiliary Police Officer, who has less authority than a private citizen. The question that the public needs to ask is, why did we trade a $800,000 private contract with a security firm for a $6 million department that has health care benefits and will have pension obligations? The answer is rewards for political patrons.

How would you respond to the comment that being a Republican is almost a job requirement for the Town of Oyster Bay?

While it is not a job requirement, it certainly is a good route towards a job in the town. How many times have we heard?, “If you get a job with the Town of Oyster Bay you are set for life!” It is an open secret that the path towards employment with the Town of Oyster Bay begins with being an active member of a Republican Club; selling tickets, raising money for the party, putting up signs, tearing down opposition signs, then comes membership in the Republican Committee. Currently over 200 of the town’s approximately 1,200 employees are Republican Committee members. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck!

Biography
(Submitted by the candidate)

John Capobianco is a self-employed bonsai artist, martial artist and tennis instructor. A lifelong resident of the Farmingdale area, he graduated Farmingdale High School; and went into the business world, starting as a market research interviewer, and became the staff computer programmer and Operations Manager for CAT Corp.; was hired as the MIS Director for Scalamandre` Silks; then as a Senior Programmer Analyst for Greenman Bros., Inc.

John is in his second term as a trustee on the Farmingdale Board of Education. He serves on several committees: Facilities Advisory; Legislative Action; Special Education Parent Advocates; and a liaison to Reform Educational Financial Inequities Today consortium of school districts.

Trained in bonsai and is the bonsai instructor at the New York Botanical Garden, and artist in residence at Suburban Bonsai. He has a Third Degree Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu and a teaching license with the American Kobe Jiu Jitsu Federation.