Written by Karen Gellender, Kgellender@antonnews.com Friday, 22 February 2013 00:00
Tom Suozzi, who last week announced he is a candidate for Nassau County Executive, said Syosset would be among the “cool downtowns” where he would like to see businesses, residences, and entertainment venues, all close to the LIRR stations, open up in an effort to revitalize the local economy.
Suozzi, a Democrat, called his plan “Redevelop 1 percent:” He explained that this means keeping most of the county the same, but putting what resources there are into redeveloping key downtown areas situated near train stations, such as downtown Syosset. According to Suozzi, if the downtown areas in the county are smartly redeveloped into places where people can affordably shop, work, commute to work, live and hang out, businesses—as well as the Island’s fleeing young people— will want to stay.
The 50-year-old Suozzi, was elected county executive in 2001, the first Democratic county executive since Eugene Nickerson left office in 1971. In 2009, Suozzi lost to Republican Edward P. Mangano.
In an interview with editors of Anton Community Newspapers in Mineola last week, Suozzi said he was frustrated by what he sees as the Mangano administration stretching the truth and borrowing excessively. Suozzi said that while the Nassau County Young Democrats “Draft Suozzi” campaign didn’t solely convince him to run, it was one of many factors (including fond memories the Rocky films) that swayed him to throw his hat in the ring once again.
Suozzi is dissatisfied with much of what the Mangano administration has done in the years since he left office, stating that even ideas that he might approve of in theory (such as the consolidation of police precincts) have been poorly communicated to the public and poorly implemented. “Police overtime is through the roof—and it’s not because of Sandy,” he said.
He was also critical of how the administration has handled the County Guarantee Reform Act, which makes schools, villages and towns pay their share of tax certiorari refunds for incorrect assessments.
“What the county did this year is that they settled every SCAR (Small Claims Assessment Review) case no matter what,” he said. “We would have liked to have settled everyone too but you can’t, because some of them are bogus claims. What [this administration] did was the politically popular thing to do and make all these people happy by saying they settled all [these cases] quickly. They actually gave away more assessments on these guys but put more [financial] burdens on other people,” Suozzi told Anton Newspapers.
When asked how he would work with the county legislature, currently under Republican control, Suozzi pointed out that with the current state of the county, bickering is a luxury no one can afford.
“We’re in such bad shape that people are going to have to start working together,” he said.”