Two Lynbrook residents will vie for the District 6 Legislator seat as Democratic candidate Dino Amoroso challenges incumbent Republican William Gaylor.
Gaylor stepped down as a Nassau County traffic court judge in 2015 to run for District 6 legislator and defeated James Paymar of Rockville Centre in the election. Amoroso is looking to hold his first elected position after being defeated in the Hempstead Town Clerk race by Nasrin Ahmad in 2015.
The Herald asked both candidates questions tackling issues that affect residents in District 6, which comprises Lynbrook, Malverne, North Lynbrook, Valley Stream and portions of Rockville Centre, Hewlett, Franklin Square and Woodmere.
Herald: There are many vacant storefronts in Lynbrook and other areas in the district. What can be done to fill those vacancies and strengthen local business districts?
Dino Amoroso: Nassau County needs to provide assistance to localities to initiate more creative and smart planning. Planning needs to address traffic congestion, use of available property, density, and, obviously, tax revenues.
Smarter planning of downtowns needs to include centralized access to public transportation, parking, and rehabilitating or modernizing of current properties. Taken together, these objectives can be brought to Lynbrook and other areas to make the downtown more attractive, inviting and vibrant.
William Gaylor: To incentivize businesses to open, and help existing businesses remain open, we must keep Nassau affordable. Businesses — like residents — have to pay taxes, and when taxes get too high, businesses go out and new ones do not open. Simply put, cost can be a barrier to entry for many small businesses. Now here are some facts: From 2000-2010, Nassau Democrats raised spending 4.4 percent per year on average. To pay for that spending, they raised taxes on average 4.23 percent per year.
My priority as Legislator has been to join with my Republican colleagues to hold the line on taxes. The result has been an average annual tax increase of only 0.3 percent since Republicans attained the majority in 2010. At the same time, we have cut government, lowered the county debt, slashed the structural budget gap by 80 percent and received a credit rating increase, which benefits residents and businesses.
I support downtown rehabilitation and community revitalization, and have and will continue to work with community leaders and local Chambers of Commerce to identify grant opportunities and to match county spending to local priorities. Smart Growth of our downtown also requires building quality rental housing, co-ops and condominiums in these areas to create affordable housing for our residents.
Herald: How would you assist in combating the opioid crisis in Nassau County if you are elected/reelected?
Amoroso: The Nassau County Medical Center reports that over 600 patients per day are treated for opioid-related
incidents. If elected, I will work to increase resources directed to this growing epidemic. I will support a multi-pronged strategy that will increase the scrutiny of opioid prescriptions and expand therapeutic treatment centers to address the addiction.
I will also work with the Nassau County Opioid Treatment Program to expand services and collaborate with the Nassau County Alliance for Addiction Services. This will combine precious resources to provide long-term services for individuals who need treatment to become sober.
When I was a prosecutor in Brooklyn, I saw firsthand the benefits of therapeutic treatment under the Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison that we created to help defendants avoid prison and become sober. The Center on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse at Columbia University validated the program as a best practice for successful recovery at significantly lower costs. The program started in Brooklyn and has been replicated across the U.S., and has resulted in the saving of countless lives that were spiraling out of control because of addiction and drug dependency. We should do the same in Nassau County.
Gaylor: The rampant abuse of opioids has posed an incredibly difficult challenge for law enforcement, our mental health providers and our local communities.
As Legislator, I have and will continue to provide the resources the Nassau County Police Department needs to fulfill its mission and continue to engage affected communities and community leaders, strategically deploy its resources, gather intelligence, and to coordinate its efforts with other law enforcement agencies. Additionally, I support and will continue to provide whatever resources the District Attorney requires for the aggressive prosecution of illegal suppliers and dealers.
To assist those that have become addicted, I support the creation of an inpatient rehabilitation clinic at Nassau University Medical Center, Nassau County’s public hospital. I also support legislation similar to that which exists in several states and was proposed by County Executive candidate Jack Martins that victims of an opioid overdose be held for observation for 72 hours and apprised of rehabilitation opportunities. Additionally, I will use public safety forums to provide education to the public as to how to recognize signs of addiction and where to report suspicious activity.
Herald: Many residents have complained about road conditions throughout the
district. What could be done to solve this problem?
Amoroso: A simple question with several answers. Nassau County has state, county and village roads.
Each road is under the responsibility of different jurisdictions. This alone suggests that we have too many layers of government. For county roads, I will work to increase funding to the operating and capital budgets so that the roads are better maintained and replaced. More of our tax dollars need to be directed to providing and improving services and less to political hirings and patronage.
Gaylor: As Legislator, I am in contact often with community leaders, civic groups, and local Chambers of Commerce as to the capital needs of District 6. Over Democratic objections, I have supported and will continue to support the funding necessary for the reconstruction and maintenance of county roadways.
I encourage and remind all residents that any road issue, such as potholes, improper signage, or traffic signal issues, should be reported to the Nassau County Department of Highways at (516) 571-6900 or through the Nassau Now mobile application. The app will enable a picture to be taken of the area and sent to the Highway Department with the GPS location.
Herald: Why would you be a better representative for your communities than your opponent?
Amoroso: Unlike my opponent, I would not have remained silent like he did when County Executive Ed Mangano was investigated, arrested and indicted on more corruption counts related to his official position than we can count. I would not have been a rubber stamp and supported every maneuver that Mangano used to prevent reform, openness and transparency in county government.
Instead, I will immediately support the creation of an independent office of Inspector General to oversee and investigate the awarding of public contracts. This will decrease the cronyism and corruption that has been an earmark of this administration. I will work to insure that all public documents related to contracts and bidding be made available online for immediate public scrutiny. I will support term limits for elected county positions. County government should work for the residents not the other way around. As a former career prosecutor, I know the importance of ethics and transparency. These two ideals need to be at the forefront instead of being ignored.
Gaylor: I am a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, husband, practicing attorney and former Judge. I am nearing the end of my first term as Nassau County Legislator and it continues to be very important to me, my family, my friends, neighbors and constituents that we keep the American dream alive right here in Nassau County.
I will continue fighting to lower taxes, lower spending, enact tougher crime policies that keep our neighborhoods safe, and I will work tirelessly to make sure Nassau County remains one of the best places to live, work and raise a family. I want to help create an environment in which job creators can thrive, so we can keep our young people right here in an affordable, prosperous economy. I believe my neighbors feel the same way, and hopefully, with their support, I will continue to be the voice of all residents living in the 6th Legislative District.