Where I Stand
There are hard decisions to be made in the forward march of Glen Cove. These challenges must be made with direct input from the citizens of our city. I am committed to listening to all ideas, coming up with solutions, and bringing constructive ideas to the table.
With this said, here are some of my ideas about important issues facing Glen Cove.
On Development and Infrastructure:
I support development that is smart, environmentally sound, and beneficial to our community. I am not anti-tax incentive - tax incentives can be a terrific way to help existing businesses thrive and bring new businesses to our city, however, costly incentives on the backs of taxpayers is not acceptable. In the forward march, we must have balance in decision making - not just as it relates to the city’s tax burden, but also, in a significant way, as it relates to our quality of life.
As we make decisions on any development project, increased population density brings challenges related to infrastructure, schools, sanitation, and emergency services. Also, with development comes additional transportation needs. I support initiatives to encourage the addition of more train lines added to our existing system and other improvements that can help those who depend on this service. There is a real need for improvements in the bus service, and the City should support these improvements. These challenges are significant. Coming up with solutions is going to require clear communication, major teamwork, and creative problem-solving. These are skills that I can bring to the table as we deal with these issues.
Strategic Planning and Partnerships:
Having run a theatre company for many years and having served on the Cultural Affairs Commission for a major city, I have seen firsthand how Public/Private partnerships can be part of the equation in enhancing quality of life and in developing a master plan for a city’s future.
Partnerships can not only serve in helping fund events such as summer programs, special events, and cultural activities, they can also be part of a comprehensive plan in developing long term goals.
Environment and Energy Efficiency:
The addition of solar energy to the senior center and volunteer fire department as well as the electric car charging station is encouraging. Renewable energy efforts should be expanded. This will reduce Glen Cove’s demands on fossil fuels and make the community more environmentally sustainable. As infrastructure is developed, it is is critical to include bike paths and pedestrian walkways. Becoming a Clean Energy Community will give Glen Cove opportunities to receive more grants for better green development. Enforcement of the SEQR requirements from the State Dept of Environmental Conservation is an important tool in this effort. As a member of the Friends of Hempstead Plains, I am especially interested in the use of native plants in landscaping. This can provide habitat for wildlife and beautification requiring less maintenance -- less irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticide use, while preventing erosion and producing less pollution.
Having clean and safe drinking water is an ongoing concern for all of us. I applaud Mayor Tenke’s effort in getting more wells up and running. At present we have gone from two operational wells to five and, as I understand, we will have six wells up and running by the end of 2019. Also, having air stripper filtration systems to remove freon 22 installed on two of the three wells on Duck Pond Road will help insure that we have safe drinking water, and that we will not be forced to purchase water from neighboring municipalities. I not only value Mayor Tenke’s efforts on this current issue, I appreciate that he is being proactive in making a point to stay on top of this issue as we move forward.
Government works better in the sunshine. It works better when it is clear, open, and transparent for the citizens. With this in mind here are a few areas for improvement. In an effort to make information more readily available to the public, I encourage better promotion of both City Council and pre-council meetings, a dedicated reliable system of transmitting live stream of the meetings, and a revamped website enabling designated city staff the ability to easily make simple updates and upload forms. The page should also work in tandem with official social media pages managed by the city. Having worked in media and online promotion, I know how to get the word out. I look forward to putting these skills to work for the people of the city.
Some of our financial woes are due to high tax breaks given to developers in the past. On this front, we can and must do better moving forward including incentives that are balanced. There is also much that can be accomplished by making our city government leaner and more efficient. The mayor’s initiative to monitor overtime pay and the creation of the Finance Committee are steps in the right direction. I would like to see the Finance Committee’s work expanded in helping the city move into the 21st century on many fronts - from completely automating the acquisition system to developing procurement procedures that truly get the city the best quality work at the best price. The recently-approved vetting process and policy for asset management are significant step in right direction. The city must know upfront the history of safety, insurance, and reliability prior to hiring vendors and contractors and needs to be able to track assets. Having this information easily at hand can serve as a tool in choosing the best company for a job and can help in budgeting for the future.
On Structure of Government/Charter:
Having been on the ground floor of the creation of several non-profit organization and with a background in administration, I have seen the importance of clear structure and procedure. In past years there have been many proposals suggested as it relates to the city’s charter. Some suggestions came from the Charter Commission that existed for several years
and other suggestions came from outside organizations and individuals. From these sources, I feel there were substantive ideas well worth exploring. I would like to see a Charter Committee created with a mission to bring clarity to some language in the charter that is not clear or does not necessarily serve the people. Examples are the procedure for appointing the Deputy Mayor, City Attorney, and for replacing a council member in event of resignation. From my perspective, the appointments of the Deputy Mayor and City Attorney should be clearly the Mayor's choice. When replacing council members in the event of a resignation, I would like to suggest there be a stated time lapse of a week between the time an official resignation is submitted to the Council and when resumes are submitted for consideration for his or her replacement. If this were procedurally the case, it would give some needed “space” in what is often a difficult time, and it would give the public an opportunity to contact their representatives with suggestions on replacements. Other options could also be explored. It is well worth revisiting our election process taking into consideration thoughts from the past commission, individuals, and community organizations.
On More Opportunities for Community Involvement and Input:
Glen Cove is rich in many ways -- natural beauty, history, architecture, but our greatest asset is our people, our wonderfully diverse population. The more opportunities that we have to get to know each other and share in each other’s cultures the better off we are in our forward march, and the better off we are in working to define what it means to be Glen Cove. I would like to see the City encourage more opportunities for us to come together as a city, to appreciate the gifts that we ALL bring to the table. This can happen through craft fairs, community projects, art exhibits, and music events that feature local talent. And, these events can be done on a budget! Citywide health and fitness events could also be coordinated drawing on the major resources we have in the city via our fitness facilities and health professionals. These events could easily be coupled with existing festivals, thus highlighting the importance of fitness to a broader population while keeping the events fun. Why not have a Zumbathon
including several different instructors as an early morning kick-off of a Family Fun Day? Instructors may very well donate their time giving them exposure, providing the public a free exercise opportunity, and costing the city very little, if anything. This is just one idea. I would also like to see the city explore the establishment of a Community Center that would also double as a Performing
Arts Center. Funding could be sought through Private/Public Partnerships and through outside grants. This will take significant planning and creative thinking, but we should make sure this plan is in the mix of things now so that as developers seek out opportunities, this goal can be part of the equation.
Public Education & Council Liaison:
Our public school system is one of the most important components we have as it relates to quality of life. Our children truly are our future and preparing our young people for the journey ahead helps assure that they make good choices for their lives, for their careers, and for the community. Given the importance of educating our young people and given that city government and our schools are the two largest taxing entities, I support having a city councilperson serve as a liaison to the schools. The mission of the liaison would be to support our children, the teachers, and find opportunities to highlight accomplishments and be supportive for the expansion of opportunities. One idea: perhaps there could be collaboration between the school's media lab and city government in a way that would improve communication while at the same time offering valuable experience to emerging technicians and broadcast professionals.
These are just a few thoughts as we move forward. I welcome your input.
Commitment to Veterans:
I cannot conclude a statement of my positions without mentioning veterans. The issues surrounding our veterans are close to my heart. This is personal.
With a brother who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan (retired Colonel), with a dad who served in the Navy, and a mom who served in the Cadet Nurse Corp during WWII, I am acutely aware of the challenges facing our veterans. I care about veterans, I value their contribution, and I believe they should be supported and honored at every opportunity.
I'm delighted to be involved in two Veteran-related efforts here on the North Shore. I serve on the Memorial Day Parade Committee and am honored to have recently been invited to join the board of Heroes Among Us - a non-profit with a commitment to serving Veterans and their families.
Like you, I love our city and want to see it move from strength to strength. I am new to politics and new to Glen Cove city government, but I am not new to organizing, to problem solving, and to getting the job done. I have the background, the drive, and the communication skills to make a difference and hope you will honor me with your vote and give me the chance to roll up my sleeves and go to work for you.
For more on me please arrive early for community events and let’s talk in person, or visit the campaign website at www.friendsofgaitley.com.