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EREV ROSH CHODESH SIVAN

PRAYER FROM THE SHLAH HAKADOSH

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A MOMENT WITH COUNCILMAN ANTHONY J. SANTINO

          I had heard wonderful things about the senior of our two Town of Hempstead councilman in the Five Towns, Tony Santino, and I thought it was about time I spoke with him to find out what he’s up to.  I have to admit at being a bit lazy about our leaders, I used to plop in to Mayor Parise’s office and we would have a quick snack and he’d catch me up on the goings on.  Of course, Mayor Parise is sadly gone, and I went about searching for another long time Long Islander and had a lovely conversation with our Councilman.

          I admit that I really enjoy speaking with old time Long Islanders.  I like to hear their stories of growing up on the island, and how they came about serving our community.  Councilman Santino’s family was from Corona, Queens.  At a young age, he moved to East Rockaway, where he lives to this day.  It is because he was raised here on Long Island that he had an instinctive sensitivity to the fact that there were certain parts of his constituency that were not part of a library district, and who had to pay to borrow books.  Fifteen years ago, he took up this cause and ensured that every Town of Hempstead resident has free library access….a model law that’s been copied around New York State.

His earliest memories of politics included watching the 1964 Republican National Committee Goldwater/Rockefeller meeting on t.v. and decided to get involved in politics by joining Norman Lent’s run for the United States Congress.  As a 16 year old, he rode his bike from East Rockaway to Baldwin to stuff envelopes and hand out balloons for the candidate[ rumor has it, the Councilman is the fastest balloon tier in the county].

          Our conversation took a turn to the state of the County, where it’s been recently, and where it’s going, especially with recent hits by the economy and hurricane Sandy.  In the time that he has lived on the island, he is most happy to see its diversity in two senses.  On the one hand, the people have changed from its homogeneity in the early1900s to more races, creeds and colors that add to the diversity of the Long Island population.  On the other hand, he is happy that Long Island has evolved from its mostly leisure/recreation/bedroom community [work in NY, reside on LI] reputation, to a serious contender for work/residence/play.  Which leads the Councilman to another serious concern.

          While residents are happy with increasing property values on Long Island, this increase threatens the very core ability to keep and attract young workers and recent graduates.  If the younger workers cannot afford housing, current Long Island businesses cannot find workers, nor can Long Island  attract new businesses.  Towards this concern, the Councilman feels that communities such as Rockville Centre have the right idea, of taking business districts and encouraging development of apartment buildings that have studios and one bedrooms aimed at youngsters.  Rockville Centre has the nouveau restaurants, movie theatres and businesses that are attractive to the younger demographic.

          Councilman Santino is often in the Five Towns at different events, meetings and affairs.  It is important to him that he hears from the residents what is on their minds, good and bad.  He  is conscientious about addressing the concerns of those who reach out to him and his office.  He maintains an active social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, and his own site, www.AnthonyJSantino.com.  He knows how our community suffered under hurricane Sandy, and continues to work with the county and state to improve the major roads in our neighborhood to ensure the emergency routes into and out of the Five Towns stay sound in the event of future emergencies.  This is the Councilman’s main balancing act.

          With the recent recession and the hit from hurricane Sandy, there has been a great strain on balancing services to the community with budgetary constraints;  it is a very delicate balance.  The Councilman is working with the Town, County and State to get funding to restore bulk heading on the our precious beaches, raising roads to prevent flooding, remediation of waterways and community repair zones, and doing this all while keeping the Town financially sound.  This is the Councilman’s greatest satisfaction and greatest challenge, being ‘the steward of the residents' money,” while the Town of Hempstead maintains one of the highest credit ratings available to a municipality from Wall Street.

 

 

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TheFiveTowns.com Honored by Village of Cedarhurst

November 3, 2010

Cedarhurst Mayor Parise Honors TheFiveTowns.com for its community work.  Left to Right:  Trustee, Ari Brown, Mayor Andrew J. Parise, TheFiveTowns.com Editor Suri Davis-Stern, Village Administrator Salvatore Evola

 

 

 
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