Dear Fellow Indivisible Glen Cove Members:
Over the summer our meeting came up with some questions to ask local candidates for City Council. We have the first in what we hope will be a series of responses. Thanks Annie Phillips, for getting back to us!
(Our words are in italics; Annie’s are in regular font.)
Indivisible Glen Cove acts locally to support an inclusive, transparent and ethical Democracy. We envision a greener Glen Cove that is bike/pedestrian friendly, and that connects the parks and the various neighborhoods, without cutting off the downtown. We are concerned that many of the building permits in Glen Cove are granted without an overall master plan for development of the city.
- What is your vision for Glen Cove’s development? The focus of my vision of a master plan for Glen Cove will be on supporting and bringing back small business to the downtown area. I plan to connect local artisans with local investors. Space that is conducive to being shared should be developed to make it more affordable for local talent to open store fronts in the downtown area. In warmer months there should be a regular outdoor market or an alternative is that all city events should include an opportunity for local vendors to market goods.I believe any forward thinking plan is a green plan. It includes incorporating renewable energy, such as solar, into all new development and committing to bringing solar to all municipal buildings by 2020. Downtown should be connected to all our city’s neighborhoods by bike and walking paths to encourage a more active lifestyle and make it safer and easier for our residents who do not drive or prefer not to drive to get around our city. There should also be a path that connects the downtown to our parks, beaches and nature preserves.
- How would this plan attract the younger generation to work, live and invest in Glen Cove? This relates back to the above vision for development. I believe that if you have a downtown that is once again the center of activity, but connected to other areas of the city, it will become more attractive to younger residents. The idea that you can easily access the various points in the city on foot or bike is something that appeals the more active, fit lifestyle that Millennials crave. Glen Cove already offers many great events such as Downtown Sounds and the Morgan Park Summer Music Festival. These events could be expanded to include open air markets and food concessions by local restaurants. We have a fantastic golf course with basketball, tennis and pickleball courts that are again a short bike ride away from downtown, especially if a bike path were in place. I would also like to see a live theater venue open once again in Glen Cove. I have wonderful memories of seeing musicals and concerts at the Northstage Theater when I was young and this would allow year round live entertainment in the city.
- How would we protect the rights of Glen Cove residents who may be adversely affected by new development? The only way to safeguard our residents is by electing officials that truly put our residents first. It is clear that recent administrations have taken the side of corporate greed over the good of our city. A new administration can take steps to put a new master plan in place that will prevent further overdevelopment of our city. For the existing projects, we need put provisions in place to make sure that any issues faced by residents that are a direct result of the construction or the over population of an area are addressed immediately. This starts by having a point of contact at City Hall for residents experiencing problems. And more importantly, City Hall needs to make a commitment to the residents of Glen Cove that it will actively and aggressively pursue the developer or responsible party for damages or remediation where required.
- What ideas do you have to generate revenue for the city besides increasing taxes? There are measures that can be taken to increase revenue for the city that don’t involve increasing taxes. It starts by decreasing costs in areas such as energy, and increasing revenue by increasing the attractiveness of our city. People want to move to a city with a high quality of life, and people consistently rate access to green space and the waterfront, the arts, alternative transportation (walking and biking), and recreation as attractive. If we focus on attractive, quality of life development, new businesses and families will want to move in bringing revenue with them. We would also attract more people from other towns nearby. There is no reason we can’t have a downtown as vibrant as Huntington or Port Washington, if we use smart development, instead of handouts to corporations like RXR that keep proposing the same luxury apartments over and over. Furthermore, we need to reduce waste. I have no doubt that a full audit of the city will reveal waste which will mean that tax money can be repurposed to other areas.
- How would you promote and enable transparency in the local administration? I believe in transparency and I believe in open communication. That starts by encouraging attendance at meetings and streaming all public meetings, not just City Council meetings. Also, any meetings that allow for public comment should also allow questions and comments from those watching it online, should be publicized well beforehand across many media outlets, and be scheduled at convenient times. As far as access to data and documents, many will state that official documents are public record and anyone has the right to request access to them and leave it there. I would argue that it is the responsibility of elected officials to assist the public in accessing information and not impede the process. Not only should there be an immediate response to requests setting a reasonable expectation as to when the information will be available, there should also be a community liaison at city hall that can assist in interpreting the information and answering questions. A person should not need a legal degree in order to make sense of documents. City Hall should assist people in understanding the information. I would also like to see City Hall have someone dedicated to community outreach that works with the various organizations in the city to keep them aware of what is happening at City Hall and also asks what City Hall can be doing to better serve the community.
- What would you do to make Glen Cove greener and more environmentally friendly? In my vision for development it is clear that I believe Glen Cove should be a leader on Long Island when it comes to green initiatives. Aside from the items I mentioned above, I would like to see more community gardens and education for our youth on how to live a greener life. We should partner with experts at our local colleges and universities to come up with new ways to make our city greener, cleaner, and an example of a truly forward-thinking community.
- What, if anything, will you do to get Crescent Beach reopened for swimming? I fully support of the initiatives of our County Legislator, Delia DeRiggi-Whitton. She has made great strides toward getting Crescent Beach reopened and I would assist her continued efforts in every way possible to secure the funding needed to finish the project and reopen the beach. It is the beach I frequented as a child and I would like to be able to share that with my children.
- Would you support or oppose the privatization of Glen Cove’s public assets? Will you approve using tax dollars for privatization? I am opposed to any and all privatization of Glen Cove public assets. Once privatization takes place, the local government and ultimately the taxpayers lose all control and say in the matters related to that asset. It leads to inflated charges that residents often cannot afford. The investors in that asset put profit above all else which leads decisions to be based on the profit margin and not the public’s best interest.
- What will you do to support public education here in Glen Cove? As you may or may not know, I attended Glen Cove public schools, send my children to Glen Cove public schools, and closely follow how federal, state and local decisions impact our schools. I am an advocate of public education and I believe city hall should be working with the Board of Education. The quality of life in our city is directly impacted by the quality of the school system. It is imperative that the city consult with the district in all city planning and development to make sure that it does not adversely affect the school budget or cause overcrowding in our schools. I also believe that an interactive relationship between the schools and the city could lead to partnerships in educational programs for the students. We should be striving to educate our young people in the workings of local government and providing them with a means to get involved at an early age. They will be the leaders of our future.
REMEMBER TO VOTE IN THE PRIMARY ON SEPTEMBER 12TH!