Thanks to Andrew Bennett, Democratic candidate for Glen Cove City Council, who responded to Indivisible Glen Cove’s questions for candidates. His responses are below in italics.
- What is your vision for Glen Cove’s development?
I believe that our local government should be responsive to the needs of its citizens. This means that any development project should be designed with the public in mind whether it is to create truly affordable housing or a community center that attends to child care and youth needs or various social services. Commercial development projects should be geared toward supporting existing local businesses through either providing better commercial space or by providing complementary businesses; they should not replace our local businesses. In addition, a variety of well-maintained parks and cultural establishments should be an integral part of our city.
- How would this plan attract the younger generation to work, live and invest in Glen Cove?
Whether they are single or taking the first steps toward a family, a city as described above would be a very welcoming place for younger generations who desire a less stressful lifestyle. The further our city heads toward self-sufficiency with a symbiotic relationship between it’s businesses and residents bolstered by a variety of cultural and recreational activities the more attractive it becomes to all generations.
- How would we protect the rights of Glen Cove residents who may be adversely affected by new development?
The first step toward protecting the rights of residents from the adverse effects of new development is for our local government to be transparent and open about the projects it is considering. This will give the residents an opportunity to have a true voice in the overall development of the city. If it is the disposition of government officials to work with the residents as opposed to in spite of them, development can be achieved in a responsible manner.
- What ideas do you have to generate revenue for the city besides increasing taxes?
I believe that smart development projects created on an appropriate scale that are designed to meet the needs of our city will build the tax roll without having to increase individual taxes beyond their natural growth. In addition, a local government that supports the needs of its local businesses and builds an infrastructure that promotes shopping locally will provide the necessary economic atmosphere for sustainability. Instead of selling off our public assets for a one-time bump in revenue, we should be seeking ways to use these assets to create a more sustainable and resident-friendly economy.
- How would you promote and enable transparency in the local administration?
Transparency begins with open communication and providing a real forum for the exchange of ideas. Every resident should have easy access to information through the city’s website or via a person at city hall. Increased availability and responsiveness from the mayor and city council members to the public would also support efforts for more transparency. Perhaps most importantly, public hearings, town halls, and other forums need to be scheduled at times convenient to the public and with sufficient advance notice so as to maximize attendance.
- What would you do to make Glen Cove greener and more environmentally friendly?
Increased use of solar power and other more efficient energy sources are an important upgrade for our city. The savings accrued from these upgrades would allow budgetary funds to be diverted to other necessary projects. I believe more pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure should be a key initiative of the next city administration, as well.
- What, if anything, will you do to get Crescent Beach reopened for swimming? Recreational activities are vital to the growth of our city as they attract many people and that means that every resource we have in that area should be utilized. The fact that Crescent Beach has been unavailable to the public for so long is disgraceful. The research that has been done on the causes of the problem need to be put to use and funds need to be devoted to opening the beach for swimming.
- Would you support or oppose the privatization of Glen Cove’s public assets? Will you approve using tax dollars for privatization?
I oppose the privatization of Glen Cove’s public assets. These assets are a valuable resource that should be used as part of a plan to make our economy more sustainable. Though private investors and companies are needed for many development projects, large sums of tax dollars should not be earmarked for their use. A financial plan that responsibly meets the needs of both sides should be the goal.
- What will you do to support public education here in Glen Cove?
As a middle school principal on Long Island, I am particularly well-suited to help in this regard. I believe that a liaison between our city government and our school system could promote a system whereby the citizens are educated about a wide variety of social issues and provided with programs that attend to their needs. I also believe our current school system is better than the preconceived notions that are so common. Our local government should be an advocate for that system.
- Are you pro-choice? Do you support our local Planned Parenthood? And what does supporting it mean to you?
I am pro-choice and a firm believer in women’s rights. I believe Planned Parenthood should be subsidized by our government and used as a resource for our community to plan responsibly.
- The national battle around healthcare could have a tremendous impact on the citizens of Glen Cove. Explain why you do or do not believe that the federal government should ensure that every American has health coverage?
Universal health care is essential to the longevity of any society that is based in the ideals of equality. Furthermore, the system needs to be equitable and I support one in which no set of people receive a health care package that is inherently superior to another. Deep inequities in health care only further the gap between the haves and have-nots. The many social issues created by an ever-widening gap only burden our governments and are a disservice to our citizens.
- How would you resist the national climate of intolerance and provide protections for all residents of Glen Cove? The battle against intolerance starts in our homes and our schools through the education of our youth. We need to teach the merits of diversity and the benefits of working together. Our local government can support these efforts through a strong bond with our school system and all residents of our city through building trust. In addition, public incidents of intolerance should be condemned by government officials.
- What will you do to strengthen the Democratic party in Glen Cove?
Strengthening the Democratic Party in Glen Cove will require organization of party efforts, communication with residents, and a strong leadership within the party that is dedicated to the growth of our city. Drafting a mission statement and a description of ideals would help to build consensus among the party and frequent communication with all of our residents would ensure that those efforts are focused on our local issues.