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Election 2011: Hempstead Town Supervisor

Republican incumbent Kate Murray seeks to retain her seat as she is challenged by Democratic candidate Gary Port.

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, Republican incumbent Kate Murray will go up against Democratic challenger Gary Port for the position of Hempstead Town Supervisor. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Click here to find your polling station.

Candidates appear in alphabetical order.

Kate Murray

  • Hometown: Levittown
  • Occupation: Town Supervisor
  • Time in Office: Eight years (2003)

Prior to serving as Hempstead Town Supervisor, Murray was the first attorney to be elected Hempstead Town Clerk. Elected in 2001, she established a full service passport facility that has grown to be the nation's largest passport processing center. On Feb. 3, 1998, Murray became the first woman elected to the New York State Assembly from the 19th District.

Before serving as an elected official, Murray worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Justice Section handling prisoner litigation. Prior to her work with the Attorney General, Murray served as advocate for Suffolk University Battered Women's Advocacy Project.

Gary Port

  • Hometown: West Hempstead
  • Occupation: Attorney

Port graduated cum laude from New York University in 1983 after only three years with a double major in psychology and history. After obtaining his Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School, Port decided against a Wall Street type job and joined the United States Army. After serving for a number of years as an Army captain, he joined the Kings County District Attorney’s office where he investigated and prosecuted serious felonies.

After he left active duty, Port continued his military service in the Army Reserves, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and is currently assigned to the 78th Training Division, where he serves as the legal advisor and Ethic Counselor to the commanding general.

In 2002, Port started his own law firm and thereafter formed Port & Sava, a small, local law firm, with a member of his military reserve unit. Port’s practice focuses on commercial litigation, matrimonial law, entertainment law and the protection of the rights of military veterans and their spouses.

Patch asked candidates the following questions. Their answers appear below:

Patch Question: According to data, there has been a significant increase in the discrepancy between the animal shelter's budget and that of all other town departments throughout the past eight years. Why has the animal shelter been a target of criticism and what can be done to correct this?

Kate Murray: Actually, there has been no discrepancy between the animal shelter’s budget and that of other departments. The animal shelter’s budget is a matter of public record. It is a component part of Hempstead’s overall budget, which can be viewed online.

With regard to why the animal shelter has been the target of criticism, you would have to ask the critics about their motivation. Indeed, the most vocal critics are comprised of two persons who have been prohibited from entering the shelter and a couple of activists for the opposing political party. Nonetheless, I have listened to critics and have taken the concerns of all parties seriously.

Gary Port: Supervisor Murray has increased the shelter budget by more than 100 percent. According to recent news articles:

"Nine Hempstead Animal Shelter employees – one third of the full-time staff – were paid more than $100,000 in 2010. Eight of them have GOP ties. Of those, six were elected to Nassau GOP committee seats in 2009, the last year elections were held. Three hold or have held leadership posts at GOP clubs. All but one has donated repeatedly to the local party, to Republican Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, or to both, records show."

The shelter is being run as an employment agency of the Republican Party. As long as the shelter is a dumping ground for Republican Party flacks, it will continue to badly run and a drain on the town taxpayers.

Patch Question: The town board voted to reinstate the SENWA board. Do you agree with this decision? If so, what is the ultimate goal you hope they achieve with their studies?

Murray: Despite the fact that previous studies have expressed doubts about prospective savings that might be achieved under a public takeover, I believed the issue deserved a fresh look for the sake of residents currently served by Aqua New York, Inc.

The charge of the Southeastern Nassau Water Authority is to ascertain if a public takeover of the private water company, which serves residents along our south shore, would be in the best interests of ratepayers. Clearly, the overriding consideration in the Water Authority’s work is the determination of whether ratepayer savings can be achieved through a takeover. Another key feature of the reactivated authority is the fact that it is empowered to effectuate a takeover should its findings indicate such an undertaking is warranted.

Port: The Aqua water issue needs to be resolved. Whether the South Eastern Nassau Water Authority (SENWA) should be reinstated or some other solution is found, the simply fact is that a private water company is overpricing and draining residents out of money. These residents already pay high taxes. The ultimate goal here must be to help these ratepayers. We can do this, but we must be proactive in looking for the right solutions. High water rates were also an issue in 2009 when Supervisor Murray was then seeking re-election.

Patch Question: HUB plans have either lost steam or been rejected by voters. What would you ideally like to see at the Coliseum location?

Murray: It is true, Nassau voters rejected the county’s proposal to issue bonds for the renovation of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Hempstead Town, at the same time, has undertaken unprecedented steps to jumpstart a stalled development process. After the Lighthouse Group withdrew from the state-mandated review process of its proposal, our town proposed and adopted a new building development zone that clears the way for meaningful and substantial development. It also clears the way for a new or refurbished Coliseum. The building zone is flexible, allowing for business, retail, residential, educational, technology, hotel, convention and other types of development. Our progressive building zone allows for 5.5 million square feet of construction, a density level that far exceeds the iconic RXR towers.

Port: The HUB has been a political football, or in this case a hockey puck, and we need to end the political horse-trading. The property is 77 acres of an empty canvas and we are only limited by imagination and lack of leadership. During this campaign I have shared my ideas about possibly turning the area into a Bio-Medical hub. In addition, we must prioritize preserving/improving the quality of life, work to keep the Islanders on Long Island and create real, long-term sustainable jobs for residents at all levels of employment. To do this all, we must have a group effort. When elected, I will bring players to the table from government, workforce, business leaders and community organizations so that every idea is heard, so that we have a shovel ready project.  

Patch Question: The unemployment rate in the Town of Hempstead has hovered around 7 percent. How can the town help reduce this number and get residents back in the job force?

Murray: Hempstead Town is a very mature community, more densely populated than any other township on Long Island. In fact, our township’s population is greater than four states, as well as the cities of Miami, Denver and Boston. As such, our area has confronted the same bruising effects of a national economic crisis as other major population centers. To be sure, Hempstead Town is taking major steps to jumpstart the economy, create jobs and support both the workers and employers.

HempsteadWorks, the town’s one-stop career resource center, is providing valuable services during this difficult time. Resume writing, career counseling, career transitioning, interview skills assessment, computer, copier and fax services, as well as job listings, meeting rooms for employers and workers are all available to residents.  Training in areas such as computer literacy are also available. The center has placed over 7,000 workers in jobs during a one-year period.

At the same time, Hempstead Town’s Planning Department has a low-interest loan fund which provides funds for small business start-up and expansion.

Our government has embarked upon a “job-boosting” $50 million capital upgrade plan for this year. Real construction, engineering and other jobs will be created as a result of the capital projects we will undertake. Road repaving, marine bulkhead refurbishment, computer engineering and the construction of a recreation center for children with special needs are among the capital projects.

Along with town board colleagues, I’ve been aggressive in attracting major private-sector construction/development projects in our town. These projects are creating construction, marketing, engineering, architectural, management services and other jobs, not to mention the ancillary jobs that will be created to serve the workers who are directly involved in development projects. Local delis, construction material suppliers and more will benefit from our new construction initiatives. A 315,000 square foot project in Garden City will offer 600 permanent jobs when completed. Other major projects in East Garden City, Westbury, North Valley Stream and West Hempstead are helping to reduce unemployment and stimulate the local economy.

Port: The actual unemployment figure is much higher, at least 14.9 percent, when people who have stopped looking for work, and those trapped in part time work are factored in (The Dept of Law calls this the U6). We need to remarket and redefine the town. We must rewrite the zoning and building codes from ground up. We need to work with the special districts, schools districts and county to restructure the tax burden. We need more than one-time tax breaks. We need to encourage long-term investment in the community and that involves the overall lowing of taxes. We must put forth a unified vision of the town's economic future and then work with our communities to bring that vision into reality. I have put forth a "JOBS NOW!" plan which is outlined on my website and on my YouTube page. We have the solution to get people back to work and I am asking voters to elect me so that I can go to work for them. 

Robert Demarco November 03, 2011 at 11:49 AM
Nothing new here. Kate and the Town are wonderful and the animal shelter scandal is due to a couple of hell raisers. She still does not explain the 9 employees makeing over $100K.
Bill Breuer November 03, 2011 at 03:37 PM
If we are not better off today than we were 4 years ago, we owe it to ourselves to vote against all incumbents. If all is good, we stil vote for the non-incumbent to avoid a landslide.
Jay November 03, 2011 at 09:05 PM
Your logic makes no sense. You support the democrats we get it. People will vote for who they support, not out of pity! Use your head. Don't think your comment is going to change peoples' minds. That is one of the most immature ridiculous things I've ever read. At this point most people have already made up their minds.
Bill Alderman November 03, 2011 at 09:18 PM
Bill, you cannot have a blanket statement like "If we are not better off today than we were 4 years ago, we owe it to ourselves to vote against all incumbents" and still seem rational. Hempstead Animal Shelter is doing better and the Hempstead Human Shelter is doing worse. Don Clavin is Not responsible for the jobs lost in nassau county.Norma Gonsalves is not responsible for our enormous school taxes. Each person has a job, and needs to do it well , or we need to vote to fire them and replace them with a new person. I am not sure what you so for a living , but If sales are down at my company they get a new manager and review employee performance and not fire the whole staff and hire anew.The facts remain that Ms Murray has dropped the reigns too many time (planned response to bad weather and storms , the last Hub Bub Vote , and others too numerous to mention here ) and that is why we are in such a terrible situation. We need a leader to snap up the reigns and lead us thru the rainstorm to the rainbow beyond and that is NOT Ms Murray any more. Maybe she is too complacient or frustrated too to do the right thing anymore while Mr Port is not ,
Business Man November 03, 2011 at 10:05 PM
Ms. Murray: Please, for once answer the simple question regarding the Animal Shelter salaries, that Mr. Port raises regarding the people with big Republican ties, that are vastly overpaid. You seem to avoid that question very well. Regarding the Hub; Big Business needs to be encouraged to come to TOH, not discouraged by antiquated NIMBY zoning policies. Big Business creates jobs and then smaller businesses, to support those employees of big business. Easy for people with jobs to say that they do not want economic growth due to traffic, "suburban character" etc...If you are worried about traffic at a new Hub, then the plan has to include new roads, just like the new roads, road extensions, access roads etc... that were built when the present coliseum\Marriott opened. Ms. Murray's idea of economic growth is to leave 77 acres in the heart of Nassau vacant & develop a fraction of the Hub. True politician that she is, she did that so as not to offend some people. I say, develop the area and Employ some more people. A few "local delis" (Her quote), is Not addressing the private sector Job Creation issue adquately. She still thinks small town\small time. We need real innovative, straight to the point leadership. Mr. Port seems to be that man.A vote for Port is a vote for Progress.
Mike November 03, 2011 at 10:11 PM
Godd luck Kate- lets hope you win
Diane Stephan November 04, 2011 at 03:14 AM
Decisions, decisions.
Bill Breuer November 04, 2011 at 09:33 AM
I agree that your candidates are all good people. i just don't believe that public office should be a lifetime career. Rather, I believe in term limits. And, I believe that blind adherence to party control of government is counter productive. Most elections are between good candidates. I believe in giving every qualified candidate a shot. The system will survive.
Robert Demarco November 04, 2011 at 10:18 AM
I agree that term limits are necessary. This will help curb the patronage and give the other party a chance to get its message out. It is unhealthy to have one party in power for so long; as we have seen, absolute power corrupts. It also makes it a self-cleansing system, with the exception of an area ruled by one party boss.
Lorraine DeVita November 04, 2011 at 10:25 AM
Mr. Port You have my vote if you promise to: Eliminate ALL patronage jobs that drain our resources and reward polititcal cronies Avoid as much as possible all Photo & PR Ops and stay at work and do your job Avoid sending me wasteful annoying polluting throw away notices in the mail Address issues head on and eliminate the politically correct double talk Most importantly LISTEN, and REPRESENT the PEOPLE not the political machine. PS Dont get swallowed up in the politics of the job but rather DO the job ignoring the political BS that seems to turn nomal logical people into political self serving disingenuous idiots.
Robert Demarco November 04, 2011 at 11:01 AM
With all the crap that we all write on this thread, Lorraine, you have boiled it down to exactly the issues that are relevant, and you didn't even mention a tax freeze. These are the issues that need to be addressed not the misdirection that the Republicans want us to believe with their so called tax freeze. You have said it all in one small post.
Catherine Mary November 04, 2011 at 12:19 PM
He might have my vote if he not only promised to do it but to tell us how it would be done. Unfortunately, although it is clear that he is reading these threads since he comments here and there, he has yet to answer my one question, asked several times. I expect if he does win, he will get rid of Kate's cronies and hire some of his own. Maybe Robert :-) Just kidding Robert...
Mike November 04, 2011 at 01:25 PM
If anyone thinks ANY candidate will eliminate patronage jobs you are pulling the wool over your eyes. A new candidate will just fire the old patronage people in put in their own. How do you think these people get money and support to fund a campaign. If it is Democrat or Republican it is all the same.
Robert Demarco November 04, 2011 at 03:13 PM
Hi, Cathy. I'm not qualified, and I would not want it anyway. I am registered as an independent, so neither party will want me.
Robert Demarco November 04, 2011 at 03:16 PM
I agree with you on the patronage issue, but the current party in power has gone way overboard. I believe that term limits, eliminating the career politician, would help to reduce patronage.
Merrick7 November 04, 2011 at 08:14 PM
What people ignore that Murray is in the precarious position of having to listen to constituents of TOH. Especially the ones who are powerful in the region. Garden City is the one against development at the HUB and the ones that forced Murray to be against the development of the Lighthouse. That village runs TOH from behind the scenes, but no one ever stands up to them for the unincorporated areas surrounding. Garden City sees itself as priority one in our town at the expense of all else. Look how it let Hempstead fall off in the 1960s and 70s to save its own skin. Garden City is the puppet master and needs to be shutdown.
Robert Demarco November 04, 2011 at 08:30 PM
If that' so it is amazing that they let Roosevelt Field grow to wjhat it is today, and the other developments along Stewart Avenue, but I guess that is not the heart of Garden City. They do seem to protect Franklin Avenue and those streets, and keep it looking like a village.
terry November 04, 2011 at 08:41 PM
Robert, did you know that Roosevelt Field is not in the Village of garden City and the tax revenue actually goes to Uniondale? the village is responsible for Franklin ave and that is why it is kept well maintained by the Village. And the Merrick1 guy is just insane with his commentary. hate to break it too you but Uniondale and the Councilwoman who represents the area were some of the biggest opponent to the Wang deal. And to somehow say the Village of Hempstead falls was the result of the Village of Garden City is absurd.
Robert Demarco November 04, 2011 at 08:54 PM
Its always been referred to as "Roosevelt Field Garden City", but you know what you are talking about in this area, so I take your word. As for the other stuff, there is a remarkable dropoff as you drive south on Franklin, and there is little doubt where the Garden City border lies. As for the Wang deal, maybe it was too dense, but they should have tried to reach a compromise. The guy was not going to do the deal if he couldn't make some money. Somewhere between Murray's position and Wang's proposal could be a reasonable compromise. Feel free to comment back on this one, honestly, because this is your area of expertise.
Business Man November 04, 2011 at 09:03 PM
Not sure where you are getting your facts, but the address of Roosevelt Field is clearly Garden City, not Uniondale. Look up any location at the mall, they are all listed as Garden City. Anyone familiar with the surrounding areas along Stewart Ave. would know that Uniondale does not begin until the Coliseum. So why would you think the tax dollars "go to Uniondale". Back that up, please. Secondly, While it is true that originally Uniondale school district was against the Lighthouse project, the Uniondale school district DID approve of the Lighthouse plan AFTER they negotiated more $ from the developers. Good for them, on that. As for a councilman, yes, all too often NIMBY people do try to stop any development in their areas. Sad and way too short sighted, but true. In this case, some in community were for it, some were against it.Quite often that is the way on almost any development.
terry November 04, 2011 at 09:39 PM
Lack of businees, head on over to the County assessor website. The revenue goes to the Uniondale School district. that is why the County police and County are responsible for the mall, not garden city. So, I can back it up. The use the address of Garden City because it sounds better than uniondale and the northeast corner of the property, where Jos A bank, is the only portion of GC.. Only the Stewart Ave, up to the Mall entrance is GC, after that, town County. But people love to use that, East garden City address, to get business. So you are wrong, feel free to actually learn about the property at any time, visit the County site The point was to show robert that Franklin Ave is well maintained because the Village has it, the mall......mall developer takes care of it and County police it, not the village While the Uniondale School district did approve after there payoff, the councilwoman, democrat, did not, nor did numerous residents.
Business Man November 04, 2011 at 10:06 PM
Terry, Well, I see why so many stop responding to your tirades. Nice try, making fun of my name. Go back and re-read my comment. Very respectful to you. Would have hoped for the same, but I guess that was unrealistic on my part. I have seen you blogs to others before. Simply asked for you to PLEASE back up the statement. You quoted some places, I will look them up, Fine- I see that you take pleasure in saying "So you are wrong, feel free to actually learn about the propert" Go back and reread my statements-You yourself, acknowledged that R. Field does use the Garden City address. That said, to ask you to back up your claim of that being on Uniondale S.D. is a very fair question to ask. You call the school district approval a "payoff". I call it business.They had a price that they felt would adequately compensate the district for the added students. It was met. THANK YOU. Have a Wonderful Day. Very Respectfully.
Lucille November 04, 2011 at 10:16 PM
I only know about the Animal Shelter and the facts are 3.6 Million Dollars in Payroll and I saw everyday of my life the people who held those jobs!!! Most of them were "MIA" all the time!! This shelter was a Republican Store front until it was exposed and now she claims it's fixed??? There is STILL MANY FAT CATS STILL THERE!!! The other big number was almost 3 Million in ADMINISTRATIVE FEES, which is a creative way to move money to other areas of the Town!! The bottom line was less than $400,000 actually went to the animal shelter and I saw nothing but negligence and suffering - so what's going on!!! I don't think the DA would be spending this much time investigating and then call in the State Comptroller's Office for a full blown Audit if there wasn't a problem!! Yes, but that's Kate,..everything's great and fine in the "Land of Make Believe". If this is happening at the Animal Shelter which is basically a facility that the public visits, you can just imagine what is happening in parks, highways,etc
terry November 04, 2011 at 10:23 PM
Business, the problem is too many make allegations that arent true. Like saying Uniondale doesnt start until the Coliseum. It's just not true. Did you know that the property at COVANTA, target and the Meadowbrook senior housing all fall into the Uniondale school district, well North of the Coliseum. But people makes statements that arent factually true and hate to be taken to task. Though the school district approved it, why didn't the local Councilwoman, who represents the area, support it? http://www.nytimes.com/1999/03/28/nyregion/mega-can-mall-be-roosevelt-field-3.3-million-square-feet-wants-expand-some-think.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm go about 1/3 down and see where times says garden City doesnt get the taxes
terry November 04, 2011 at 10:41 PM
And to see a map of East garden City and the school district, take a look here http://www.city-data.com/forum/long-island/788186-meadowbrook-pointe.html Business man, the point is people post things to fit there position, when half of the facts are wrong. So you wanted some substance, here it is. Your the one who was saying things that are flat out untrue, so I'm sorry if you don't like being called out on it
Peter J. Tomao November 05, 2011 at 12:20 PM
Its time for a change in Hempstead. Elect Gary Port!
Phillip Franco November 06, 2011 at 11:37 AM
I hope they both will be attending the peoples rally in front of Cedar Creek Park Today at 12:00pm that seeks to preserve and protect our Wantagh-Seaford community.
Merrick7 November 06, 2011 at 06:41 PM
Robert that is the unincorporated area of East Garden City. And yes Garden CIty allowed Roosevelt field to grow. Most municipalities didn't realize at the time the detrimental effects. Garden City's Franklin Ave went from the Fifth Ave of Long Island into a commercial corridor. It is defensive since that mistake.
Merrick7 November 06, 2011 at 06:42 PM
Its not insane. Look at old newspapers from the time. Roosevelt field, forced low income housing all contributed to Hempstead's demise. Garden City saw it as a benefit to enhance its community.

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