We’d love to live in the future Nassau County envisioned by Tom Suozzi, full of cool downtowns, a redeveloped Hub (the area surrounding the Nassau Coliseum) and lots of affordable housing for young singles as well as for our seniors. The incumbent, Ed Mangano, offers no such grand vision. His detractors say he offers no vision at all.
If we felt Suozzi was capable of delivering on his grand vision in any meaningful way, our choice would be a no-brainer. However, Suozzi’s record of accomplishment when it comes to completing or even beginning these grand projects is poor. He had two terms as county executive, and the only bricks-and-mortar accomplishment he can point to is the redevelopment of the Theodore Roosevelt Court House in Mineola.
During those eight years, Suozzi invested lots of time, effort and political capital in an attempt to bring Charles Wang’s Lighthouse proposal for the Hub to fruition. But without benefit of a consensus of Republicans in the Legislature and on the Hempstead town board, the project went nowhere, which is where we fear many of Suozzi’s current plans would end up as well.
In contrast, Mangano’s deal to redevelop the Hub is smaller in scale — focusing on the Coliseum itself, and not the surrounding area — and fails to keep the New York Islanders in Nassau County. But the plan has been approved by the Legislature and meets the revised town zoning requirements for the site. It seems likely to actually get built.
And there, in a nutshell, is the tale of our two county executives, past and present: Suozzi, the grand visionary, long on ideas but short on execution; and Mangano, the machine politician who seems better able to build consensus and get things done in a Republican-dominated county.