Rockville Centre residents are fortunate that in this election, there really aren’t any bad candidates for the village Board of Trustees. Any of the four hopefuls would likely prove a productive member of the board.
But we believe that two of the candidates — Edward Oppenheimer and Emilio Grillo — are the best choices, and we endorse them for the board’s two open seats.
Oppenheimer, one of two incumbents who are running, is an accountant, and his experience has consistently proven to be a boon to the board. His pragmatic, numbers-oriented approach and knowledge of accounting procedures were important in the preparation of this year’s budget, and can only help the village in the future.
Oppenheimer is also unafraid to ask difficult questions, a quality that is often overlooked in candidates for political office. He pursues details with purpose, giving residents more information about issues and forcing the board to publicly discuss matters that would otherwise be voted on without a word.
He has spent nearly his entire life in the village, and while that is not required to hold office, it certainly helps. And as a former county legislator, Oppenheimer has more legislative experience than all three of the other candidates combined.
Our second choice is Emilio Grillo. Grillo chose to run with incumbent Kevin Glynn on the Common Sense ticket, but Grillo is clearly the better choice. A commercial and civil defense attorney, Grillo has been a village prosecutor since 2004. He is smart, savvy, level-headed and well-informed about village issues. He’s also a longtime volunteer, having worked with charities at St. Agnes, the Community Fund, the Mayor’s Golf Committee and more.
Most importantly, Grillo came to us with ideas. He has a vision of a beautified downtown and aesthetically pleasing village entrances. Like the other candidates, he wants to bring in more business, but unlike Glynn, he has ideas on how to do so: expand the waived parking fees to include weekends, and potentially give tax credits to businesses to entice them to come to Rockville Centre.
The fact that Glynn has stuck to a campaign promise he made four years ago — to vote against any budget that includes a tax increase higher than the Consumer Price Index — is admirable. But it seems that all he has to offer this election is his campaign promises from four years ago.
Glynn touts his “common-sense solutions” to village problems, such as increasing non-tax revenue and encouraging civility among board members. But although both revenue and civility have increased, we see this more as coinciding with Glynn’s time on the board than being a result of it. In fact, we’re hard-pressed to think of any solutions Glynn has proposed.
His performance at the candidates forum earlier this week was all style and no substance — lots of buzzwords and talking points, but no ideas for the future. He seems content to remain silent at meetings, contributing only when directly addressed. That’s not what Rockville Centre needs right now.
Marc Wieman doesn’t give himself enough credit. His volunteerism and desire to give back to the village are admirable. But by his own admission, he isn’t good with numbers, and that’s not something we want to hear from a potential trustee. It seems to us that not even Wieman is clear on his positions on some issues — other than the fact that he wants some kind of parking structure built. We’d like to see him stay involved with village affairs, and perhaps try running again in two years.
We also hope residents will support Kevin McDonough, who’s running for re-election as a village justice. McDonough has been a fair and effective judge over the past four years, which is why he is endorsed by both the Common Sense and Concerned Citizens parties. He is deserving of your vote.
Our one disappointment in this election cycle is in the sheer lack of diversity among board candidates. All are white men over 35. In a village where women make up 53 percent of the population and minorities 11 percent, the Board of Trustees remains all white, with only one seat occupied by a woman. We hope to see more minority and women candidates in the future, to make the board more representative of Rockville Centre.