After slashing the Town of Hempstead supervisor’s budget in half, proposing tax freezes or tax cuts each year in office and spending tens of millions of dollars to repair town roads and parks, Don Clavin deserves to be re-elected to two more years as town supervisor.
Clavin, of Garden City, ran an efficient office as the tax receiver for nearly two decades, and then admirably dealt with the issues that arose during the coronavirus pandemic in his first term as supervisor. Given all of his experience in town government, he is a better fit for the position than his opponent, Jason Abelove, a discrimination attorney from Oceanside who has no experience in elected office, but still offered many solid ideas.
On his first day in office, Clavin cut the supervisor’s staff spending by half, saving taxpayers $1 million annually, and he has since dedicated $75 million to road repaving and infrastructure upgrades, as well as $10 million to parks improvements. In addition to road repairs, his administration introduced the “pothole patrol,” an effort to expedite repairs using state-of-the-art vehicles and promoting a hotline for residents to report potholes.
Clavin and the Town Board also acted quickly at the height of the pandemic, aiding seniors, small businesses and essential workers. He used millions of dollars in federal CARES Act funding to provide thousands of free Covid-19 tests for essential workers, personal protective equipment for businesses and meals for residents in need, including seniors.
Though Abelove claimed that Clavin spent some of the money on raises and promotions for political insiders, Clavin offered a reasonable defense, explaining that every expenditure was approved by an advisory review panel and an impartial law firm, and the money was spent properly to help those in need and to safeguard residents. He added that he built a solid partnership with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer in his first term, amid the pandemic, which we believe will come in handy down the road if Clavin is re-elected.
To further aid local businesses dealing with the health crisis, Clavin and the board instituted the first outdoor dining initiative in the state in the spring of 2020, waiving permit fees and expediting the process for restaurant owners.
Clavin’s background in finance has proved critical. To help save money, he eliminated take-home cars for top managers, including himself, and the town has received credit-rating upgrades from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.
Abelove offered many sound ideas, including trimming the $5 million per year the towns spends on mailers; instituting new guidelines and practices to make its animal shelter more efficient; focusing on road repairs across the town, not just in certain areas; adding a town diversity officer; and creating an office focusing on services for people with disabilities. Abelove also said that residents need more opportunities at town meetings and online to offer feedback on projects before they are approved.
His line of work is a good indication of Abelove’s dedication to advocating for people. We urge him to run again in the future, perhaps at a more local level than supervisor.
While both candidates are passionate, eager and approachable, we believe Don Clavin is the better choice given all he has done for the town and his leadership during the pandemic. We urge voters to re-elect him on Tuesday.