"After 10 years of slow motion on crucial development issues, it's time for change
Republican John Venditto has been supervisor of Oyster Bay Town for the past 10 years and in that time, he says, he is proud that he's done things "the Oyster Bay way." By that, he means that change has come incrementally, in a manner designed not to change the suburban nature of the town. Venditto, 58, of Massapequa, has vehemently opposed such projects as the Avalon housing development in Oyster Bay village, the multi-use project proposed by Charles Wang for Plainview and the luxury mall proposed by the Taubman company in Syosset. He has, in fact, fought repeated court orders to allow the mall to proceed. In all three cases, he says the projects are too dense for the town's character. And in all three cases, he has sided with the traditional NIMBY opposition to anything new.
Venditto says he recognizes the need for change and has supported senior and now next-generation housing proposals. But his accomplishments are tiny compared to the problem. He also says he's straightened out the town's finances in his years in office, and championed more environment and open-space programs. For that he deserves credit.
His opponent, Democrat Joseph Terino, 38, of Syosset, is a former Nassau assistant district attorney now in private practice. He's critical of Venditto for his slow pace and lack of creative thinking about problems such as affordable housing and redevelopment of downtown areas like Hicksville. While he thought the Avalon project was too dense as proposed, he says the only way to lower taxes in the town is through intelligent planning and redevelopment. He says he would accept the court order on the Taubman project but negotiate for less density. Venditto laughs at this, saying Terino will never achieve the reduction in the size of the mall he claims.
Venditto has been too complacent on the big issues facing the town. Terino promises a more dynamic but still sensible approach to growth and redevelopment. It's time for a change in Oyster Bay. Newsday endorses Terino.