Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

City of Long Beach Council Members

CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Candidate picture

    John D. Bendo (DEM) Nuclear Engineer

  • Candidate picture

    Allison Blanchette (GRE) Executive Director of Long Island Streets and Freelance Traffic Safety Educator

  • Candidate picture

    Chumi Diamond (DEM, WFP, WEP) Attorney, Councilwoman

  • Candidate picture

    William M. Haas (REP, CON, REF) Operations Manager

  • Candidate picture

    Christopher P. Jones (REP, CON, IND, REF) Local 28 Sheet Metal Worker

  • Candidate picture

    Scott J. Mandel (DEM, WFP, IND, WEP) Principal Court Attorney, NYS Supreme Court, Nassau County

  • Candidate picture

    Joseph R. Naham (GRE) Vice President of Sustainability for shellfish farm.

  • Candidate picture

    Leah E. Rosensweig Tozer (REP, CON, IND, REF) Real Estate Broker

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

What issue is your top priority to be addressed in Long Beach? Please be specific about how you will address it.

What is your current position on the IStar development of the Superblock?

What do you plan to do to address the need for affordable housing in LB? Please be specific.

Campaign Web Site http://www.bendo4lb.com
Campaign Email bendo4lb@gmail.com
Campaign Phone (516) 659-7073
City/Town of Residence Long Beach
Prior Civic Service U.S. Navy – Veteran. Served for 6 years; Advisory Committee to U.S. Secretary of Commerce for increasing exports; President of West End Neighbors Civic Association; Founder and organizer of Movies on the Beach; NY Rising Community Reconstruction Zone Committee; Citizens Advisory Committee for Long Beach Comprehensive Plan; Long Beach Chamber of Commerce
Since Sandy, we seem to be focused on attracting day trippers as an economic development strategy. I’d like to see the city’s focus be on resident qualify of life issues instead. I’d focus on making our downtown(s) and public spaces beautiful and inviting places to be and our streets safer for all users, whether you’re in a car, bike, wheelchair, on foot, or pushing a stroller.

Additionally, the City is borrowing our way into oblivion. We’re more than $110 million in debt, which is more than double what it was 4-5 years ago. A Fiscal Stress report released by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said that Long Beach is under "moderate fiscal stress." We need to get that under control. We can start by making sure bodies like the City Council and Zoning Board of Appeals make smart, ethical rulings that don’t get us into anymore multi-million dollar law suits. If we’re footing the bill for avoidable lawsuits, we won’t have the money needed for infrastructure and other improvements.
The Superblock was specifically zoned for a large-scale development that would help stabilize the residential tax base. I’d be OK with a development there that was a bit taller or denser than elsewhere in Long Beach, if it helped stabilize the tax base and hold the line on taxes for the rest of us. But the variance given to iStar was bogus. Variances should only be granted when an applicant demonstrates a real (not self-inflicted) hardship. iStar claimed they needed more height and density to make the project work financially. The real reason they couldn’t make it work financially is because they overpaid for the property. That’s not a “hardship” in my mind. iStar then went and applied for over $100 million in tax breaks from the Nassau Industrial Development Agency (IDA). This would negate the whole intent of the development stabilizing the tax base. The iStar development does not benefit residents and sets a bad precedent that will be used by other developers to justify overbuilding.
Long Beach is largely a middle class community. We need to keep Long Beach affordable so that our kids and their kids can continue to live here. That means enhancing the variety of housing choices that exist here through a variety of methods: We can change the zoning codes to allow for more mixed-use and multifamily housing options; we can use rent stabilization laws to limit rent increases in larger buildings; the City can mandate that 20% of units in new structures of 10 units or more be designated for workforce housing (it can be a prerequisite for getting any variances they may need); inclusionary zoning can be used in new residential developments to make a percentage of the housing units affordable to low/moderate income residents in exchange for providing cost offsets to developers (e.g. density bonuses that allow them to build more units than current zoning would allow).

Resident input would be required for any options pursued.
Campaign Web Site http://allisonforlongbeach.org
City/Town of Residence Long Beach, NY
Prior Civic Service Steering Committee, Safe Routes to School-LB; Active Member of the Eastholme Civic Association, North Bay & Canals Civic Association, and Westholme-Walks Civic Association; Founder Long Beach Streets, grassroots advocacy for active transportation and mobility rights; Founder of annual Lemonade Pedal, the only public bicycle education event in Long Beach; Organizer of the annual World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Violence Victims event in Long Beach; Bus Rider Advocate and Outreach, Jobs With Justice / Long Island Bus Riders Union; Intern / Organizer, May Day Rally NYC, International Action Center (IAC); Vice Chair, NYC Chapter of Surfrider Foundation; Active Member and Volunteer with Transportation Alternatives, New York Bicycling Coalition and League of American Bicyclists.
We cannot champion any issues with an opaque city government with barriers to information or accountability to see those issues through. I would like to prioritize opening government data through a user-friendly online portal. Open government data online means putting our budget and city checkbook online, allowing residents to explore city expenditures, revenue, liabilities and assets, payroll, contracts, taxes, utilities, and more. This extends beyond financial information into all departments, so information like crime reports, RFP's, planning documents and building permits would be explorable. Opening government data would create greater government transparency, honesty, accountability, efficiency, civic engagement, community activism and economic growth. It also reduces waste and abuse and saves taxpayers money.
The Zoning Board should never have given a variance for two 15-story luxury buildings, which should be reserved for hardship and not luxury residential and commercial oceanfront property. Days before, the City Council settled a lawsuit with the developer and signed a Host Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) behind closed doors (thus not a true CBA) and that is where I believe this entire iStar fiasco turned sour for the residents - our City Council was no longer representing the people who elected them, but representing private interests. Our Local Development Corporation (LDC) waived a $1.5m mortgage tax waiver under another closed door deal. As far as iStar seeking an IDA tax break, I am opposed to giving a corporation so much as a penny. The iStar developers can build within our current code, and they can pay their share of taxes. Period.
No single strategy can address affordable housing, which refers to a wide spectrum of types, including subsidized housing, housing for people with special needs, transitional and types that low- and middle-income can rent or purchase. Broadly, we can look at inclusionary zoning, mixed-use in our business districts, allowing conversion of lower-density single-family houses into more compact housing types, rent stabilization and opening homes to apartment conversions. The current system banning apartment conversions and mass crackdown on "illegal" units is backwards, we should be working with homeowners to help fill affordable housing needs. My plan is to have the spine to address affordable housing, mindful towards not overcrowding, maintaining our neighborhood charm. We do not need to rely on new (over)developments when we can first consider creative use of existing structures and public policy to address affordable housing in Long Beach.
Campaign Email dimn26@aol.com
Campaign Phone (516) 647-2079
City/Town of Residence Long Beach
Prior Civic Service Ladies of the Bach of Long Beach, Vice President; Young Israel of Long Beach Sisterhood; Long Beach Lawyers Association; Nassau County Bar Association; Nassau County Open Space & Parks Advisory Committee Member (2010-12); The Marion & Aaron Gural Jewish Community Center, Vice President; Jewish Community Relations Council Long Island Advisory Committee, Member; UJA Federation, Long Island Lawyers Division, Member.
I recognize that our community continues to face challenges whether it be the recovery from Superstorm Sandy, ensuring continued smart and sustainable development and balanced municipal financing at a time when the cost of running a municipality of this size continue to rise, we need to work to find innovative way to protect our resources, our financial health and the diversity we cherish.
This City of Long Beach is a party in a pending litigation regarding this project. Therefore, I am unable to comment on the project. To that end, I strongly believe that those who choose to live and develop in our City must pay their fair share of property taxes.
We must work to make sure our City’s affordable housing is accessible throughout our community, and that every new project includes affordable housing.
Campaign Web Site http://www.reformlongbeach.com
Campaign Email dean154@aol.com
Campaign Phone (516) 640-0047
City/Town of Residence Long Beach
Prior Civic Service U.S. Navy
My top priority will be to restore the Long Beach resident’s confidence in City Hall. Over the course of our campaign I have had conversations with thousands of residents. In only one instance did I encounter a person that believes City Hall operates in an above-board and transparent manner. One person – out of thousands. This must change immediately. Elected officials are obligated to be ethical in their decisions. Concerned citizens should believe that their leaders are operating fairly and in the best interests of the city and its constituents. Clearly, this is not the situation in Long Beach. Chris, Leah and I have developed concrete proposals to mandate ethical conduct that we will implement right away. We believe an ethics code will have an immediate and lasting impact.
The City’s management of the iStar development project was the issue that motivated me to run for office. I have lived in Long Beach for twenty years and like many other residents, I believe that the quality of life here has been deteriorating due in large part to overdevelopment. If you walk just about anywhere in Long Beach, you will see examples of the City’s failure to protect its neighborhoods from greedy developers who look to circumvent the building codes through shady backroom deals. We have long opposed the iStar developer’s multi-million dollar tax break, and we filed a lawsuit seeking to revoke their building permits which we believe have expired. Our goal is to require the city to hold a new zoning board hearing on their application. We believe zoning variances should only be issued for extreme hardship or significant economic benefit to the community.
I believe housing prices for the most part are driven by market forces including interest rates and supply and demand. I remember as a young boy playing hockey here and hoping one day I could live in Long Beach. I know many others that feel the same way. And I know still others that arrive here through happenstance and wind up never leaving. Even after Hurricane Sandy many people are still determined to move here. Unfortunately, there are too few existing houses and almost no land availability to build new ones. I agree that many first-time buyers are not able to afford their dream homes here in Long Beach. Fortunately, there are other options. Long Beach has a very affordable co-op and condominium market. I know many people who started small and built equity in their units to later buy single-family homes. With that said, we believe that City Hall exacerbates the problem through poor fiscal performance leading to higher taxes and higher fees on services. We will hold the line on taxes
Campaign Web Site http://www.ReformLongBeach.com
Campaign Email Dean154@aol.com
Campaign Phone (516) 252-7124
City/Town of Residence Long Beach, NY
Prior Civic Service Seasonal city of LB employee from 1996-2013. 1996&1997 LB sanitation, 1998-2013 Long Beach Beach Patrol (Lifeguard)
Top priority in Long Beach is a better quality of life. Specially stopping overdevelopment, holding the line on taxes, and ending the corruption in city hall. Leah, Bill and myself meet often and speak of how we will address these issues. When it comes to overdevelopment we are on a lawsuit against Istar who is the biggest threat to overdevelopment. It has been the incumbents administration to sign the host agreement giving them the tax abatement. When it comes to holding the line on taxes we noticed that under this administration the budget which just came out during the summer for 2017-2018 is $4 MILLION higher than the previous year which in all likelihood will again raise taxes. We will cut waste where it's needed and save the taxpayers money. As for the corruption, it's time to clean house and bring back honest government. We feel a bipartisan ethics committee is long overdue.
We are against it! Like I mentioned above Leah, Bill and I are on a lawsuit against istar. The design doesn't fit in with Long Beach, it violates zoning regulations, and will put our already decaying infrastructure in more jeopardy. And to add the tax abatement which the incumbents deemed necessary is just adding salt to the wound.
We must update our zoning code to help bring back affordable housing to Long Beach. I've been here my whole life and it breaks my heart to see "lifers" who loved Long Beach forced to leave because they are being priced out. Along with updating the zoning code which hasn't been done in decades, freezing taxes, and lowering fees will be a step in the right direction for affordable housing.
Campaign Phone (516) 528-5221
City/Town of Residence Long Beach
Prior Civic Service Long Beach City Council, 2012 - present; Long Beach Auxiliary Police Dept.; Long Beach Lions Club; Volunteer Mediator, Nassau County District Court, Landlord Tenant Part, 2006 - 2012; Volunteer Arbitrator, Queens Civil Court, Small Claims Part, 2006-2009
My top priority is to continue working towards Long Beach's recovery, healing & growth from the damages caused by Superstorm Sandy as it has over the last 5 ½ years. Specifically, I would like to continue working on ways to help resolve the issues of flooding on our bay side through bulkheading projects and finding additional parking options throughout the City.
In 2011, the prior republican administration sued iStar, subsequently losing the majority of the suit & costing LB tax payers over $500k in legal fees and exposing residents to additional large legal fees and potential financial damages. Upon advice from our City's attorneys, this administration unanimously voted to settle the suit securing substantial benefits for LB, including, but not limited to: iStar's replacement of archaic water/sewer lines; iStar's payment of $5M directly to LB; & iStar's waiver of its claims against LB for substantial tax refunds. As determined by the courts, iStar, not LB, privately owns the vacant land at the Superblock, and has the right to develop it. I am encouraged that we were able to salvage the improvident lawsuit, avoid further costs and substantial fees which would have severely impacted our residents, and attain a settlement in which LB intends to receive, among other things, infrastructure repairs and substantial funds.
While I am against any form of unreasonable and irresponsible development in Long Beach, I do believe that any responsible, large scale residential development must provide for affordable housing. To that end, any private development projects requiring the City of Long Beach's permission, partnership or variance should include a percentage devoted for affordable housing. In addition, I would look to encourage & incentivize property owners to maintain affordable housing options through possible grants and governmental programs.
Campaign Web Site http://JosephNaham.com
Campaign Email JoeyNaham@gmail.com
City/Town of Residence Long Beach, NY
Prior Civic Service Camp Anchor Farmers Market
I can express our top priority in a sentence: To end the influence of special interests and party politics upon our city government.

To do so we must first appoint council members, a city manager, and zoning board members who put the concerns of residents before those of party leaders and real estate developers. I campaign on a platform that refuses any corporate contributions and special interests. As a political outsider, I am still learning about all of our citizens priorities, and I feel that our represented leaders must be more accountable. Establishing more committees with focuses on transportation, flood resilience, retirees, youth recreation, general policy,etc and requiring city council members to participate. Without council members visibly included in each committee, the likelihood of accountability will remain minimal. Sophisticated discussions on all issues must be presented by our elected officials. (Answer continued below following iStar answer)..
I am against the istar over-development of the superblock. We sat and watched as good union members were used as pawns by the greedy corporate heads who tried to retain $129 million, then $109 million, and currently $82 million from our tax coffers.The city poorly handled past actions with respect to this property, & have paid out $ millions to the original eminent domain plaintiffs. I’ve advocated on preserving our resources, and seeing one of the last plots of shoreline land turn into two towers out of corporate welfare is not going to happen under my watch.

1: We are coming to terms with all of the challenges overwhelming quality of life. We are threatened by political players who deny, dismiss, and dissolve voices in the name of preserving the status quo. If leaders are not tied up with expectations from realtors & party bosses they can invest their energy into more prevalent quality of life issues. A vote for the Greens will bring integrity to our community and quality of life.
I understand that Long Beach is extremely limited in vacant plots of land. We need to work more on studying how much affordable housing is available, & how much is auctioned to developers. Many residents, who are seniors, & persons with disabilities live on fixed incomes. Here, we have a limit of vacant land, while demanding to increase a tax base is of great concern. Let's develop Park Ave: revitalizing mass transit, & safer streets. Focus on a center of town urban housing, we will avoid the further exploitation of our precious shoreline.We also will not allow an entire community, to be threatened by gentrification.New public city housing should be built to LEED Gold standard or above. I would like to see public funding of housing to be provided more to non-profit builders. All urban development & redevelopment to have a grassroots, independent, residents’ organization that has decision making ability related to any additions/changes/planning for the neighborhoods that it encompasses.
Campaign Web Site http://www.reformlongbeach.com
Campaign Email dean154@aol.com
Campaign Phone (516) 640-0047
City/Town of Residence Long Beach NY
Improving the quality of life for the residents in Long Beach, my running mates Chris Jones, Bill Haas and I will accomplish this by freezing taxes, stopping over development, bringing back transparency in our city government and stopping outside interests to control our city government along with protecting our environment and finally dealing with our parking issues. We accomplish these issues by reducing expenditures by 2% while improving efficiencies, increasing revenues by 1% through Comprehensive Plan supported grants, updated our zoning and building codes while having a qualified planning board in place to stop over development, putting in place a tough new ethics and financial disclosure law while having every committee be bipartisan, protecting the Lloyd aquifer from outside interests while combating sea level rise by working with state and federal agencies and adding an estimated 1000 parking spots by years end. These are just a few.
We are in opposition to the Istar development. My running mates Chris Jones, Bill Haas and I are part of a taxpayer lawsuit seeking to revoke the building permits which we believe have expired and require the city to hold a new zoning board hearing on the application. The fact that they asked for a tax abatement after saying they were fully funded and ready to start construction once the variances were approved would now negatively impact our residents.
We certainly need more affordable housing here in Long Beach, as this is something I deal with on a daily basis. By updating our zoning codes in Long Beach we can address this very crucial issue and bring back affordable housing to our residents.

VOTE411.org logo

Disclaimer:

All statements and videos are posted directly by the candidate, unedited by the League of Women Voters and do not express the views of the League. The League never supports or opposes candidates or political parties.