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VOTE411 Voter Guide

District # 15

CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    John R. Ferretti II (REP, CON, IND, TRP, REF) Chief Deputy Nassau County Clerk/Attorney

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    Michael J. Sheridan (DEM, WFP, WEP) BUSINESS OWNER

Change Candidates

Every candidate in every Nassau County election for decades says something like: “We must reform the unjust property tax system to provide businesses and homeowners with a transparent, fair and clear assessment program going forward.” And it never happens. Other than repeating the above, what is your specific plan for fixing this system that continues a debt burden for Nassau County.

Integrity, honesty, trustworthiness are all qualities we expect from our politicians, yet Nassau County has had several elected officials that have faced criminal charges. What specifically will you do to implement accountability, transparency, checks and balances, and proper oversight? What concrete steps will you take to re-build the public’s trust?

Having the financial resources to live in Nassau County is becoming increasingly difficult. What strategic plans do you have on the county level to support and partner with the various municipalities to create more affordable housing for young adults, working families and seniors?

Redistricting and gerrymandering affect the choice of candidates that voters elect to represent them. What are your views for setting up an independent redistricting commission for Nassau County for the drawing of lines after the 2020 census? If you agree with setting up an independent redistricting commission, how would you make it a reality in Nassau County? If you are not for an independent redistricting commission, why not?

Fixing the assessment system in Nassau County must be a priority. When close to 70% of residential property owners are grieving their assessment, indicating they believe their assessment is not accurate, that is a clear indication the system is not working properly.

My plan includes: -Lobbying Albany to eliminate the “county guarantee” which has put an unfair burden on Nassau County. -County wide re-assessment, so that we ensure all properties are assessed accurately. -Bi-annual re-assessments thereafter to ensure assessments remain accurate. -Modifying the formula Nassau County currently uses to calculate assessed value. Changing the level of assessment from a percentage (.25) to 1.0, effectively making a properties fair market value its assessed value. -Ensuring that the Department of Assessment and the Nassau County Assessment Review Commission are adequately staffed.
As we have seen over the recent past, corruption is not limited to one party. We must restore the public trust by implementing comprehensive ethics reform. Effective ethics reform starts by amending and strengthening the current Nassau County code of ethics. I believe these amendments should include:

-additional financial disclosure requirement for elected officials. -enhanced vetting to prevent nepotism and improper employment with contractors. -strengthening the authority of the county’s Ethics Board to conduct more thorough investigations of misconduct, and limiting the board to no more than two individuals from either party. -empower the county’s Commissioner of Investigations to serve as the investigatory arm of the Ethics Board. -create a public database where details on all county contracts will be put online.
As a lifelong resident of Levittown, I have seen many friends that I grew up with move away from Nassau County. Ensuring young adults can remain in Nassau County is an issue that is of paramount importance to me.

The number one concern I have heard walking door to door from residents of the 15th legislative district is property taxes. We must hold the line on property taxes, as I believe the high cost is the number one reason young people leave Nassau, and working families and seniors struggle. To do this, and still generate necessary revenue, I believe we must attract more business to Nassau, which expands the tax base. I have worked diligently as a member of the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency to bring business and jobs to the Town of Hempstead, while at the same time, increasing transparency and ensuring residential property taxes have not increased. I hope to bring those same principles and policies to Nassau County.
The Nassau County Charter calls for a temporary districting advisory commission to be established each legislative term in which the legislature is required to reapportion the county legislative districts. This commission consists of a non-voting chairman and ten members, five of which are appointed by the presiding officer and the other five by the minority leader. This equal representation on the commission ensures bi-partisan input in the process and that a fair redistricting plan is presented to the Legislature.

However, the charter reads that the commission “may” hold public hearings to develop a redistricting plan. In order to increase transparency, I would be in favor of an amendment to the charter requiring the commission hold public hearings prior to presenting the Legislature with a redistricting plan.
Assessment was very accurate and reasonably fair between 2004 and 2008. Then the system broke down. An uncredentialed Assessor was brought in around 2010, Executive Mangano froze assessments and also cut OUR in house assessment staffing --making it impossible for inspectors to do their jobs. Fixing and reforming it -- largely undoing what County Executive Mangano created - I have a 6 Part Plan. 1. Bring in a qualified and credentialed professional Assessor. Assess at market Value 2. Hire MORE Assessment staff. They will able be to meet the paperwork and computer demands (limited in house staff CANNOT keep up with the inundation of RECORD NUMBER of Grievances. 3. KICK companies OFF the Assessment Board - that make millions on assessment challenges, who are also large donors to whomever is County Executive 4. Create and require intelligible tax bills for homeowners 5. Assess more REGULARLY (2 to 3 years) 6. Look at getting rid of the County Guarantee
1. I will work with Laura Curran to create vendor and donor lists that are visible and available publicly to residents on County Websites. 2. I am for Term Limits of 10 years for Legislators. And also term limits for other office holders as well. Being in office too long breeds apathy, stale thinking, and connection to monied interests. 3. We need an Anti-Corruption inspector who is INDEPENDENT of the County Executive and reports to the Legislature/Public. 4. We need to create recall or stricter punishments of County Exec or Legislators. Additionally, removing state pensions if an elected person is convicted of a Felony or major financial crime. As for Legislators I have also proposed lesser but serious offenses of DWI, drug possession, domestic Violence and personal behavior that rises to a crime (financial or other) a 3 week temporary removal from the legislative body (on the bench, so to speak) without pay as a form of official Censure. We NEED HIGHER standards for office holders
Legislators, Town elected officials and the building trades need to cooperate and work on building more affordable housing around train stations and downtowns, around future HUBS, and closer to shopping and transit (buses and trains) systems that allow for them to get around safely and effectively. And are affordable. Strict adherence standards need to be upheld also, as some developers have promised more affordable units - only to focus more on higher cost housing in some projects.

Zoning laws in regards to affordable apartments have begun to change in towns like HIcksville, Farmingdale, Mineola and others that allow for the creating of such projects. And need to continue to allow downtown zoning changes.

Consider legalizing some illegal apartments, as other towns like Bablyon have done. This would eliminate dangerous living conditions, and bring end users more into the light, thus acknowledging the burden of sanitation services and building inspection they create.
Maps of current districts has 3 legislators in Rockville Centre, and overlaps in many other areas that create confusion for voters in villages and unincorporated villages. And is a joke! I am 100% for creating and Independent redistricting Commission that isn't reliant on party people to formulate. This commission should be looking at population changes & drawing boundaries that make geographic sense with people in it that share similar traffic, housing, schools, transit concerns. More fairly drawn districts will ensure that principles of representative democracy are upheld.

Currently the law is written as bipartisan commission. Legislators need to ensure future language creates a truly INDEPENDENT Commission. Drawn across more naturally occurring boundaries, & not bisecting or creating separation in towns or villages that put towns in multiple districts. And NOT create ones that create party dominance or weakness PURPOSEFULLY in a district.This is what currently occurs, and is wrong

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