Editorial 5: Ellen Birnbaum for County Legislature, District 10

Editorial 5: Ellen Birnbaum for County Legislature, District 10
Photo provided by the League of Women Voters


Before being elected to the Nassau County Legislature, Ellen Birnbaum served as the director of the Office of Intermunicipal Coordination for the Town of North Hempstead, where she worked on shared services and cooperative projects.

Birnbaum has continued to focus on constituent services since being elected a county legislator for District 10, which covers Manhasset, Manhasset Hills, North Hills, Searington, Herricks and the nine villages on the Great Neck peninsula.

And in doing so she has served the district well.

Birnbaum also correctly supports the nonpartisan revisions to county legislative districts proposed by the Legislature’s Democratic leadership with the aim of respecting community boundaries in making changes.

She also rightly abstained from a last-minute proposal by Republican officials to cut $100 million in county fees – without saying how the loss in revenue would be made up.

Birnbaum did join three other Democratic legislators in sponsoring legislation giving Nassau County police the right to sue protesters for harassment that opponents said would stifle free speech, particularly for minority groups.

To her credit, she withdrew her support after a hearing in which opponents pointed out the harm it could cause – something Republican legislators did not do.

Birnbaum also supported the long-overdue reassessment of all county property under Nassau County Executive Laura Curran as necessary to make taxes fairer.

Curran’s opponent, Mazi Pilip, a Republican from Great Neck, has repeated the GOP’s grossly misleading criticism of reassessment as leading to soaring property taxes.

Those increases apply only to the many who ended up underpaying their taxes after grieving them. It does not include the many who overpaid their taxes after not challenging them.

Pilip also repeats the Republican line about the many miscues encountered during the reassessment without acknowledging that the first reassessment in 10 years was bound to have some errors and that those errors were corrected. And if someone believes that their property was not assessed properly, they can still challenge the assessment.

Pilip does offer some good suggestions on helping downtowns, including the streamlining of permitting, inspections and plan review. Her suggestion of an aggressive grant program for utility costs, retention of employees, advertising and the development of shopping initiatives are very worthy of consideration.

But we believe she currently lacks sufficient familiarity with the workings of local government.

We believe Birnbaum offers a strong commitment to her constituents and knows how to help them.

We support Ellen Birnbaum for re-election as county legislator for District 10.







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