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Leaders say Glen Cove United party here to stay

City Councilman Anthony Gallo, founder of the Glen

City Councilman Anthony Gallo, founder of the Glen Cove United party, on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015, says the newly formed political party is not a one-time thing. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Glen Cove City Councilman Anthony Gallo intended Glen Cove United as an ad hoc political party to appear only on the November 2015 election ballot.

Now, Gallo and his allies are converting Glen Cove United into a permanent party and think tank. The date “11.7.17” – that of the 2017 general election – appears in big white letters atop the party’s Facebook page.

“We’re the only alternative to machine politics,” Gallo said.

Gallo lost the mayoral election to incumbent Reginald Spinello, an Independence Party member who ran on the Republican, Democratic, Independence, Conservative and Reform party lines.

Spinello touted the unusual combination as proof he can work across party lines, but Gallo cast it as an alliance of party bosses that does not reflect average voter interest.

He said Glen Cove United’s strong election showing illustrated a hunger among residents for more political options. Gallo received 44 percent of the vote, and two party members – incumbent Councilman Efraim Spagnoletti and political newcomer Roderick Watson – won seats on the City Council through a combination of Glen Cove United and Republican votes.

“There were thousands in the community who rebelled against these coordinated party machines in favor of new solutions,” Gallo said.

Like most of those active in Glen Cove United, Gallo is a registered Republican. But the county and city GOP spurned him for the non-Republican Spinello.

Phillip Pidot, who like Gallo lost the Sept. 10 Republican primary and then unsuccessfully ran with Glen Cove United on Nov. 3, said that by backing Spinello and his allies, the official city GOP demonstrated it does not represent “its own ostensible constituents, the registered Republicans of the City of Glen Cove, or Republican ideals or really any kind of good-government ideals.”

Pidot said Glen Cove United, which currently has about 20 members, is a fiscally conservative, politically transparent alternative to the established parties and to Spinello, whom Pidot and others have criticized for not cutting spending and for budgetary practices such as maintaining a high percentage of debt compared with revenue.

Glen Cove Republican Committee Chairman David Zatlin scoffed at the notion that the county and local party organizations do not represent Republican voters. Spinello won the Republican primary, and the five top vote-getters in the Nov. 3 general election – including Spagnoletti and Watson – ran on the Republican line, he said.

Spinello disputed allegations that he is fiscally reckless, pointing to how he has reduced the large debt he inherited. He said he is focused on increasing revenue through new development rather than cutting services.

Glen Cove United has yet to make decisions on how many – if any – candidates to field in 2017. Spagnoletti, a registered Republican, said he is not active in Glen Cove United, but would consider running on the line in 2017, if asked.

Some members, such as Watson, view Glen Cove United as “more of a think tank and a watchdog” than a traditional party.

“It allows us to go to different people and come up with our own sort of judgment on what we think should be done,” he said.

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